Friday, October 20, 2017

Life is glass

I fall, fuck up my face;
my arms and fingers
pouring blood
and I don’t even feel it.

Life is glass.
I discover that I can’t mind myself:
I can’t make the decisions
that protect me.

I meet my broken face in a mirror;
it accuses me.
I stare at it;
I stare at myself.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


The longer I am paddling this canoe:
the more distant my destination,
the less I am.

The less you see in me,
the less I see in me,
the more is light.

The more is light,
the less I dream,
the more all is dream.

Friday, October 13, 2017


When I reminisce about my childhood,
I am running with my schoolbag on my back;
exulting in the speed: one leg extended forward,
the other crooked at the knee,  foot in mid-air;
and a broad grin across my face, brimming happiness.
The church is in the background with a brilliantly coloured Calvary grotto,
and there’s the school and the Harrison Hall, all shining
against a cloudless azure sky.

And all of that is gone
as suddenly as a blizzard  strikes with the flick of a wrist. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Films in your face

I am watching the film in your face:
your enjoyment crinkling
at the corners of your eyes,
teeth catching your lower lip,
blood draining from the pressure,
draining back as soon.

Furrows on your forehead,
I am smiling at your absorption,
want to stub them out with my thumb
but you catch me looking
so I turn back to the screen
till your face is mine again.

The words on my lips
remain unsaid. A time may come
when, not having words,
I will wish I had spoken; a time
when love being tested, I could say,
I used to watch films in your face.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Literary Events this week/weekend in Roscommon and Leitrim

Late notice this, but not too late if you live in the north midlands or northwest. A very engaging two days of talks and readings entitled Irish Women in Literature. Speakers include Nuala O'Connor, Prof. Luke Gibbons, Professor Christine Kinealy, Jessamine O'Connor and others. Free readings, but booking necessary.

also this weekend in Carrick-on-Shannon

Irish Mountain Festival in Carrick -on-Shannon 6th - 8th Oct. 
Participants include celebrated American writer and folklorist Henry Glassie, King of the Castle author Eugene McCabe and Ireland Professor of Poetry Eileán Ní Chuilleanáin, novelist Pat McCabe, migrant rights campaigner Bernadette Devlin McAliskey and London Imam and sean-nós singer Muhammad Al-Hussaini  among the participants at the festival in Carrick-on-Shannon.Tickets €60/€40

The End of Love, A Chill Awakening


He, who covered my body

with snail-trails,

whose hands were wrack

swept over my skin,

kisses on my back

a colony of shell fish.

He, who would have crossed a mountain range

for an hour between my thighs

now crawls over me

with wizened passion.

Gutted of love,

he comes clawing,


and insults me with lies

that have made greater pincers

of his mouth than his hands.

What does he see in me ?

Meat to excite him,

his groper's desires,

even his fingertips betray him.

But no more,

the erotic becomes ugly,

decrepit manoeuvres disconnected

from their original meanings;

the touches stain you.

I have watched him slither from my gaze

a thousand times a night

while slipping the word love

from his vocabulary;

watched him develop this communication

of knives and forks.

Friday, September 29, 2017

I saw my brother

One day, after I was dead, I saw my brother.
He was talking to a neighbour over the wall;
I called out to him, but he didn’t hear; in truth his hearing was poor.
My anxiety rose; I called louder and louder. I could not move,
I was watching him, I was scanning his profile; and knowing what I know so well,
knew that this was no mirage nor dream, and so, my anxiety quickened.
It is almost impossible to describe the stress: so close, so immediate;
the blood boiling in the veins of my temples. It would not have been so intense
but he was my brother, and had there been fire between him and I, I would have persevered.
But I could break outside myself, could not come one decibel nearer, even with that heartbreak.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Poem: An Image

Image© Matthew Gammon

Roscommon County Council are hosting an exhibition entitled, 'A Poem: An Image', in the Civic Offices in Roscommon which will is running until Oct 20th. It comprises 16 poems written in response to 16 images, and is definitely worth visiting.
My poem, Returning, was written in response to Matthew Gammon's moving and very evocative image shown above. 


Houses are funny: boxes really, boxes of memories,
even in decay,
even though the memories are peeling.
The walls, soaked with voices, breathing out their memories
which settle, a fine dust around you.

You, who entered, no longer here;
you, who is here, transfixed in this presence of the past;
an in-between place: you and spirits
and yourself that once was;
and it all settling, a fine dust around you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Escalation 2017

You’re mad.
You’re nuts.
You’re mad.
You’re nuts.

That’s it, I’m going to kill you and everyone who knows you.
You can’t, cos I’m going to kill you and everyone who knows you first.

There I told you; you’re mad.
You’re nuts.
You’re mad.
You’re nuts.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Light of Innocence

The lake: shape of a dress thrown haphazardly onto the ground.
One  evening late, all the people of the village came to divest
 themselves of their sins,  washed them into the lake,
which swallowing , simultaneously caught hold of the sky,
held it in a petrified grasp; sky that never had  a care.

Two swans, two mute glories, some distance apart;
two matches  frozen at the point of flaming  appeared on the water
at the precise moment of the immersion. People say
their plumage shone with unearthly brightness.  It is said in the village
that they appear every time a sinner  divests himself of his sin;
that the light is the light of innocence.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Memory of my Father

I have a memory of my father
sitting on a log in the shed,
reading the Sunday Independent
between the lawnmower and the garden tools;
it was his quiet  refuge.

I see him through the open door,
from across a narrow lawn newly mown;
bees are tracing zig-zag lines
between us;
and the lupins are in full bloom.

Summer stretched out over the fields and the railway line,
beyond the gates, out to the Shannon, and beyond;
but Summer is a precarious season.
I like lupins,
they look like Summer.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Brown Eyes

She had deep brown eyes;
I believe trout swam in their depths.
And I often spent an hour sitting there
with my feet disturbing their surfaces
like rain.

But the currents that stirred her
were much deeper.
They stirred the silt of years
far below,
far below my reflected face.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

3 photographs

This little scene in the grounds of a holy well caught my attention.You can almost hear her exclamation, "Holy God!" And, what's gas is, the rest of the family got good steady jobs in the Civil Service.

This signpost above a beach gives you a fifty fifty chance of  taking the right direction to somewhere.

And, this sign at a petrol station isn't unique; I mean I know what it's saying, but I don't think its saying what it means.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Green into Grey (full)

Green into Grey

When the clouds
Fell onto the hill with the trees,
And they were sinking,
I thought of you.

The still heads
Belied their stirrings in the murk,
They were swimming,
And I thought of you.

All day long,
Shadows mutely threading that depth,
And they were ghostly,
I thought of you.

When the sun
At last tore the mist from the trees
they were gleaming,
And I dreamt of you.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Green into Grey

When the clouds

Fell onto the hill with the trees

And they were sinking,


I thought of you.