Call for Submissions

WHAT WE PUBLISH

We consider unpublished work from Irish and international authors. We intend to publish a mix of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, translation, and memoir.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE

 The deadline for submission to the next issue is Sunday, 4 October 2020.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  • Individuals may submit up to 2 pieces of prose or 3 poems.
  • Prose must not exceed 2,500 words in length.
  • Poetry should be submitted in the format in which you wish it to appear on the page; individual poems should not exceed 50 lines.

HOW TO SUBMIT

  • Submissions should be set in Times New Roman, 12 point, 1.5 spacing. The file name should be your surname and initial(s) and genre (e.g. Smith J_Poetry).
  • The work submitted for consideration should contain no identifying information, e.g. name or address, to allow for a blind reading of work submitted.
  • Authors are asked to submit pieces of work separately for each category (i.e. one document containing a poem or poems, another for prose).
  • Include a 150-word biography. Clearly the name to be used in any publication.
  • Please attach one file only per category (e.g. all poems submitted should be in one document) up to two (2) categories per person.

SOME OTHER DETAILS

  • We cannot accept work that has been previously published (including personal blogs) and prefer not to receive work currently being reviewed elsewhere.
  • We cannot enter into correspondence with individual authors.
  • Work submitted after the deadline has passed will not be considered.
  • If you wish to withdraw a submission for any reason, please notify us by email prior to the deadline.
  • We receive a high volume of submissions and many emails; please be patient with us as we try to manage this!
  • The Ogham Stone unfortunately cannot offer monetary payment to authors and artists who are accepted for publication. All published authors and artists will receive a copy of the journal.
  • Finally, thank you for your interest in The Ogham Stone!
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The Ogham Stone

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The Homecoming

Tom Muldoon

He lay on the ground, panting and shaking, like a distressed athlete after a marathon run. 

Some welcome, some homecoming, he thought.

A returning emigrant, he had been looking forward to this visit to his old home, the land of his birth, after so many years abroad.

They had been waiting for him. They knew he was coming, these cruel deceitful people who had lured him to his death which now came swiftly with a sharp rap of the priest to the base of his skull, severing his spinal cord. 

His obituary was written the following day.

“A gourmet’s delight

The first wild salmon of the season, hollandaise on the side”.

Biography

Tom Muldoon (August 4 1938-April 26 2020) was born in Castleblayney Co Monaghan. He received scholarships to attend St Macartin’s secondary school and later University College Dublin where he obtained a degree in engineering.  He spent his career in the ESB involved in the development of the service nationwide.  In the later stages of his career he worked with ESB International in Ghana for many years  again developing their electrical infrastructure.  Tom died after a short illness at the height of the COVID19 restrictions.  We didn’t know our father as a writer.  Alone with our loss, without the usual family and friends, it was a treasure to find this as it epitomizes much about him. His sense of fun, and fair play and his connection to Ireland and Irish culture.  He would be delighted to see it published and we hope others enjoy it.

The Muldoon Family

Tom Muldoon

Carry Me Out to the Open Sea

By Kayla Latta

I lie on the sand, and I think of my mother 

brushing my hair. Each stroke through my curls coincides 

with the crashing waves around my body. My scalp aches at the memory 

while my skin prickles from the rush of cold water and salt. I wish she were here, 

so she could wipe away the bits of seaweed and sand, the way she used to clear 

the sleep from the corners of my eyes. With each new wave, my body 

is coated in another layer of salt until I am encrusted. Crystallized. 

###

When the tide comes in, I am carried out to the open sea. 

I float into the night like driftwood, or shipwrecks, or a heavy sigh 

released from heavy lips. Perhaps I will be taken to the edge of the world 

and fall right off. Hic sunt dracones. Here be dragons. I pray to the cold-water 

moon to bring me home. Push, pull, mother of tides, be my guide. Be my guide.

I hear her with the dawn. Quiet at first. Now louder. When she calls my name,

 my shell breaks into pieces that fall into the darkness below. There she is, 

tiny on the distant shore, still calling for me. I swim to her. 

To Boldly Go

By Eve Taft

Little blue-green terrarium spins 

Goldilocks distant from atom-smashing ball of heat

Which whirls through the void, carrying with it the eight 

Who depend on its life-giving brilliance

It carries them through the suburb of a starry city 

Build around a hole in the universe

Insatiable, tiny bipeds explore 

Little blue-green terrarium

And then tilt their heads upwards 

They go flying through the dark matter

Searching for new stars and new life

They play capture the flag with their moon

And send out glass eyes to find light

From the beginning of everything

Infinite universe keeps getting bigger

Tiny bipeds magnify its building blocks

And map its edges 

They write stories about the shapes of the stars

And study them, writing libraries worth of knowledge

Blue-green terrarium spins on

And tiny bipeds boldly go

Where no one has gone before

Thank You For Loving Me

by Matt Fitzgerald

He remembered when they first met—

And how her eyes jumped over to him.

And when he saw beyond them,

And she beyond his,

He slipped his arm into hers.

Then one day she closed her eyes and left time in the dark.

Left him alone again.

Veiled undertakers scanned for the fine edges of grief.

Their eyes engaged with his

And clung to him like spores and were away again

As half-formed thoughts.

He saw them to the door.

They lifted her, close-eyed and steady, into the hearse.

No traffic, no after-traffic smell, no cramped streets, no …

Her coffin was framed by the kitchen window.

Then, in the quiet place, he heard what he always missed:

A fat hairy-bellied bee dancing and dithering on the pane.

He cupped it in his hands and felt its wings, its life, beat against his skin,

Felt its legs—plump with pollen—slip into his old lifelines.

He put it back and it slept for a while and died.

He thumbed his palms and said he was sorry. 

The summer stars careened above him 

As he made his way to the cemetery,

Sloshing through the cratered mudholes.

A flock of birds rose up before him and down again.

He squatted to her in the early morning gloom.

Then he stretched out and propped one heel over the other

And he thanked her for loving him. 

No alt text provided for this image

Now

By Catherine Deegan

Busily awaiting the blackbirds, black rooks and rainy days:

expecting an epiphany would come with them.  

I had taken my muse to the cave and glued her eyes with sleep,

promising I’d be back in an instant.

Five decades and seven lives she lay there,

I, on the other hand, had a tryst with Hypnos,

and that lasted just as long.

Until, in that dream she told me the wave was on its way,

Hypnos’ brother would not be far behind.

I’m sinking not sleeping, she sighed.

Rattled, I desperately reached for the laptop 

trying to tap her eyes open.

All the birds and all the rain will fly and fall again,

and again.

But we, she beseeched me, must not wait for what is eternal.

We have work to do and crafts to hone,

 and all we have is now. 

Sun-kissed

By Catherine Deegan

The syzygy of betrayal and kiss.

Coins: minted in silver, bathed in blood,

The infamous event of treachery.

Mother of Jesus, mother of Judas:

The syzygy of motherhood and death. 

How could he do it?

###

But we are as innocent as Judas 

Cash: minted in plastic, thrown in the sea.

Unfaithful to all flora and fauna:

mothers of humans are mothers of greed.

The syzygy of motherhood and death

What have we done?

###

Betraying all Earth’s creatures: great and small.

With shards-of-glass hearts and sun- kissed faces

We mute lilting voices and devour trees.

The mother of you, and mother of me:

The syzygy of Mother Earth and death.

What must we do?

Fish Out of Water

By Matt Fitzgerald              

I never knew me then.

If I were a duckling, I would have been shaking off the down:

For I was doubtful and unprepared for life.

But my grandfather would take me by the hand; 

Show me the way of the breadwinner.

This steely man had broken-in many days.

I saw these days on his face and many other faces.

I felt the toughness of his fingers—like dry fat sausages—

Where the creases, the years, fixed him good.

Through the double-wash, he took me to the boat.

A wholesome odour fell off him.

He was long-wooled and slow-speaking and quiet.

There were short-wooled waders too:

Uncles, fathers and sons, nieces and nephews,

Ghosting under the full speculation of the stars.

There were half-caught words drifting in the darkness.

And as we sculled away in a slightly snarling sea, 

I could see him wincing through curling caps.

Shirking off the nacre water,

Shuffling his sailing combover,

Glancing at the seawings above us. 

The gill floats pitched in the sea like speckled dinosaur eggs.

I thought ahead of him and grabbed one.

“Hook it on,” he said. 

We curled back to shore.

The liquid wash of the sea hummed like a hive.

The strain on his face flushed him pink with each draw.

The shore, an eye-train of lamplit watchers,

Moved to meet us and we to them.

The net came alive with tail-flappers;

The beach came alive with movement.

A host of silvery, slivery muscles surfaced in a silent scream.

What if these fish had voices? I thought.

They tinged with galaxies of reds and browns. 

They were coiled at the throat,

Snouting their last breaths—opening, closing, opening. 

My grandfather offered a reassuring smile which I took.

Then he whacked them off the gunwale. 

Their tails didn’t flap any longer.

If I had a tail, it wouldn’t have flapped either.

Then I met him—

The boy I did not know. 

Brought out by the man who always knew me. 

Knew me better than I.  

Lysistrata

By Maria O’Rourke

Miss Boland burst the football 

That came over the wall from the boys’ school, 

Stabbing it with a knitting needle while the girls cheered.

You and I were well aware

The line of demarcation was not to be crossed

Though no one could figure out why.

You wanted to throw it back,

But Miss Boland had a precedent to set

Of indelible magnitude.

 Today’s lesson on Lysistrata 

 In a country school yard, 

 Is a circle of girls round a deflated, red ball.

Lysistrata

Miss Boland burst the football 

That came over the wall from the boys’ school, 

Stabbing it with a knitting needle while the girls cheered.

You and I were well aware

The line of demarcation was not to be crossed

Though no one could figure out why.

You wanted to throw it back,

But Miss Boland had a precedent to set

Of indelible magnitude.

 Today’s lesson on Lysistrata 

 In a country school yard, 

 Is a circle of girls round a deflated, red ball.

Lysistrata

Miss Boland burst the football 

That came over the wall from the boys’ school, 

Stabbing it with a knitting needle while the girls cheered.

You and I were well aware

The line of demarcation was not to be crossed

Though no one could figure out why.

You wanted to throw it back,

But Miss Boland had a precedent to set

Of indelible magnitude.

 Today’s lesson on Lysistrata 

 In a country school yard,