It was there in the delicate arc of her clavicle,

the fine rise of her cheek, her eyes’

dewy sweep.


It is here, dragging at the ragged edge

of his flapping shirt, his capless head,

broken feet,


in his kneebones scraping the frozen stones

of the street. It is here

in the scraps


of straw he lays beneath her head

to pillow her dreams

and there


in his blistered hands clenched to jutting ribs,

in his bowed head

as he grieves


alongside the quickening streams of passing feet

far from their stolen fields on the lands

of Gurranenatuoha,


his little girl now freed. It is here: his last companion,

constant, unyielding as his defeat.

It is here


in his bereft grip, this consuming


that never leaves.








Read Anne's introduction to the poem here.

Note: Ocras means ‘hunger’ in Gaeilge, the native Irish language which was forbidden under colonial rule. This poem was inspired by a newspaper report entitled ‘Conditions of Ireland. Illustrations of the new “Poor Law”’ published in The Illustrated London News during the Great Irish Famine on 22 December 1849.