The Field of Light


See the road the women took, the shattered

wives and daughters of the men who tottered

in endless file to fill the charnel field

mapped out with care to bury each male child

along with father, brother, young and old

it did not matter, everyone had cold

and charted space arranged by General’s hand

held steady for the cleansing of his land.

The women passed thin trees devoid of leaves

where men, who fell exhausted to their knees

were hanged as tragic mobiles in the wind,

left there until their frozen spirits dimmed,

slipped into new dimensions, far away

from where eight thousand dug their graves that day.

The shooting rang a devil’s tap dance through

the sky, smoke-filled from grey to blackened blue,

the deed well done by robot soldiers drilled

to follow orders, ask no questions, skilled

in killing weeds in their divided fields,

allotments kept for drills of plants the same

in every seeded gene, façade and name.


Their wives and daughters reached the silent field

with spades and trowels they planted bulbs, well heeled

dug deep to save them under pall of frost,

white lilies, one for every loved one lost.

In Spring, they see an ocean of tall blooms

snowbirds that sing with plaintive call of loons,

at night they have an incandescent glow,

lone astronauts can spot their shine below

diffusing stars along the galaxy,

immortal, radiant each night and day,

judgement for those who looked the other way.


By Alma Brayden


Two Swifts

You came back to the house of the angry

woman but she rejected your beauty.

Three seasons you returned to build your nest,

tired from marathon flight, the need for rest

before the restoration of your goal:

the reconstruction of your broken home

with air-born material caught in flight

fine, intertwined, saliva-bonded tight,

perfect for the young you planned to nurture,

strong enough for fledgling flight to future.

That dream she shattered with long bristle brush

then tried to batter you in mad uprush.

She did not care about your marathon,

the pain and hazards you had overcome.

You left parched swelter of African sands

driven by nature’s force to cooler lands.

High overhead, you crossed a sea of dead,

the living crammed in makeshift boats, outspread

from wrecked worlds, with no compass for their loss

they drowned in angry waves of pitch and toss,

families broken, bits and pieces taken

from the cherished homes they had forsaken.

Like you, they are not valued far from home,

months later, they will send them back alone.

If, like Swifts, they could derive nutrition       

in mid-flight, they might escape to freedom,

build elevated dwellings safe from war

for winged Ariel children, each a star,

while you might make your nest high in the air

of cirrus clouds and white contrails, to care

and tend your young untroubled in the sky

to scythe its field of blue until they die.

Alma Brayden is a poet and visual artist. Her first collection “Prism” was published by Seven Towers in 2010. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, literary magazines. She has had numerous solo art exhibitions and has been included in R.H.A Summer Exhibitions and the Oireachtas Art Exhibition. Her work featured as the cover for the first two Dalkey Writers anthologies. She was a prize winner in the Troubadour International Poetry Competition 2014.  Her poems paint colourful and vibrant word pictures that merge into a rich tapestry of experience in different poetic forms. 

Her artwork follows the same theme which is shown below with a few pieces she has written.


The Cutting Edge

The stone held the secret

guarded in its marble heart,

flawed, discarded block

chosen at random,

its veined paths

would guide his eye,

lead his hand

to find the hidden

figure from Carrara

waiting since pre-history.


The sculptor toiled

to feel the shape,

groped with probing



emergent features,

chiselled them out

to face the sky.


Later when

he ran his hands

over bone and muscle,

smooth marbled skin

of the finished figure,

it was good -


David stood to fight


his monumental hero

brought to light.


The Broighter Boat

first century BC, Broighter Co. Derry

 All those centuries

deep hidden

but earth could not

cover you forever,

too much dazzle

to hide beside

the mizzle lake

where you could never

your yellow gold.


In the museum,

from a dark pocket

of isolation

you shine through glass

like a segment of the sun

without wind to navigate

across an emerald ocean,

with no oarsmen to row

against the current

and your sail blown off,

not hoisted to billow-cloud

against a gull-swept sky,

only crossed masts remain

to prefigure the future.


If you are interested in Alma's art and would wish to enquire about it or ask for a quote, you can send a message by clicking here.

Below are some more of her art and pictures of her studio.