The Blue Girl, by Orla Fay

in mem. Sahar Khodayari

Shouldn’t the colour shield,
shroud in its protection?
Of the sky and of the sea
at best seeking peace, tranquillity,
communication, no offence?
Its devotion is millennia old,
favouring the myriad in divinity.

What of freedom though?
Is it the river-like hue of flowing speech,
the backdrop to the swallow’s
wings on an azure day?
It is a battle cry too, the storm,
the painted face of Celts and Picts
on the journey to war.

Or is it just a sadness,
the feeling of never being good enough,
years of being less because of gender?
It is the weight of society,
the unbending rules of authority
and tradition that inflict traumas
of fear and oppression.

Did you know you were going into combat?
Did you hope the deception would hold,
that a blind eye be turned?
It was only a football match; your team wore its shade.
When they arrested and sentenced you,
did the flame of injustice consume
your spirit, scream liberty? Change?


 Orla Fay is editor of Boyne Berries. Recently her poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, ROPES 2019, Impossible Archetype, The Bangor Literary Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Tales from the Forest, Quarryman and FourXFour. She has been previously shortlisted for The Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award, The Dermot Healy Award, The Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award, The Rush Poetry Competition and The Redline Book Festival Poetry Award. This year she was shortlisted for The Cúirt New Writing Prize. She won 3rd prize in The Oliver Goldsmith Poetry Award 2019. Her shorty story Foxy was published on the incubator selects in April. She is working towards a first collection of poetry. She blogs at   

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