Her Dul Abhaile Jar – Anthology Poetry Award 2020 winner

Congratulations to Sighle Meehan, winner of the Anthology Poetry Award 2020

by Anthology

Her Dul Abhaile Jar 

Sighle Meehan

A scullery maid in Boston’s grand hotels,
memories sloshing in her bucket.
Carna, a seaweed shore,
brown waves pestering a pebble beach
coaxing her to stay,
while out beyond the sandbanks,
baiting her sixteen years,
sea and sky colluding a line
where hunger did not pepper every day.

She sends money home, saves quarters
even dollars in her dul abhaile jar,
and then
a man who makes her laugh,
sings with her, songs of Carna, fishing nets
and mackerel, potato patches,
blackberries small and bitter – a September feast.

Eleven Christenings, nine First Communions,
tablets for a husband out of work,
the dul abhaile jar grows thin;
school-books, weddings,
still she saves, nickel and dime, the years
veining her legs,
her fingers stiff, contrary,
her feet in wide-fit, worn-down gutties
she searches Boston sidewalks for eggs
the yellow hen lays out beyond the yard in Carna.

dul abhaile: going home
Carna: an Irish speaking village on the west coast of Ireland

Sighle Meehan

Sighle Meehan’s writing reflects her background in theatre, her love of stories, her interest in children and her life beside the sea in Galway. Although she mainly writes poetry, she has also written plays, a TV drama-documentary and short stories.

Her poetry has been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Fish Anthology, The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Pandemia, Best British and Irish Poets 2019 (Eyewear), and Universal Oneness (New Delhi).

Sighle was the winner of the Imbas (Australia) short story competition (2015-2016) for Hawthorne Close

Highly Commended

Anne Casey (Australia) – Season of Brigid • Dean Gessie (Canada) – normative expectations • Mary K O’Melveny (USA) – Perturbances


Alix Ealas (Scotland) – Bright White Kitchen • B. Lynch Black (USA) for On the Highway of In-Between • Bridget Frost (Scotland) – After Rothko • Carmina Masoliver (England) – Trapeze Bars • Christa de Brun (Ireland) – Crossword • Christian Wethered (Ireland) – Call • Kieran Furey (Ireland) – Yet More Advice for Poets • Laura Shore (Australia) – Persimmon • Sidney Denham-Roberts (Australia) – One Day • Val Ormrod (England) – The Gathering

We wish to thank all those who entered the Anthology Poetry Award. We would also like to thank our hardworking independent judge, Dr Rachael Hegarty, who carefully read and assessed each entry to select the shortlist, the highly commended poets and the overall winner.

Entries are now invited for the Anthology Poetry Competition

For further information or to enter the competition click here.

Featured Photo Ros Woodham
  • ‘Her Dul Abhaile Jar’ is published in Anthology Volume 15. Read more features from this volume or buy it now.
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