William Greenway

Maud Gonne                        



Because of the flame of my hair,

my long lovely legs,

and my torrid temper,

men said I was a struck match,

always ready to burn that Ireland,

not into ashes, but smelted down

till the dross of the English landlords,

the greedy merchants, and the priests

could be poured off, leaving

only the gold of the Old Ireland—

the women chieftains, the Faery, the Sidhe—

of the Otherworld.


So I was a hellion, could dance,

or fight, any man off his feet,

but never marry the one—

poor  persistent Willie Yeats—

who asked me over and over

our whole lives.

My soul mate, he said.


I married instead a patriotic

lout, probably because I knew

the doltish hothead would get himself

hanged sooner or later,

as he did.


Dead, now, too, I still see

Ireland torn,

as if all I did counted for naught,

almost as if I'd never been born.


The only place I'm remembered

is in his poems, where,

young, beautiful, and forever fierce

I fight to save the world

all over again.

William Greenway's tenth collection, Everywhere at Once, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Ohio Library Association, as did his eighth collection, Ascending Order. Both are from the University of Akron Press Poetry Series.  His work appears widely: Poetry, American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Missouri Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and Shenandoah. He has been named Georgia Author of the Year and received many other honors, including the Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award, the Larry Levis Editors' Prize from Missouri Review; the Open Voice Poetry Award from The Writer's Voice, the State Street Press Chapbook Competition, an Ohio Arts Council Grant, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. He is Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University.



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