Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back in the Day, when Small Towns were Pure

What is Club 81 ?

Ba bloody news’s whaw tis.
We doan wan dah kine ting rown here
I’m tellen ya dah.................

What goes on there ?

I’ll telya wha’s goin on.
Dey cum owha dat place ah all hours,
day’r night, min.........an wimin.
I seen em owha dat place
ahafa leven of a Sunda mornin.

But what do they do in there?

Shure howd I know wha dey'd be ah..........
buh dey can fine sumwhar else fer doin it;
we doan wan dat kine rown here.
Anya can tellum I sed dah eswell.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Civic Responsibility

I wonder if there's a greater need than we acknowledge for civic responsibility to be inculcated in our children. I remember my grand aunt in her late eighties or early nineties saying after taking a fall, she was left sitting on the kerb in the middle of O'Connell St. This poem brushes up against the same issue.

On The Street.

He has her against the railings.

Holding his mouth up to her face
like a gun-barrel

he bawls;
words that burst clean into my sitting-room.

His fist, swinging in a small arc,
makes a soft sound of her cheek.

with my marmalade coals curled up like a cat,

I ask myself what I should do,
taking till they've gone to reach no decision.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rag Trees and Holy Wells

St Kieran's Holy Well, Kilcar, Co Donegal

Holy wells and rag trees, the exotic places of the Irish countryside, have long ago joined the list of endangered species. Disappearing yearly under bulldozers or through abandonment, one day they will be irretrievably gone and yet another colour will have been lost from the rainbow of Irish culture.

St Patrick's Holy Well, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Moon and Me

I can completely understand why the moon is associated with madness. Watching it sail through the countryside of clouds, it becomes mesmeric and then it crashes out onto open desert to drift with its non-plussed face through nothingness with no apparent destination all through the night. And then there’s its strange enamel light, a weird brightness, the negative of day.
The whole effect is to bring you into yourself, to travel with it, through your own bleak wastelands. It always makes me introspective and catches me somewhere between it’s otherworldly beauty and a feeling of loneliness and loss. (The fact that cloudy conditions in Ireland makes the moon’s light scarcer and therefore more precious adds to the feelings)

Trapped between want and need;
desire brushing my face
like some woman’s hair.

Looking for comfort;
finding only a drizzle of muscles
and outside

the moon
filling the world with longing
and hopeless space.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


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.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Poetic Imagery in Art

The photographs pinned up in Francis Bacon’s studio re-emerged in some form in his paintings, The grotesque mouth in the still from the Battleship Potemkin (above) appeared more than once.

It helps in poetry to have images all around, to know the artists and images that will inspire. For me it’s Bacon, Hopper,Goya, Bosch among others. Among Irish artists, Le Brocquy, and Martin Gail’s work in particular inspires me. In this way, I believe that the process of writing poetry, in my case at least, is very similar to that of painting.

In Klimt’s “The Kiss”, the splendour of the enwrapping mantle expresses all that needs to be expressed about their love, it is so marvellously poetic. Andrew Wyeth, an artist I enjoy very much : his knowledge of countryside in his rendering of colour and textures is special. I find his eye for the poetic in rural settings moves me. In Snow Hill, he has his past subjects dance in a space
cleared by the snow’s whiteness that leaves plenty of room for poetic musings.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Laughter Yoga in Dublin

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." proverb

Quick mention of a free Laughter Yoga session at Rathmines College, Town Hall, Rathmines on 18th September at 2.30pm.Bring yoga mat or towel. Check out link for Laughter Yoga Dublin in links column.

Caught, Tangled in Old Years.

Caught; tangled in old years
young man;
the brambles have made you
delicately eccentric.
Your ears are closed
but to the berries,
eyes fixed to where the winds
have bent them.
You are like a hawthorn above the sea;
you seem to have frozen
at the very moment you were jumping clear.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Can't Sing

Can’t sing but good with languages and accents: I don’t believe it, I think it comes down to teaching methods. And there is a singing style to suit everyone, even if it is Professor Higgin’s “Why can’t a woman be more like a man.” I think children deserve the search for that style; being able to join in a sing-song and sing your own piece is a great confidence builder and for that reason gives even more pleasure.


When the class was built up like an orchestra
my child was found to be hammering at the scaffolding.
Assaulted by such discord, the teacher
hit this gong over and over and sent her
down to the caverns to be a subterranean scaffolder forever.

There she could hammer alone, alone with her notes.
And it was there she heard other choirs;
choirs of discarded pipes singing in their hollows
bass notes for nether world shafts.