Féilim James

Song for the Dispossessed

They come to me in the silence of night,
Pulsing through the embroidered sky:
A young girl with blood on her thigh,
Her shoulders bare under starlight.

They come to me when words alight:
A father of four in a Xinjiang prison,
Aching, recalling the smiles of his children,
The sounds of their breathing at night.

They come to me when the moon is in flight:
Five-year-old Riham holding on
To her sister’s shirt in the Syrian sun,
One eye on the five-storey height.

They come to me as night unspools:
Images like a smothered scream
Flash, disperse, sharp as a gleam,
Elusive as fish in pools.

And you, my father, embroiled in your sad fight
For dignity, trapped in the talons of her clutch:
When night has held out its cold hand to touch,
You come to me, and my heart turns white.

Féilim James is a writer from Dublin, Ireland. In 2020, the Arts of Council of Ireland awarded Féilim a Literature Bursary Award to complete his debut novel, Flower of
Ash, as well as a Professional Development Award. Dublin City Arts Office granted him an Arts Bursary in 2021 to finish his first poetry collection, I was a river, lost. He has appeared in journals such
as The Fiction Pool and Icarus. His Irish language writing, under Féilim Ó Brádaigh, has won seven Oireachtas na Gaeilge awards. Visit his website.