Oisin Harris

The Goat’s Head

I dreamt of the goat’s head
Floating in the bucket.

A bucket tucked between bales of hay.
Full of redolent water buoyantly lulling its sacrifice.

A strange jetsam
Imprinted in my dreams.

The goat’s eyes are more open
Then when I weaned it from milk as a kid.

I remember my grandmother
Locking us in the house
So we’d be spared its execution.

Sneaking out I can still see the bristles
On its skin tufted together, forming
A quilted patchwork of greys and whites,
Reminiscent of smashed up slate in mushy snow.

I can see my grandmother’s apron a palette
Of plucked chicken feathers and dried giblets.
The syncopated rhythms of life and death
Offsetting each other on an oak dining table.

I remember the rabbits in their hutches
Pacing a little back and forth,
Perhaps sensing something had been taken.
In their coop and aviary, hens and pigeons
Became quiet too.

I recall that outside in the valley,
Mushrooms grew and coalesced.
We will pick them soon.

I dreamt of the goat’s head again.
Its pupils by now must have fertilised
So many budding leaves.

Sometimes I dream I am one of those leaves
To listen to the earth’s heartbeat,
Like a stethoscope
Probing for frequencies beyond my reach.


Based in Canterbury, (UK) Oisin writes poems after having earned an English degree from Sussex University and an MA in Publishing from Kingston University. He is a librarian at the University of Kent and a co-editor and contributor for The Publishing Post’s Books In Translation Team. He has performed his poems at open mics throughout Kent. His work on Women In Translation has been published in the 2020 research ebook of the Institute for Translation  and Interpreting, entitled Translating Women: Activism in Action, edited by Olga Castro and Helen Vassallo.