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Norma Jenckes


Ghazal Wanna Fly Blues

This ghazal honors the memory of Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican prisoner who died after 66 days on Hunger Strike in 1981,

There’s a high flying bird flying way up in the sky
And I wonder if he looks down as he flies on by” blues

Dying in his cell, Bobby listened for the birds; the skylark
was his favorite – his song gave him the wanna fly blues

he mentions in his last diary the odd sad curlew
that flew at twilight his lonely call made him sigh blues

the crows cawing as they gathered for the night he knew
they were omens of death: his death took 66 days. No lie, blues.

One of the prisoners took bread from the trays and threw
to the birds. “At least someone is eating” Bobby’s wry blues.

The guards stole any sweets– why let it go to waste–
they can’t break my strike with their pie” blues

Lights out and the screws left; Bobby stood naked at his cell door
to recite verses he wrote that day; his men’s cheers deny blues

This gig is done,” says the guy who blows the horn to bring the horses
to the track. Bobby stood 66 days in the starting gate; his silks sky blue.

So many years have gone by since May 5. 1981. Why now, Norma,
has Bobby’s ghost risen (mother sent?) to keen his heaven high blues?

About Norma Jenckes

NORMA COLEMAN JENCKES, born and raised in Pawtucket,RI, earned her PhD, (Illinois 1974) in Literature. A poet and playwright, Jenckes has several produced plays and published her poems in such journals as AMBIT, THE PARIS REVIEW, Antigonish Review, Appalachian Heritage, Origami Project, Eastern Structures and has published a volume of poetry Dementia: That Undiscovered Country. A Yaddo Fellow and a Fulbright Senior Scholar, she has taught and lived in Ireland, India and Romania.