new zealand electronic poetry centre

Fiona Farrell

online works

The invasion

A hundred and fifty we were,
who set sail. Young and
clear-skinned, driven to the
edge of a bony country.

Some sat amidships
where the ride was easy.
Others bent to their paddling.
And three men amongst us.

So there we were on our good
ships, with their striped sails.
We crossed water to a long cloud
where we wrecked on a reef.

Fifty we were who came ashore.
Soaked from the sea and with
stonebruised feet. We lay down
in dry grass, and shared the men

Till all of us had babies wriggling
up the dark stream, leaping all

We milked the men dry. One
died, another lived, and the
third became a salmon. He
turned cold in my arms and
silver-skinned. His eyes were
round and glassy. He flipped
from me to the stream and
got away. So I was left in
the long grass.

Slick drying on my belly,
the tiny fish swimming.




Who was the first to take Ireland after the creation of the world? This is what the Book of Druim Snechta says, that Banba was the name of the first woman who found Ireland before the Flood and that from her Ireland is called “Banba”. With thrice fifty maidens she came and with three men. Forty years were they in the island: thereafter a disease came upon them so that they all died in one week. Afterward Ireland was for 200 years without a living person . . .

It is there that they came to harbour
the woman-crowd at Dun namBarc
in the Nook of Cessair, in the lands of Carn
on the fifteenth, on a Saturday.’

– The Book of Invasions , Vol. 2


From The Pop-Up Book of Invasions (AUP, 2007)

Fiona Farrell

Last updated 26 July, 2007