HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Green Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some writers and artists who’d sent in work the chance to be published here on the website. Keep an eye on our social media for more great work like this, in the run-up to the release of The Green Issue


Blaise Gilburd
The Snag (Lateral Version)


Never have I known sleep such as this, a new peace and a new cold dig at my bones
where the icy stream slides below my back. Sunlight and starlight are filtered through the
leaves, dig down in the dip, there, shadowed I lie, hidden beyond
view of the daisies and cattle. All wraps around me in hues of green and the pillow
to my head is that which did strike it, so now I lay in the company of badgers and insects.

The chill settles down easy and dampens the ground, it kisses the air and blows fresh web to
glass on the barbed wire of shining, barren blackthorn,
littered about the rowan is an icy frit, handfuls of crushed diamonds made by morning’s dew.
My cocoon of foliage now lit from within by the sharp bouncing light of
refracted rays, in sloping paths they find hollow holes, but in the face of light I do not blink.

The farmer trudges past, wellies through wet grass, marches a path right by my stream
yet he does not see my place of rest. He passes so close my narrow hands could feel again.

Some nights I feel a wet nose snuffle my hair, though nowadays very little remains up there,
burnt orange fur lit and speckled with stars followed by a multitude more small padded feet.
Their teeth are as sharp as their heads are narrow and in the wet black of night I hear them
scream from the woods, those beautiful banshees of the Celtic spread.

Pick apart my pockets, you birds! Jovial magpies take and hoard my long rusted change
whilst the hooded crows help themselves to my remains,
scatter like black flags tossed high into the wind when the great ragged cats of stony paths
skulk down soft on the weeping grass, seeking prey of the birds and not share in my feast.
A distant dog-bark breaks their hunted silence, quickly they slide along the ground and over
loose stone and in the quiet and the dark I am left alone.

But now I resolve to join with the dirt, one with the writhing earth of bodies I feel about me.
Sinking back down into my hallowed hollow,
a peaceful place that in the autumn grows bright with berries,
deep red decorations born forth from the trees. My bed is littered with the most orange of
leaves draping me in a regal mantle of scarlet and amber,
a barrow of that which once lived high above, fallen down to hide my failing shape.

The mist rode down the mountains the morning I was found,
a twisting mass of silky fog floating out over the bog.
Like a heavy blanket it came down over the wet fields,
setting over the pines and rolling right into my ditch.
The birds sing sweet their melodies of loss
and a scream sends them scattered back into the sky.


Blaise is a student currently studying in NUI Galway. Previous publications include the ‘Messyheads’ magazine, ‘Crossways’ and ‘The High Window’ as well as being awarded the NUIG creative points scholarship.