The Bone Gatherer by Imelda Maguire

The Bone Gatherer (photo of woman in field)

(in memory of Seena Frost)

She set me to gathering bones,

the ones I’d lost;
set me to travelling
old roads,
and off the roads,
into wild spaces,

My basket began to fill,
and she set me to naming the bones,
feeling the places from which
they’d fallen,
marking the spot where they landed.

She set me to minding the bones,
sitting with them,
rubbing their ridges and spurs,
looking and watching and noticing…
This is the shape of that bone,
there is the mark of its pain.

She set me to seeing the whole,
to piecing the bones together,
the slow and gentle work.

As I sit now with the bones,
look at this strange harvest
of mine, I hear a humming,
a chant, low and gentle,
and know, she is with me now,
watching over the bones.


About the Author: Imelda Maguire

Imelda Maguire bioImelda Maguire has lived in all four provinces of Ireland, and now resides in Donegal, the far north-west of the country. Her poetry has been published widely in journals in Ireland, and she has read at many literary festivals and events throughout the country. A practicing counsellor, she facilitates creative and personal development activities with individuals and groups. Her first collection, Shout If You Want Me To Sing, was published in 2004 by Summer Palace Press. Her second, Serendipity, was published by Revival Press in 2015. They are both available by contacting her on Facebook or by email at

Ireland Professor of Poetry, Paula Meehan, says “There are many ways Imelda Maguire will lure us into her world…”, and poet Denise Blake recommends Serendipity as a “collection to cherish, (to) keep close at hand.”

6 Replies to “The Bone Gatherer by Imelda Maguire”

  1. This is so beautiful. It takes you to that quiet, exquisite place, where your soul resides. Thank you.

  2. Imelda,
    Your poem’s elegance and substance perfectly describes the essence of Seena and her gift to us. It reaches in and touches my heart. Thank you ♡.

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