Monday, June 30, 2014

The Rain Was Falling.

Standing at the kitchen door,
trying to pick out
individual droplets landing
like tiny footfalls on the concrete. 

How slight  our step in this world;
among all those falling droplets,
I completely missed your footsteps


Thursday, June 26, 2014




At half six I turn on the news to see how the war is going.
Tracers are arcing down into the city;

the reporter keeps looking over his shoulder.


Shoes off, I stretch out,
rest my feet on the coffee table.

Sunday, June 22, 2014



Evening light dozed on
his unwashed dishes;
years' old dust collected behind
hanging china plates;
the Sacred Heart looked on,
as ever,
smoked and sagging.

His face, at the table,
jerked unaccountably;
sometimes he choked on his tongue.
The mist of his young face
had cleared completely;
his smile was in a biscuit box
with his wedding photographs, letters
and the pieces of a broken pocket watch.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The effectiveness of simple

Picking up on the word 'simple' in the first line, the poem remains simple, and is  supremely effective for that. 
Suicide in the Trenches
by Siegfried Sassoon

I knew a simple soldier boy
 Who grinned at life in empty joy,
 Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
 And whistled early with the lark. 

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
 With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
 He put a bullet through his brain.
 No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
 Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
 Sneak home and pray you'll never know
 The hell where youth and laughter go.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Bleached, bone-dry,
wind-scalded wood;
my spindled torso
weathered clean,
my curlicued roots
clamped in the earth.
But Spring’s moist eyes
defied my fingers,
imagining freedom,
conspired with soil;
I grew round, bright
and brazen.



Monday, June 9, 2014

A carrier bag

A carrier bag, caught in a sycamore tree, heaved and pulled, strained itself skinny, thrashed to escape. Its mouth, a terrorized rip, was lightening in the branches.

A carrier bag gulped itself grotesque in the squall on the Lower Kimmage Road. In convulsion,  its face inflated to featurelessness.

A carrier bag flew by. I saw nothing but hands wringing.


          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.





Thursday, June 5, 2014

How to say I love you

A red, red rose
by Robbie Burns

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
 That’s newly sprung in June;
 O my Luve's like the melodie
 That’s sweetly play'd in tune.

 As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
 So deep in luve am I:
 And I will luve thee still, my dear,
 Till a’ the seas gang dry: 

 Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
 And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
 I will luve thee still, my dear,
 While the sands o’ life shall run. 

 And fare thee well, my only Luve
 And fare thee well, a while!
 And I will come again, my Luve,
 Tho’ it were ten thousand mile. 

             It would be near impossible to express love more beautifully or more movingly than Burns’ second and third stanzas. Read them out loud and slowly. Better still sing them. This version with Eddi Reader and Alan Kelly is just gorgeous. What a stunning voice she has, and his playing is exquisite.
             I went to see them and the rest of the band some months back. They put on a fantastic show, one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve ever been to. So, what I'm saying is, if you get the chance........................Of course, I should point out that Alan Kelly is a Roscommon man.