Naomi Foyle

No Enemy but Time (2017)


‘The innocent and the beautiful’, wrote W.B. Yeats, ‘have no enemy but time’ . . . a claim contested yet deeply considered here in poems honouring revolutionary Anglo-Irish sisters Eva Gore-Booth and Constance Markievicz; that Yeatsian bird the linnet; the Northern Irish peace process; and the traditional Irish genre of the aisling, or ‘vision poem’. The predations of time are mourned and challenged most intimately, though, in poems in memory of Belfast poet, journalist and cultural activist Mairtín Crawford, and his quietly remarkable mother, Flo Crawford. Elegiac yet defiant, No Enemy but Time keeps Naomi Foyle’s ‘dream of Ireland alive’.

ISBN: 978-1-906742-82-9 Category:

Praise and Poems

My response to this collection cannot help but be personal, for Mairtín was a much loved friend – so reading No Enemy but Time felt at first like stepping right back into an old grief. But the more I read, the more I felt the power of these poems, honest, tender and loving, to journey me through to a celebration of his life and energy – that man who ‘made up his own mind’, his vision, ‘a mountain shaft on fire’. – Moyra Donaldson

If remembrance of love is to be clear-eyed, fearless, self-critical and devoted at once, these finely-crafted and bracing poems are a tribute both to a poet of exceptional persistence in his
own life and work, and to the complexity of friendship, passion and grief. Naomi Foyle’s elegies, songs, narratives, are a withering minstrelsy – a touching, fitting capture of a very
difficult and necessary affection. The image of the linnet remains – that songbird out of time – somehow at one with ‘the boom box of Belfast drums’ . . . – Damian Smyth


You were known for being obsessed
with space:

scored an arts grant to visit NASA,
sat in the cockpits of rockets;

wrote poems about Jupiter
and UFS, Moonmen and Mir;

worried about asteroids
falling on our heads.

I  read your cover story
– ‘Belfast Astronomers on Red Alert’ –

foolishly believed myself
a little safer on the Earth.

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