Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson’s work is concerned with connections between people, place and nature. She is interested in text – reading, writing, interpretation, shape. She particularly responds to the visual and has worked on a poetry/photography collaboration.

Metempsychosis in the Olšany Cemetery

What would Plato think of this?
– dry crumbs in a home-made bird-feeder
knocked up from wire and scraps of kindling …
Perhaps he would smile an aftershock of recognition
when something that was a careless might be
becomes is.
Jays are gate-keeping in the trees,
chaffinches and sparrows bathe on the dusty path
and somewhere Jan Palach’s soul takes wing
as light as a burning feather
“Metempsychosis” – the transmigration of souls, an idea alluded to by Plato (after Pythagoras).
The Olšany Cemetery in Prague is the last resting place of the remains of Jan Palach, the student who set fire to himself in Wenceslas Square in January 1969 after the Soviet Union’s occupation of Czechoslovakia the previous year. His memory became a focus for Czech nationalism and anti-Communist protests.

Mary Robinson

this poem first published in Envoi 160, Oct 2011

The Art of Gardening, 2010, Flambard, ISBN 978-1-906601-14-0
Uist Waulking Song, 2012, Westward Books, signed numbered edition, ISBN 978-0-9538477-2-3
Out of Time (with Horatio Lawson), 2015, Westward Books, signed numbered edition, 978-0-9538477-3-0

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