Friday, January 24, 2020

Dream Song

This, my effort at a dream song,  was first published in  Berryman’s Fate: A Centenary Celebration in Verse (Arlen Press, 2014) edited by Philip Coleman. 
My referring to it as a dream song is more than a bit cheeky, Berryman's dream songs are in a class of their own. I was following his template for the publication, and I found the format  hugely liberating. At the time, I remember thinking I should use this style more regularly, and maybe I should; but would they always be third rate Berryman lookalikes?

Honora loves Hughie;
when Hubby’s out, Hughie’s in;
when Hughie’s in, Hubby’s out.
With pencil and jotter he arrives,
collaboraciously inclined towards writing poetry;
Honora fucks him poetic.

And he humping with winsome wordplay,
peppering words indiscriminate,
till catching the ribbon,
pencilling at speed,
jostling his poultry,
he fillets his jotter with creation,

his wordels  ̶  love children.
Humpy happy
Hughie lozenges back on the pillow,
his foot writing,
receding tides have always been creative
on the sands

Sunday, January 19, 2020


She is old.

She is old and lives in a house that is much older.

Her face is in the front room window;

Her face full moon in the darkness of her room.

The sun has made stripes of her street,

The sun has rent this moldering old town in two.

She is searching in the bright sunlight opposite;

She is searching for the feel summers long ago.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

AvantAppal(achia) submission call for special issue

AvantAppal(achia)'s second Special Is(sue) entitled (Yes)ABLED will be dedicated to the work of disabled poets, artists, and short story writers.

Subject-matter doesn’t have to be related to the experience of being disabled, it’s completely open. Check out for the submission guide-lines, but please note that "(Yes)ABLED" must be included in the email subject-line as the submission period for the regular Is(sue) 9 will be open at the same time.

The deadline for (Yes)ABLED is March 31, 2020 and it will go live on April 15, 2020. Times a movin, check out the website. Do it now.

Friday, January 10, 2020

SurVision Magazine #6 and call for submissions

Issue Six of surrealist poetry magazine Survision is now live and 100 per cent free online. It's a fantastic publication with works from 37 poets from Ireland, England, USA, Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Israel, Brazil and Ukraine, some in translation. 
Also, they're reading chapbooks and full collections by Ireland-born or -based poets between 1st January and 31st January 2020 with a view to a possible publication. ONE manuscript per poet via e-mail only, their e-mail address is stated on the front page of their website. 
There's no fee for manuscript submission but be aware that only good matches for SurVision Books will be considered. SurVision publishes top-drawer surrealist poetry; check out their magazines or the titles they've published before submitting. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

At last, my first Irish poem

It has taken a long time, my Irish is getting there but slowly; I've a long way to go. A friend of mine suggested that we both take the plunge, mind you his command of the language is far greater than mine.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to write in Irish for a long time; the language suggests poems that English doesn’t. It brings me closer to the land, its atmosphere and its grain. Even though I lack the linguistic fluency, it still prompts me with words that convey more deeply the textures of the landscape and the spirit of the people who have lived here speaking with these words before me.

In the past, and perhaps still in some quarters, one of the slights thrown at the Irish language questioned the point of  a language that had forty different words for the same seaweed but was adrift (excuse the pun) in modern lingo. There are few who would quibble with Cezanne's multiple takes on Mont Sainte-Victoire or Monet's garden scenes.The same applies in language, different words bring different nuances; they open different circuits in the brain. A wider vocabulary gives rise to a wider richer range of expression. This applies to the use of different  languages also.

So, some might say I’ve got a nerve, but one of the blessings of blogging is having a reason to write and a place to post the efforts. I would, however, be very grateful to any reader who has enough Irish to correct my grammar, as I’m fairly sure there’s changes to be made.

I've included a rough translation below.


Sé an suaimhneas timpeall na dtithe a théann i bhfeidhm ort;
tá tú in ann gnáthsaol an phobail a shamhlú go héasca 
mar tá iarsmaí a shaolta scaipthe i ngach dtreo
ach iad go léir ag dul ar ais go mall go dtí an cré.

Thall, torann fharraige mar a bhí go deo, bualadh saoil na ndaoine.
An cé, a bhí lán beo le gníomhaíocht na hiascairí
ag deisiú a líonta, ag ullamhú potaí gliomaíde,
gan bhád amhain feistiú ann inniu.

Agus rianta chruathain na ndaoine le féiceáil
sna garraíthe mór thimpeall, fíorglas le iarrachtaí na glúnta uilig;
na hiomairí a bhain siad, ann fós ach ina fhásach,
mar scríobhneoireacht ársa gur mhair cine laochaois anseo fadó.


It's the calmness around the houses that strikes you/ you can easily imagine the lifestyle of the people/ because the remnants of their lives are scattered all around/but they're all going back slowly into the earth.

Beyond, the noise of the sea as it has always been, the beat of community life/the quay that was full of the activities of fishermen mending their nets, preparing their lobster pots/without a boat moored there today.

And the hardship of the people to be seen/in the fields all around, rich green with the efforts of all the generations/ the ridges they dug still there but overgrown/ like ancient writing that a heroic race lived here long ago.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Time, unchecked, steals lives.

Saturday, January 4, 2020


Once, in a sodden, flaggered field
beside the river,
the current took me;
not a canoe but a trout,
a water’s flint smoothed by its flow,
a ripple’s almond.

All sleekness and fluidity,
all instinct;
a lidless eye running,
seeing and discarding,
gorged on movement,
passing all argument.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

St Féichín's Warning

As hare whiskers taut, eyes bulging
he scours the mainland
in the grey hour of evening
when demons go searching for currency.

Sitting sentinel on day’s shore-line,
grabbing at the seen and the half-seen,
reining in phantasms,
deciphering the commotions of molecules,

he senses, suddenly, a juddering in the air
from around some looming presence 
– an approaching darkness, darker than night – 
and an ice-bolt hits him.

With the flesh creeping along his flanks,
he kicks back his hind legs
and bounds through the tussocks,
to the church in the hollow.

The bell’s baleful clonk, strange at this hour,
draws shadowy figures out of the night
into a bedraggled huddle
standing anxiously in the sanctuary of the church.

Féichín, with one last tug on the rope,
and hare’s wild gaze in his eyes,
turns to them gravely
to announce the arrival of Satan on Omey.

And on that ominous note, happy new year. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Wonder at a City Pond

Mallards, water hens, swans; all round-bellied on the pond
or rotated 180, peaky-arsed upwards, delving for food.

Down there the arrow-headed, sleek-sided, taper-tailed
dart between beaks, hooks and gobble-jaws.

The magnificent refinement of bodies here at a city pond;
we strike the pavement to move along

as a flock of gulls, maybe fifty or sixty, swoop low over the water,
cutting the air; blades, slivers, silver clavicles.

I can't help feeling after the breakdown of the recent climate conference in Madrid, that it's time for us to insist through the ballot box that breakdowns are no longer acceptable, that representatives should be locked in until resolutions are found. It's gone too late, and too catastrophic to be accepting less.
And, as for those who don't accept climate change as a reality, we should insist on their participation; whether accepted or not, the implications are too great for anyone to be taking risks with our children's futures.
With the greatest hopes for enlightenment among our leaders, let's hope for a great 2020, as in vision and the new year. M

Sunday, December 22, 2019

On a clear moonlit night I fell asleep in a field
and dreamt I was sleeping there.

All night a terror of being vulnerable
stood just beyond the pool of my dreaming,

 immediately outside my defences,
even my waking.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

No People

The hunch-doubled thorns,
ingrown pantries
the moss-stone walls

The nettle-cracked doorway,
the cloud curtained windows

The stone-sheltered air
bumbled still,
the submerged garden ridges

Monday, December 16, 2019

A Canal Vision

In the dim light of a December evening
swans, bright as struck matches,
are gliding over the oarweed of traffic lights
on their way to Harold’s Cross Bridge.

Ghosts on winter’s dark glass,
blind to the world’s commotion,
they pass without trace,
blind even to their own beauty.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Market, Emily Square, 60's

pecking in the litter of clothes,
scarved heads bobbing
on the spume

for there were more coins than notes.

their uppers and stitch-work
bent this way and that,
fingers inserted to the toe

for they had more copper than silver.

back and back and back,
that incessant wrangling
over threadbare rewards

for their’s was then far less than plenty.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Crucifixion Scene

I’m struck by the basketry of bones containing the thorax;
that unexpected view of internal anatomy,
a map of pain.

I think of Frida Kahlo, the broken ionic column that supported her,
the deer struck with so many arrows,
all contained within her defiance.

And then I see that the bones are not containment,
they are radiant;
they radiate strength.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019



clouds of shifting



forever passing by.




always assumed

you were going somewhere.