Quiet Conversations: Grace Wells / Meg Bateman

Grace Wells. A London-born eco-poet, author, re-wilder, and yoga teacher, Grace Wells has lived in the Republic of Ireland since 1991 where she is currently the Poet Laureate for Ennistymon, Co Clare. Her poem ‘I Thought I Had Done With These Poems’, a point of reference for this work, concludes the section ‘Becoming Animal’ in Fur (2015).

Meg Bateman. A Scottish poet, lecturer at the Gaelic-speaking college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye, translator and  short-story writer. She writes in both Gaelic and English. Her poem Pregnant Schoolgirl,  the other point of reference for this work, appears in Transparencies (2013).


Grace Wells’ poem brought to mind Ken Kiff’s comment to me, made in connection to a question about his painting Excrement (1) (The Sequence no. 57), that nothing could be more natural than going to the toilet. I now see his attitude as related to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s statement that, in the Irish language, issues relating to ‘orifices and excrements’ are understood without prudishness or purulence ‘as “an nádúir”, or “nature”, a source of … laughter rather than anything to be ashamed of’. (Collected Essays Dublin, New Island 2005: 18). I read a somewhat similar attitude in Meg Bateman’s poem; perhaps an acknowledgement (with an implicit smile of regret?), of her own resistance to the irrepressible energy of life that the poem celebrates.