Sunday, April 28, 2013

Playing Poetry

I nearly missed it. Elaine asked me to send her this link as an example for her students of poetry in everyday life. And sure enough, it is poetry in everyday life except it's not exactly everyday life, as you'll see.

Ray Hudson who knows a thing or two about hyperbole, inspired by Messi's brilliance, surpasses his previous best with this hilarious outburst last night.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Now my father's life
is breathing.
Heavy work. 

He has already slipped away
to be alone
while we outside
mark every breath
like lap timers.
Now come the spaces:
a breath
is an isolated thing. 

Finally one breath
arrives alone. 

I feel a soul has left,
but just then
I see, so clearly,
it was hope
that slipped out of the room.
(from Sunfire)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A fundamental question

Jesus, don’t you remember thorns,  

flails and blood,
the weight of wood,
thirst and nails,
the jolt of your cross into the earth? 

Lord, why is it still this way?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Two poems from Turn Your Head

These two poems are from Tuol Sleng Still, a series of poems relating to the death camp, Tuol Sleng, run by the Khmer Rouge in Phnomh Penh during the seventies. Still is for the photographs taken of inmates before and after their deaths (infants and youngsters included) and it's for 'now',our tacit acceptance of torture and death that seems undimmed no matter how civilised we imagine ourselves to be.

And my child? 
He sleeps with barely more than birth’s darkness in his head.
I watch his famine coming as surely as a train;
but make no mistake, if you see fear, it is fear of the void
at the centre of my child’s screams for food.
All else is contempt for men who cultivate dreams
where his will never grow.


Looking away from the camera, I see
two soldiers hacking a prisoner’s legs
till he’s on his knees; the next is waiting
for his shins to explode into pain.
Ten-year olds screaming instructions,
angel-faces with AK-47’s;
childhoods manured in hatred
leaning against our horizon.

In twelve hours I've seen so much
I'm staring through it.
A lifetime scratches down that glass;
my mind is overrun with atrocities.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sign at London Tube Station

I think I've mentioned it before: many years ago a woman dropped dead
immediately in front of me, walking down Oxford Street. She looked like a
countrywoman up for the day, formal looking, standing for a photograph
with pink coat and handbag; only she was horizontal.
The same Summer I came upon this sign:

           A male person jumped

            in front of a train

            last Wednesday evening

            around 7.00 pm. Information

            please at tube station.

Why are these still in my head, these two deaths?

I suppose it’s the tragedy of cities; two colossal events that are nothing
among the city’s millions.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

InRathmines Information Day

Rathmines Community Clubs n Soc's Information Day has been re-named the InRathmines Information Day and will take place on April 27th, 12 noon - 5pm in the Swan Centre.

Organizations, clubs, societies and volunteering bodies active in the area will be on hand to give information about their activities and services, and enrol new members or volunteers. With live entertainment also on the programme, it's definitely worth a visit.

InRathmines is the brand name for a number of new sites including blog, facebook, twitter and website which set out to support all that's moving and stirring in Rathmines. Check out and the blog which has a number of interesting articles on people with Rathmines associations including articles on Rex Ingram, Francis Sheehy Skeffington and an interview with comedian Kevin McAleer.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Near Achill Sound


I remember an old man

with pipe and stick,

sitting on a kitchen chair

beside a rick of turf

in a field

before his house,

mountains in the background.

It was a Summer’s day;

a tress of smoke

rose from his pipe

into a cloudless sky.

That was a long time ago.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

When democracy isn't

I have been around long enough to recognize obfuscation, disingenuousness and hollowness in the speeches and pronouncements of almost all our leading politicians. Long enough to recognize the trademark complacency, arrogance and condescension. And long enough to see how the exercise of party politics polishes off the edges that once promised something fresh or different.  

It appears that we are stuck with the system, but do we have to be stuck with the same parties? Where do you turn when you run out of choices?

 It’s just musical chairs isn’t it. The recent rise (from the ashes) of Fianna Fail is a case in point. This is the party that wedged us into today’s predicament through mismanagement, with leaders who lined their own pockets and who, through carefully honed “common touch”, betrayed their own roots. 

The Labour Party, laughably misnamed now, got it in the neck at the recent by-election; they are now almost more Fine Gael than Fine Gael themselves. (By the by, I heard Pat Rabbitte recently say in relation to another jurisdiction on how politicians might, as a matter of course, be less than honest in the lead up to an election; he and the interviewer missed the irony). But we’ve seen them rise and fall before. 

Fine Gael: Fianna Fail without a sense of humour; I’ve seen all the signs of smugness and arrogance in this government. Their very choice of ministers delared they were not interested in a new approach.  As for Sinn Féin, they are distrusted by too many voters to be a viable alternative for a while to come. 

But surely there is a big enough number of  TDs between all these parties who, sharing the interests of the people, would leave these broken organisations to found a party big enough and principled enough to provide a worthy, viable choice for the Irish electorate?