Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Winter Morning Roscommon

Lost in the city is the sense of seasons changing. Snowdrops, daffodils,stands of primroses,lambs,that early summer oppulent growth in hedgerows, hay in the fields,lupins in our garden, swallows wheeling. Later in the year, spiders' webs silvery in the sunlight,fading leaves,full orchards; and late Autumn ground fogs transforming shrubery into shadowy shifty figures. Then of course there are the wonderfully bright, crisp blue, frosty days of winter.

Suddenly sycamore branches
were fissures in the porcelain sky,

question marks hung like apparitions
above cows at a barbed wire fence,

rusted tins and abandoned nests
were the exposed secrets of blackberry bushes,

white grass stood
stiffer than cats' whiskers,

birdsong spilled down
from God knows where;

and the earth beneath my feet,
was more magnificent than all the palaces

that ever sparkled in my sleep.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

With You

There is a day in every relationship, a make or break day. If 'break' there is no reclaimation;those days make sore memories.

With You

The fields, green with snow
under an apple blue sky;

you, briming
winter's brightness,

turning cartwheels;
your whole body grinning.

The silver trees of our breathing
in full flower;

my golden happiness
in being with you

till the shafts of shadow
turned purple at sunset;

and our hours together
turned colourless at parting.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Capitalism: The System That Works...(for us)

Nice to live in Western Europe or Northern America. Capitalism:our system, the clean system that works. Well, as an Irishman, a system that was working until 2007ish. But still it’s neat, and right now, it’s being fixed, isn’t it.

And if there is a hiccup somewhere on the planet, as in some country pulls against it, then following civilised procedures akin to following a doctor's prescription, planes are sent in meting out corrective measures; a clean process too: no bloody hands.(That beautiful and very laudable objective 'protect American interests wherever....' comes to mind.)

Why is it so clean for us in the West? For just one example, take a look at these videos:

Mind you it’s not just Nigerians that bear the brunt of oil company activities aided and abetted by the authorities, even here in Ireland there are examples of that misuse of power. See the excellent film, “The Pipe”, by following the link http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-pipe/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1

Of course this is Western Europe, so it’s a lot cleaner.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Moment Certified By Lovers.

It's a certifiable moment
a punch-drunk second
a pulse's high tide.

A dog eats grass
a water drop shivers
a barrel fills to its brim
an apple falls
a body drifts
a face buckles
a lover screams.

At the tip of an orgasm
passion powders;
the creek turns to dust.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Life`s Memories

Trains: straining for that last fleeting glimpse; phonecalls: mis-understandings, badly chosen words; youthful infatuations remembered in amber glow. Sadnesses. A ship pulling away with a loved one on board, that wave shrinking into a dot; an old pop song recasting a long lost memory.


One afternoon, a long time after, I call her.
I hear the phone’s ring
streaming through the air
of her sitting room;

flow over her writing desk:
wallets of holiday photos,
saucer of earrings,
one broken watch;

full sail across her carpet,
leaving behind
the mess of Sunday papers,
empty wine bottle, wreckage on the couch;

out into the hall,
above floor-boards,
raincoat on the banister,
umbrella fallen onto the first step;

to the landing,
boxes of books,
that 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.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Taste of Emptiness

I arrived in Dublin in 1973, having joined the Bank of Ireland, and was training in the Head Office in Baggot Street. Away from home, it was the first time in my life I was not answerable to someone for how I spent my time; no one questioning where I was, or who I was spending time with. Strange after all those years,it felt wrong; there seemed to be too much space; there was a hollow feeling to it.

I think that hollow is the one that sometimes bringing loneliness, gets filled with drinking. Of course, it could also be filled with golf or dancing or..or..., but pubs are so accessible and they promise company or the illusion of company.I was at a loose end and I did find it lonely.This memory has very little to do with the poem Passage, but the "space, to wander in" brought it back - a disorientated state of mind.


We were lovers;
now I'm off,
you're packed away;
you folded up small.

So with curving spine
and arms belting knees
tight under chin, I roll on;
a wheel from the accident.

Ahead there is space,
to wander in,
to kick up dust;
space where fires won't burn.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Communion Girls.

Small white spinning tops;

tinkered with children

parade affectation,

grotesque display

of competing Hail Marys.

On May 25th

doll darlings

agitate for cash;

let us pray.

“Let us pray

for long white dresses,

matching gloves,

patent shoes and handbags.”

“Dear Baby Jesus

let there be sun;

may it twinkle and shine

on our little one.”

Exploiting Fears For Profit

So much attention paid nowadays to the individual’s right to self-respect and dignity. And yet the incessant bombardment of people to be what they are not.

There's nothing new in this post, except I've never before quite considered the extent to which women must alter themselves cosmeticly to meet the expectations put on them socially.

So they must colour their faces, their hair; tan their skin, paint their nails, enhance their breasts (surgically if needs be),remove old skin, remove wrinkles or other signs of (horror) age, slim to a shape totally unnatural, remove body hair, add lashes, nails, coloured lenses even. In short, change almost every visible aspect of their bodies. Deoderise, then add perfume; moisturise; forgot to mention remove any blemish however small. All done; no, higher heels, change height (shape too).

Then clothing: slimming, appropriate colours, up to date, classy, sexy, original, not too original or you’ll look like an oddity. And of course it would help if you had more money; a lot more.

How long will governments continue to allow money-makers undermine the basic right of an individual to be content in his/her own skin?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

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.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

History Recorded and Available Online

Amazing what's preserved and easily available online.Youtube is of course an amazing resource for finding just about anything; how about the

oldest written music, only 1400BC

First Photograph 1826 Nicéphore Niépce; view from his upstairs window

Voice Recordings: Florence Nightingale 1890

Edison, Houdini, Yeats, Ernest Shackleton,Conan Doyle and others


Robert Browning, 1889, recites 'How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix'.

Film: Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, 1896 and a number of other historic film clips at

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Miners Town

"Carry slack" she says
to the spires of smoke
stealing away from Miners Town
where every child is born
to carry a bucket.

In the evening the little men
will gather below the street
where the pit-head eyebrows meet
so when their fathers come,
they'll parade nearby;
smaller jackets just.

A jet shape of geese
passes through the smoke columns;
for a moment she travels too
but then they leave her,
disappearing each year
over the same roof-top.

"Carry slack," she repeats
into the dog's ear of a kitchen door,
and in the shortened evening
she too unfurls a stalk of smoke
that'll mark her place
in the forest above Miners Town.