mary branleyMary Branley is a poet, writer, musician and teacher based in Sligo, Ireland. She has two collections of poetry: A foot on the tide (Summer Palace Press, 2002) and Martin let me go (Summer Palace Press, 2009). She is also a recipient of a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship and bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland and Sligo County Council



Rūmī’s Letters to Shams


Shams, we have yet to meet
but I check the temperature daily
in Tabriz wondering

if it is the cold or the heat
that will send you to me
the dark season or the light?

Perhaps the fluctuations of the dollar
will have a bearing
as on the flow of oil.

Every night the angels whisper
sweetly in my ear, saying
soon your love will come

through the open window,
the smell of night rain in her hair,
dew of morning kiss on her lips,

a full moon language
in each moon eye. Oh Shams
my heart is ready for your hands.


How unexpected it was
When the windows of the heart
Opened from the back like patio doors
And I entered the garden alone
Dazzled in sunlight, thick with birdsong
And the deafening fragrance of Shams
Whispers from everywhere
Stay in the garden, love from here.
Who knew the heart held such a secret?


Let me make a bed of words for you
with sheets as light as the fall of dew
on the curve of your breast
and rest your head on a swan’s wing.

When you burrow in
the mattress whispers back
a silken phrase, the scent of your name
in honey suckle breath.

Let me tattoo my love all over you
with the nib of June’s new moon
indelible ink of midnight’s summer blue
crazy words you’ve never heard before.

Let me wrap your sleep
in the mandolin trills of dawn
and you can fold your dreams up small
and slip them in loose change.