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.

Sunday, February 26, 2017



Where are you.
Where are you child.
Among the spring green leaves
Naked as a lizard;
I hear your airy lilt,
Why are you humming.

From what remote well
Do these grotesque sounds come;
Dispatched, bleak cirrus
In the high skies of a child's voice,
Freezing all the forest
Into fairy-tale stillness.

Where are you,
Where are you child.
In what empty paradise;
Where's the tower that emits your eccentric song;
Against the frozen wings of which birds of paradise
Do you rub.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The way of the world

I came across a written piece in which it said that you can be very friendly with a person. The friendliness grows towards a sexual relationship.  A time comes when that  relationship might be consumated, but if the moment passes, the relationship  unravels, even appears somewhat sordid to the other person. 

It always surprises me when I see the closest relationships break up, only to descend into a version of open warfare.

You see it, often in families: is it because there's a sense of betrayal? Closeness turns to outright hostility.

The Way of It

I can't fit you into my scheme of things  
nor you me,
now that we've finally become ourselves.

I turn on you sharper than a scalpel,
spit words chiselled to wound.
Out from beneath the quilt of affection,

our naked selves so vicious,
we bruise each other with the same fervour
that once marked our love.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

She Swept into the Sky

That day Maggie Allen,
propped up in her bed,
was staring at the bedspread.

Snow, melting in her eyes,
fell, tiny bells,
into the valley far below.

Suddenly, arms spread wide,
a blizzard of hair,
she swept outward

off her ledge,
into the sky
across the room.

We stared at her
nonplussed face,
the four pillows tucked behind her.

Friday, February 10, 2017


The sunlight on the back of your neck,
ear-lobes, hair.
A page-reflected glow onto your chin,
dimming upward towards your eyes,
and all else darkness around you.

If I’d never seen that you are beautiful;
that day, as the light chose to steal up behind you,
to settle on you  so gently, but dazzlingly;
that light would have been light enough
to reflect forever in my mind.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lost in Adulthood

Poem for Elaine

Then, I was the explorer
with that pedal happiness in my feet;
down a tunnel of laurels
or wellington-deep in water.

Now I have to be reminded:
there are furze trails to be charted,
tracking to be done in the tall grass,
and we should be deadly quiet
in the hedge caverns after dark.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Still waiting for Enlightenment

Cruise Missiles          

Jesus, the padre prayed,
direct these missiles onto the heads
of our enemies.

Except that’s not what he said. He said
we pray that these missiles will be efficient
in their function.

Then. Up Jesus,
ride them clean down their throats.
Except, of course, he didn’t say that either;

but blessed them with holy water.
After that, the missiles were dispatched,
American missionaries to Europe.

(I saw this religious ceremony on the main evening news when the first cruise missiles were being deployed in Europe.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

One of the Most Beautiful Places in Ireland

This poem, The Green Road, refers to one of the most beautiful and very walkable walks in Ireland; the green road skirts around the north-western corner of the Burren in county Clare. A karst limestone landscape with unique fauna, herds of wild goats, and the most stunning views of Galway Bay, the mountains of Connemara and the Aran Islands. A lot of people will drive on to the Cliffs of Moher, but if you've got 2 working legs beneath you and a couple of free hours this is an unbeatable pleasure.

The poem was included in the anthology, Fermata: Writings inspired by Music (Artisan House, 2016) which was edited by Eva Bourke and Vincent Woods. It's a magnificent collection, featuring writers such as Thomas Kinsella,Vona Groarke, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Paul Durcan, Derek Mahon, Pearse Hutchinson, Paula Meehan among a host of others and a foreword by composer/musician Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. These writings sing to the music that inspired them; be good to yourself and buy it.

The Green Road.© Copyright David Purchase and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Green Road

The blackthorns above Fenore
are flight rooted;
they are folklore’s skeletons,
beggars of the green road.

Scoured to the knuckle,
stunted on burren karst,
they are the hags on the mountain
hunched from Atlantic gales.

Yet even this stone-weary day,
with hunger perched on their throats,
a robin is singing in each
notes that singe the February air.

Beneath the huddling sky,
into the ear of the green road
it pours, clear as water,
the music of tin whistlers’ dreams.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Donald’s Personality Traits

Anger: has he got anger issues! When  riled, he’ll fight with anyone or anything at the drop of a hat, without thinking it through. Doesn't matter how absurd, sense departs and it doesn't help that he’s temperamental and stubborn too. He’s selfish, often rude and is obsessed with money, gold. Not exactly humble either, he craves fame and popularity, he brags and shows off. To say he doesn't see himself clearly would be an understatement.
It’s quite hard to know what the Donald’s saying a lot of the time, that’s to say his meaning can be hard to get at.
Donald is white with a great splash of orange around his gob, and he’s great box office. “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.”

Friday, January 20, 2017

Don't we all know one?


Among the blocks of the establishment;
a flawless rise bolted your trust;
success was cement,
all loose notions were pebble-dashed.

Now you revise:
the establishment, its self-righteous system:

how many bodies like you
have fallen from the sides to point the pyramid ?

And how many times did you skate over principles,
that I remember, you once held dearly?