Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wearing Masks

Masks are so often associated with fun; a carnival performer wears a mask, but so does the burglar, the salesman, teacher, etc....... Recognizing and understanding masks is essential for survival. This from Felos ainda serra

Everyone imagines him friendly
because his mask has that huge smile;
that wide, bright, unflinching smile.

He moves close into my face;
alone with this cardboard fiction
I feel him watching through his spy-holes.

I do not like masks, the smiling ones least;
he smells my unease;
I see that it is not a smile.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Angry Ex-capitalist

A friend and I used to argue the merits of capitalism/socialism, he being very much in favour of the former. He shot upwards quickly, but at a point in this rise (well into management) found himself not quite at home with the mindset and his career went into reverse. I never said I told you so and, of course, I could never tell him the following poem was about him.

Mind you, people have a very bad memory when it comes to hiccups in their political thinking.A communist I know completely dis-remembered that he had justified Stalin's violent methods after the Soviet system collapsed; and those that trumpeted the victory of capitalism at that time, have been very silent about the current breakdown in their runaway capitalism system.C'est la vie!

This poem was in my second collection "Turn Your Head"


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?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yes, 1971

Still one of my favourite albums, The Yes Album, from 1971. Still sounds fresh, from the soaring exciting opening of "Your's is no Disgrace" through "The Clap" (I love the way they go into it) and then onto this, "Starship Trooper".

Magnificent musicians.I prefer this album to their others. If you don't know them, have a listen on YouTube with volume up high; I think it's among the best from that time.(t'was my grandparents put me onto to them, by the way ;)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cycling in Alsace

In nicer to be in the view rather than looking it. It surprised a number of people here that we didn't rent a car, but that's what happens; you drive from beautiful town to beautiful town, passing all the time more beautiful countryside. So when we heard there were mountain bikes, Catherine and I decided: no car. In the event we have been brought to some of the more alluring 'car' destinations by our very kind and friendly neighbours here in Rosheim, not far from Strasbourg.

The countryside is charming; my abiding impression will be of red-roofed villages scattered across a quilt-work of green and yellow fields beneath the dark-wooded Vosges mountains. But I am so impressed by the freedom to roam among the corn and vine fields along the thousands of miles of chemins that are a lacework on this part of France.

How nice this would be in Ireland where many people have given up cycling, driven off the roads by speeding cars. Frankly it's time, now that so much of the population is urbanised, that country rights of way were identified and put into service for this purpose.

Anyway, that said, Alsace has impressed me; I'm trying out the white wines with enthusiasm, enjoying the Tart Flambees and warmth, sweet sunshine.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ownership of Your Work

I have been wondering what degree of control poets (writers) will have on the use of their work on the internet under the Google Book Settlement; it's something I still have to look into. In the meantime I found a site of translations of poets' works, particularly Spanish poets, and there in the middle was a translation of one of my own.Chuffed and all as I was to be included, surely it's only reasonable to consult authors; surely that level of understanding can exist at least between lovers of poetry.

Anyway this is the poem under copyright to myself and the Dedalus Press; it was in "Sunfire"

The baby in the tree

The baby in the tree
is screaming.

High above the pathway
near the black tips
of the sycamore branches
he is gaping,
white membraned luminous.

How did he get there?

He blew there in the wind;
it took him
like a flag from his cot
till he was stretched
across the boughs
like the wings of a bat.

And who sees him?

I do;
all his hopeless writhing,
too high for the passerby.
And his screams:
too high,
too high for the passerby.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Book Launching - Full Details

Keep the afternoon of Sunday 23rd August free for a visit to the Botanic Gardens. After a few hours exploring, dawdling and drinking in sunshine come to the Lecture Theatre in the Visitors’ Centre for music by well known flautist and harpist, Ellen Cranitch and Geraldine O’Doherty respectively,(apart from her work as musician, Ellen will be familiar to many as presenter of “Grace Notes” on Lyric FM); introduction by myself and poetry reading from her new collection by Mary Melvin Geoghegan. The collection is called “When They Come Home” and is published by Summer Palace Press.

The event begins at 3.30pm, is free and is a perfect way to cap a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


There are a small number of songs that I get a longing to hear now and then. The reasons: to sharpen a memory, or feel again what it was like in a particular place or to be with a particular person, or to remember a love. Sometimes they stir feelings that help in writing, evoke a sadness or a particular time, maybe they are just beautiful.

I would include among these, “The First Time Ever I saw Your Face” (Roberta Flack), “America” (Simon and Garfunkel); I think I’ll stop, I’m beginning to notice that there’s a time element here I didn’t want to get into.

Anyway tonight, travelling back to Dublin through counties Fermanagh and Cavan, all silhouettes and quiet, and lit by a full moon at midnight; I felt like listening to Caetano Veloso’s “Cucurrucucu Paloma”. It is a treasure you unwrap very very seldom, something precious, you savor it, then put it safely away.

If you don't know it already, do yourself a favour and watch this YouTube video:

And for good measure you can see Roberta Flack at Lovely.