Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Never smile at a crocodile and never give Messi that much space"

Simile, hyperbole, metaphor, idiom: Ray Hudson should be mandatory in all ‘creative writing’ courses.

Messi scored the winner against Real Madrid last Sunday and Ray’s celebration was epic.

"The menacing man arrives and sinks his flaming spear into the hearts of Real Madrid ……………..born in the crossfire hurricane, and he is jumping jack flash right here.............. Messi, you could drop a Tarantula into his shorts and he'd still be cool………………… As cool as the seeds inside of a cucumber".

Earlier he described Messi ‘s finish as “cleaner than Neutrogena” and “ wonderful control. He tattoos the ball to his feet.”

Mind you it’s hard to beat some of the praise he had previously showered on Messi, here’s a few more:

“Defenders try to follow him on Facebook and he comes out on Twitter.”
“He burgulates the defence. He violates the intrusion. And in football, it’s legal!”
“Messi needs help like a shark needs a dentist”


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The trees in the moonlight

The trees in the moonlight are silent,
and the trees in the pond are still.

If there is malice,
it is not here by the pond in the moonlight.
Neither violence
nor hatred
nor greed.
There are no prejudices here,
but, sadness, oh my God,
sadness fills the air with the voices of thousands
whose throats have been slit,

here, where the trees are silent in the moonlight
by the pond.

Friday, April 21, 2017

An Alternative Interpretation of Megalithic Art

There's been a lot of water collecting in this blog lately, but before pumping it dry, here's one more interpretation of the megalithic art at Loughcrew and and other megalithic sites in Ireland.

Conwell engraving: detail from Cairn L, Loughcrew c. 1870

Concentric rings,
raindrops’ pockmarks,
undulations,  zigzags.

Rivers teeming life and light  ̶̶
smithereens of sun,  
spicules of stars  ̶

we took them from the water,
embellished the stones,
so they would flow into the bodies of our dead,

who would run with the rivers,
live to be old as the earth
shine bright as the stars.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


On an evening
when apple was eating the worm,
tree grating the sun
with some clouds, dusty birds;
the green cloth
was spread to the orchard wall.

I watched bees collecting post
while cat was a tea cosy
with dozey trip-wire eyes.
Suddenly dog alarm in the hedge
comes bursting from the undergrowth:
big game hunter
and cat gone steeplejack.

Then dog winks
and we stretch out,
and I go back to being a microscope
eyeball deep in daisies.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Thinking out loud.............faking politicians

When we tolerate lies from those who lead, don't we cede all rights to principled government, not just for now, but for the foreseeable future. Encourage future contenders for leadership to be, not just lax in their accountability to their people, but to be downright fraudulent in their practices; whatever is self-serving. Our tenuous regard for the truth, so often highlighted in our treatment of whistle-blowers, will leave us open to forms of leadership normally associated with dictatorship.

Sure Sight

I see
your face

a desolate
your irises

the wash
of slivered
your smile

I know of
less trodden

I contract
to be
an explorer
in that universe.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rivers run


Rivers run 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.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Looking at the detail

One of my favourite works of art, Mantegna’s extraordinary ‘Lamentation Over The Dead Christ’, is nearly too familiar. It would be easy to pan across the image and see much less than is there. Break it down to its detail and its brilliance is seen afresh.

It brings to mind the words of doubting Thomas “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Look at the torn flesh in the feet, the open gashes in the back of the hands; you could put your finger into them.

And when the resurrected Jesus appears to the apostles and says to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe”, he readily replies “My Lord and my God!”

This painting carries, magnificently, that strength to convince. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Salmon in the Spring, the Hazel and the Hermit

The prompt word for this poem was 'source'. Mythology is full of sources, and mythology comes with a plethora of suggestions,  all endlessly malleable. It provides a platform for creativity but with roots that give the work weight and resonance. The poem is a bit of a departure for me; feel free to comment.

The Salmon in the Spring, the Hazel and the Hermit

Into an open gob the hazelnuts fell,
so over the years the salmon grew
into a colossus.
A day came when one nut dropped, plumb-line,
to be devoured complete with husk
at the very moment of its agitation.
And in that very instant, the salmon spewed from its intestines
its knowledge of a thousand years;
that cascaded downhill
over the shilling bright stones,
through the ignorant meadows to the lake,
where they became part of an ever-shifting
circuit of water, weed, spume and silt.

A hermit, who lived by the lake,
doused his face, and drinking some of this potion
was instantly replete.
A hazel took root in his belly and he convulsed,
so that the stones unearthed by his flailing feet
filled the lake
and sent its waters flooding out,
onto to the plain where the people lived;
and they, too, in their turn, drank .

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Silver River

 Jacket, shirt and shoes;
 his socks and trousers
 neat on the bank;
 a small crowd watching from the bridge.

silver river running

 He was coming from a card game, late;
 the winnings in his pocket.
 There had been a woman,
 they had visited the priest.

silver river running

 But that’s long ago now;
 he worked the farm;
 a good worker, his neighbours said,
 always busy with the tractor.

silver river running

 He lived with his mother,
 who cooked his meals and managed the money;
 now, she was a great farming woman,
 everyone agreed.

silver river running

I have a photograph of him holding a child,
he didn’t look comfortable;
he sat for a while in the garden
but didn’t stay long.

silver river running

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


There is a blue box on the hall table.

A cube, transparent plastic, maybe three inches high.

It capsules twilight,

and there are objects drowned in it.

Sitting there,

it’s like something is going to happen. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017


We are two scarecrows: rags and string;
what the rain softens the wind picks clean.

We are two scarecrows: sticks and straw;
crows fly out from underneath our jackets.

We are two scarecrows: nails and wire;
each day drowning as the corn grows higher.

We are two scarecrows: sacks and hay;
nodding toward eternity, we tip toward clay.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Your Crying

Your crying:
The silver streams
Of your eyes,
The radiant red cheeks,
The choking on words,
The gullish.

I think of a voice
Curling up
From inside a hollow oak. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017


(in response to this week's awful discovery in Tuam)

Bones in the soil,
broken bones.

Bones that sheltered a mind,
and a heart.
That had a name,
that rested on a pillow,
that might have run a race,
maybe won if they were fast-
moving bones.
That might have grown
to adulthood,
crooked around a lover’s neck
and been happy then.
Might  have aged to venerability,
or been fond old bones
carrying liver spots,
showering gappy smiles
on grandchildren.

those bones in the soil.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

In The Park


I met an old man
with seawater eyes

sweeping together
the leaves of his life.          

Into a sack they went,
each golden one.