Stephanie Conn



All it took
was a light dusting of snow
to transform the concrete slabs
in the yard into the tops of Roman heads,
crowned with laurel leaves.

The senate meet
to discuss the progress made,
the pipes channelling waste out of the city,
the water, siphoned in from some distant valley
lounging, as if in steaming baths, between the hills.

I follow their roads
out into the countryside; green cassias
gather by the stream where the air is thick
with saffron and the keeper, busy with his bees,
sprinkles dust to count the kings.

Cow-dung smeared on fennel-stems
congeals in the blistering sun, and honey
starts to bubble in the glutted combs.
Is that Virgil standing by the hives,
his breath heavy with the scent of thyme?

The snow is already melting and tomorrow
I will kneel on the cold stone and prepare
to plant pollen-rich flowers
in readiness, along
the border wall.



Stephanie Conn is a graduate of the MA programme at the Seamus Heaney Centre and a recipient of an Arts Council Career Enhancement Award. Stephanie recently won the Yeovil Poetry Prize, Funeral Service NI prize and the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing. Her first collection is forthcoming with Doire Press. She is currently working on her second collection.