Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Great I






Next week these will be on the lawn. Package them and send to the greatest president ever. Write him that his position is great, but he is snow; same as snow everywhere.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

My Advice This November Day

Don’t be too fond of owning,  my little love,
As you fly;
Your mother’s concertina has had many owners
And there’ll be many more.

Let your head be full of the magic of flying
And happiness will be yours;
Be light as a leaf  among the millions,
Such exhilaration.

This flight is your life, darling,
Unique, incredible, finite.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Hat on a Man.

A man donned a hat that shaded his eyes;
in consequence he was never the same man again.

Through whatever shadows he walked, light or dark,
he was hidden within his own shade, and knew it.

From then on people remarked on the man that nobody knew;
and he was forced to comply.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

St Feichín Takes His Followers To Omey

Continuing adventures of St Feichín of Omey:

St Feichín Takes His Followers To Omey

Feichín in the wooded Glen of Fore
declared that men must shun trees,
‘for’, said he, ‘sinners thrive where rain
does not flay the hides of men.’

 ‘Let us go to Omey where trees have shrivelled to stone,
where thorns are the sea driven ahead of wild winds
and skies of  gorse will lash our backs.
Let us go far from trees who throw their shade on our repentance.’

So they built their monastery on the island
where the winds rode in on the dragons of the ocean,
where the rains fell incessantly, nails, even out of  a clear winter’s night
and their ears rang with the booming of souls drowning in eternity.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Whale Song

When I was young
night cleared away the countryside;
there was nothing till morning.

Sometimes a dog barked;
barked into the void;
that bark carried forever.

When I hear whale song,
I hear the void;
I hear childhood terror.


Torn from their place,
bunches of blood-vessels;
roses up-rooted
soon blown.

Up-rooted for their ground;
left lying
fade quicky; up-rooted
blown roses.

knows its ground, left rooted;
dries quickly
torn from that place.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Encroaching onto the landscape

In leisure

                     Forgetful of the Gods




How those soul-sodden fields must detest us

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


The beach was a flood of  sunlight.
We, alone on that long stretch of strand, a dozed
to the clock of the tide marking afternoon time,
sibilance rolling into sonorousness with each wave’s passing.

I remember you walked along the water’s edge,
your white cotton dress a fishing net for the sun
and you were dazzling.

When today I hear a tide’s clamour resounding around a bay,
hear each wave’s commotion echoing into the distance,
and consider the millions of stones turning over,
the endlessness of that beauty strikes hard

against that momentary vision of you,
dressed in light,
playing on the edge of eternity
as the tide drummed an afternoon’s hours away.

Sunday, October 27, 2019


the blossoms,
elegant little ballerinas,
red as rowan,
bright as Christmas.

August, the bushes
luxuriant along the roadside,
filled with the baritone
drone of a thousand bees.

One blossom, torn
through the sepals,
erupts on the tongue
with the sweetness of honey.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Green into Grey

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

Those still heads
Belied their stirrings in the murk;
They were swimming,
I was thinking of you.

All day long
Shadows mutely threading that depth,
And they were ghostly,
I was remembering.

Then, when the sun
At last tore the mist from the trees
They were gleaming,
And I dreamt of you.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The After-Mass Men

Remember those figures by the church wall 
Sculpted in after-mass conversations:
Blather-tattooed men
That hung there by their jackets;
Museums with pockets,
Pockets full of knives, pipes and matches.

Stone men:
Pre-Christians defiling Sabbaths
With their Saturday conversations.
Coats would be wrapped against them
As though they were sudden showers of hail.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Only Once Since.

in memory of my mother

When, on an April afternoon,
the countryside was bathed
in pristine  sunlight
And the fields were roaring their green
And the sky above was shifting along
with the most breath-taking speed,
I saw you on the river
And you were happiness
Complete and utter.

I recognized you
Because you would have known that was the way
To send the message.
And, there and then, both of us knew
You would never 
 send another.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Poems Are Past.

The poems are past;
goodnight, au revoir.

And life, handed over like a cheque;
good luck, all the best.

Still: an adjective for a man ?
Still ?

Think of rain, bucketing down,
sunshine caught in its strings;

that's how I think of you:
a rainstorm in June; gentle subversive .

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Angel and St Feichín

Readers of my blog will be getting familiar with St Feichín by now; I, myself, have taken a great fondness to this 7th century Irish saint. 

He’s got all the powers of a super-hero without the noise of contemporary technology around him; he’s the perfect, early Christian, Jedi master. But better than that, he had all the wonderful traits: abstinent, pleasant, charitable, powerful, emaciated, just-worded, honest, pious, rich in sense, godly, affectionate, discreet, opportune, wise, prayerful………………………………………………..( from a medieval document via a seventeenth century rewriting); yet he was wonderfully contrary, when called back to confront St Ciaran, he walked backwards so as not to look him in the face. And, guess what, he died from a plague, he himself called down.

So here's my version of his call to convert the pagans of Omey.

The Angel and St Feichín

One night a very large bird settled on the roof of the cell in which St Feichín was sleeping; this event occurred at Easdara in the present day County Sligo.

Still there at dawn, the brilliance of the early sun reflecting off its magnificent plumage caused a crowd to gather. And as the morning progressed the crowd swelled further, to such a size, in fact, that their tumult distracted the saint who was at the time in a transport brought on by the deepest meditation. And so, it was not with little annoyance that he emerged from his hut to inquire as to why such a large crowd had gathered in that spot.

When the extraordinary bird saw Feichín, it started up a jabbering that amazed all those who were there. Feichín, for his part, recognizing the bird as a gannet, and knowing that they never travelled so far inland, moved closer to listen and soon found himself conversing in a language, the like of which he had no previous knowledge.

All marvelled at the bird: its gleaming white plumage, the extent of its wings whose span was greater than the width of the cell, the fierce grey eyes which never ventured from the saint’s face, its insistent natter.

The conversation continued for two hours; an engagement between man and bird that had the mouths of all present gaping like the black caves in the hills to the south. Never once were they deflected by the milling of the crowd around them nor stop to wet their throats nor, even once, did the flow of their communication wane.

And then, quite suddenly, around noon, to the amazement of all, the gannet rose with a great pumping of its wings, followed by Feichín who rose from the ground like a leaf gathered up in a gale. Into the sky, side by side, growing smaller and smaller, eventually two black dots like stars that went out, the gannet and Feichín disappeared into the clouds travelling in a southwest direction.

All those that gathered fell to their knees and, as one voice, emitted a howling that was partly extolment of the greatness of God and Feichín, partly lamentation at the taking of their saint.

But it was that same day that Feichín landed on the brightly flowered sward of Omey, and it is since that day that the people of Omey have their faces turned to the one God.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Flight Mechanism

I found a bird
a pair of wings,
still feathered,
on an axis of miniature bones.

Only yesterday,
this anatomical array
imparted the capability of flight.

Head, legs, belly
I found it,
like a daVinci investigation,
a perfect isolation of the relevant parts.