Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Climb

    As I watched,
a mother and child climbed
the steep summit of Croagh Patrick;
stopping, starting, stopping, starting.

While tourists were passing like traffic,
two flies, clinging to scree,
scrambled upward, pulling
the universe’s blue cloak tighter about them.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

He Fishes With Cormorants.

An idea from a beautiful documentary I saw many years  ago: 'He Dances for his Cormorants'.

He fishes with Cormorants

Man on a raft
tray wafer   ̶
a jabbering macaw  ̶

into the river.

rocks, teeth
witness all:

silver purses
leaping backwards,
their gullets full.

See YouTube clip at

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Remembering Pearse Hutchinson

No Detail Too Small 

No detail too small, you balanced it on your pen.
Watchmaker with magnified eye,
you admired the exquisiteness in small things.

When a gentian is a match for the Matterhorn,
an everyday kindness is treasure, humility dazzles,
and universal courteousness is a longed for revolution.   

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Door hanging from its hinges,

breakfast things on the table,
newspapers neat in a corner,
armchair facing the television.

In the bedroom, make-up bottles,
4711, dresses in the wardrobe,
night-gown thrown onto the bed.

Calendar stopped: July 1984,
a pair of slippers still awaiting her feet;
feet  silent as air.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


One afternoon, long after, I call her.
I imagine the phone’s ring-tone
streaming through the air
of her sitting room;

above her writing desk,
wallets of holiday photos,
saucer of earrings,
a broken watch.

And now full sail over the carpet,
leaving behind
a mess of Sunday papers,
empty wine bottle on the couch.

Into the hall,
above floor-boards,
raincoat on the banister,
umbrella fallen onto the first step.

To the landing,
boxes of books,
the standard lamp forever
on its way to the bin.

My calling her: smoke
curling in a square of sunlight,
a cloud of silver smidgens
with nowhere to go.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Dog

A dog built around his snarling teeth   
demonstrates human instincts
when I cross his ground.
Glass stare, no, spikes from his face,
his crew cut spines speared,
snarl or smile, legs set in concrete:
stance consciousness.              
The considered setting of his growl:
natural resonance of nerves.
The chosen time for a step:
psychology of closing, removing space,
building a crescendo of presence.
Then the howling with muscle release:

snap of dogs, snap of men.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Final Breath
in memory of Pearse Hutchinson

In that last moment your breath halted in your mouth;
the  air teetered on your tongue; one last taste perhaps.

Death flew across the room, your eyes followed it,
leaving us, exiting through the walls.

Vivaldi played on,
emerged from behind  your troubled  breathing.

For that few moments,
baroque splendour  was your breath condensing around us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Not normal


I was born in a tree.

Before words rustled,
thoughts rustled.

Caught, netted in November; 
the leaves fallen,
I had my ten fingers fast around a branch. 

They felled the tree
rather than see me in it.

After that, they stuck their words into my mouth.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Where The Poetry Comes From

Fathomless blue;
Blue sky.

Two swallows proclaiming it
Are extravagant

Dancers in an empty ballroom.
A church bell chimes

Two, three, five o’clock;
No matter.

Tracing curves to unending time;
A route to south Africa ?

Fathomed true;
Blue sky.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Artur Widak Exhibition in Rathmines College's Culture Night Programme

Artur Widak  is a Polish photojournalist, currently based in Dublin. His striking images have been highly acclaimed and published internationally; publications include The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Independent (UK) and many more. This Friday, Sept 16th, Culture Night in Ireland, his moving and thought-provoking exhibition 'The Path to Freedom: pictures illustrating the journey refugees are taking from war-torn countries to Europe' can be seen in Rathmines Town Hall between 5 and 9pm.

Artur Widak and budding photographer

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Tide's High Blood Mark

                 (Before The Firing Squad)


            The sun's tide
            is licking me.



            In one eye-full I have examined every brick,
            seen the crack in that window,     
       `   the wasp on the flag
            and still felt the sun
            and heard the voice right down
            to a bubble on his vocal cords.                                        


            The sun travelled its 93 million miles.
            Threw my shadow against the bricks.
            My shadow stretched
            My shadow stretched
            My shadow stretched
            And the sun said
            That my shadow was as tall and slender
            As any wave that ever rose
            That ever rose out of the full tide
            Climbed and stretched its arms
            Over the bricks of this barracks wall.

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Culture Night Miscellany in Rathmines

I'm really looking forward to joining  Kevin Hora, Maggie Breheny and Anne Marie McGowan for A Culture Night Miscellany of poetry, music, story and song in Rathmines Town Hall on Friday, Sept. 16th. And it will be a particular pleasure to welcome fellow poet Jane Clarke to Rathmines College.

2016 has been a good year for Jane, but, then again, all the recent years  have been good for her. This year she was winner of the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature 2016 Ondaatje Literary Award. Her first collection, The River, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2015.  In  2014 she won the Listowel Writers' Week Poetry Collection Award, the 2014 Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition and was  shortlisted for the 2014 Hennessy Literary Awards, as she was in 2013. I don't have to, but maybe I'll stop there. Suffice it to say, she is a cut above........., but then, like myself, she does come from Roscommon.

Jane Clarke

Do we torture what we don't like the look of ?


Prostrate on the beach,
a slop of sea pulse,
a glob black as chewed tobacco
fallen from the lip.

My mother said -
the sea is sick,
it's breath on the beach is bad
and its puke is scattered
all over the sand.

She said
all its pin points are boiling,
its stomach heaves;
that it will yellow our skin
if it gets half a chance.

Then this morning,
when something with small eyes
came out of the sea,
I pelted stones at it
till the tractor came.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Old Man

The tyre hanging in the garden
is proof that children used to  play there;
but in the breeze it’s a shaking head.

Today snowflakes flying by
leave the sycamore white on its northern side.
The garden is still: no snowman, no footprints.

The tyre is an old man;
with an old voice, he explains:  
“I cannot remember names; truth is

I hung too close to the trunk to be of use;
the sycamore branches bolted upwards;
to this day they’ve never spread out.”