Monday, June 18, 2018

Childhood, religion, fear.


sunset raging in the western sky meant
Hell was out of control beyond the Galway Road.

Clouds, carrying the flames eastward,
threatened our house.

I, scared witless, kept my head under the blankets,
knowing God’s sun had been swallowed by that fire. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I heard a fly buzz

"I heard a Fly buzz – when I died – 
………………………………– and then
I could not see to see –"
                                           Emily Dickinson

There was a time when the tv picture, turned off,
Diminished to one bright spot on the screen,
Lingered awhile, then quenched.
All that action condensed into one bright spot;
I marvelled and dwelt on it and saw it out.

How magnificent that last buzz must be?
How marvellous the smallest manifestation of life!
How magnificent that last stirring of life:
She turned her head, her head;
She turned her head.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I Love You

The purple heads of the chives standing on their bottle-green stalks
were June’s bright soldiers above the dun-coloured sandstone;
beyond them, the soft pile forestry of the opposite  hillside
was a kind of wealth to us, especially in the rich glow of evening sun.

I moved closer to you; held out my hand to find yours already there,
to be links in a chain with this beauty; and then I said, ‘I love you.’
It was not just the moment; it was the magnificence of the view below us;
I needed something that grand to put the words into.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Beads of Rain

Beads of rain made blinking eyes of the water,
thousands of strings unravelled, the pond filled,
became agitated.

It was for this I came to the park. To see the day crease,
to assure myself that your death would not pass unnoticed.

The day was a dark mood but the strings transported the sky’s light
into the pond’s sulking despondency,
and suddenly I was feeling better.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Old Man

Oh, that’s not who he is,
age is just the cap on his head.

And cranky: it’s what he’s been holding
since youth, his rebellion.

We should listen, but, only the old can know
what the old know.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Love then

I’ll be somewhere far away by then.
The silhouettes are for you;
they are the silhouettes of us as lovers.
There were stars all around;
they’re still there,
but we  moved on.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Street Dweller

He lives in a doorway,
finds privacy facing away from the street;
his back is his outside wall.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Prayer at a soldier’s grave

You created this young man to do Your will
wherever righteous  politicians may send him;
to loose his bullets into other young men
sent by other politicians, who, seeing the thing
otherwise, also uphold what is right.

His intelligence and strength used to cull those
most like himself, serving country.
I pray that this transubstantiation of body to stone slab
pleases You  as it has pleased those who sent him,
who have much to gain from his sacrifice.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Havoc of Climate Change Already Here

Leaving the climatic effects of global warming to one side, the geopolitical ramifications are truly scary.  Take a short while to listen to Professor Jennifer Leaning  in this BBC podcast, Climate Change and Me:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A life alone

No one lives with the moon, no one could;
the moon is beautiful, too beautiful;
a sentence to loneliness.

Night after night, wandering, catching glimpses 
  of lovers through half-pulled curtains, it loiters 
to glare on their passions with arctic disdain.

Then scurries onward through the forests of the sky,
to recover its empty heaven,
the solitude that freezes its heart.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


           (a poem about distance)

            Nice to feel the sun on your back,
            cool yourself down in the sea;
            watch the girls on the beach:
            beautiful bodies.

            Nice too, the sounds of the seaside:
            a speed-boat buzzing, 
            the tide washing onto the sand,
            children screaming.

Monday, May 7, 2018

On Murvagh Beach

There’s so little difference between sea and cloud
that the whole scene might as well be upside down,
with the bisectors of St John’s Point, a finger stretching
across the horizon, and Mullagmore, a finger, Adam’s to God,
reaching back. To the left, white clouds are hanging,
sheets from a bed, down the sides of Ben Bulben; to the right
the Bluestacks are slumped  beneath mosquito nets of rain.

Smokey light is filling the bay like ether, lulling the world,
so waves that have raced across the ocean, surviving the fury
at Rosnowlagh, now collapse, spent, onto the sand.
Murvagh beach, pooled with clouds we’re walking through;
two silhouettes moving along the bottom edge of a canvas now cause
 a tin of paint to splatter upward: a bevy of oystercatchers taking to flight.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


Riverrun over the land:
slivered sky and light,
spindly bodies flowing,
fish and ripples one,

Clamouring in the high places,
lisping in the  low.
Spry in youth,
sedate in old age;
always journeying to their end
to run again.

Saturday, April 28, 2018


A word like a vision,
s slipping over the lips
like water over a weir.

Something lighter than a spacecraft
a fume
somehow escaping;

a small perfection,
fragment of renaissance art,
a sssssssssnip of eternity.


Trees keening winter nights away,
their wails woven into the wind;

heads of hair like seaweed taken from the strand,
flails knotted in insoluble puzzles.

Underground, roots twisting toward some source,
shaped by memory;

trees, like abandoned lovers,
scratching down the marble of night-time.