Friday, August 29, 2014

When all the world was young

            Oh for the days of childhood, when the sun was always in the sky, ice-creams came in wafers, we skated on the pond all winter long, men whistled on the way to work, Christmases were  knee-deep in snow and the neighbours invited you in for orange squash and bikkies. Nightime was curl up cosy in front of the blazing turf fire. Oh dear, if only!               

          I am eleven;
my eyes are overflowing with light
from the spangling stream,
ears brimming with its chattering
sprays and runs,
my back lush with the magnificence 
of  Summer sun. 

I am in a field of cowslips,
the colour butter ought to be;
in the distance a bell is chiming
but I have no duties.
I’m lying on my stomach on a wooden bridge,
my eyelids shut, my fingers fishing for splinters.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Live Recording of Day-long Reading of 'Paradise Lost', Trinity College Dublin, 2012

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven”

Here is the link to the live reading of John Milton's Paradise Lost as recorded at Trinity College Dublin on the 14th of December, 2012.
It offers a good opportunity to put voices to Irish poets you’ve been reading for years. Among the many notables that took part in the day-long reading were Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Macdara Woods, Philip Coleman, Brendan Kennelly,  Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Iggy McGovern, Harry Clifton and Seamus Heaney. I read my lines from Book 9.
A commemoration of John Berryman’s Dream Songs is being planned for this October. A collection of newly penned Dream Songs is in the pipeline; I expect there’ll be an online recording of that event before the year is out.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Powerful Imagery

Francis Bacon’s Head VI can quickly inspire a poem. The claustrophobia within that cage, the tassel that suggests he has been interred with a hornet. That  grotesque scream, unmitigated by eyes. Is he caged for our protection; his protection; is it representative of a state of mind or a metaphor for his position; is it pain or aggression?
So many of his works are raw emotion; for me, no other artist hits the gut with such power. All those possibilities carry a different poem; I keep a collage of some of his and other images on our box room wall.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Wind Claps The Slates.


The wind claps the slates;

all night they are hooves running berserk,

all night the wind is inciting them;

all night.


At twenty past two and twenty past three

and twenty past four I am looking at you;

how I would love to have hooves to come

crashing through your sleep, to burst into

your solitude.


And there I would, for better or worse,

demolish the muzzled years with as much

violence as reverberates beneath iron shoes,

as  causes such a frenzy in stone that slates


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Following Rousseau

I'm not sure this does follow Rousseau, but the idea came from his painting 'The Sleeping Gypsy', it's a revised version.

                                           The desert has no

to crease the silence;
to ruffle the air;
to displace a sand grain. 

In the desert
I am
atom, planet;
as massive, as minute.

Friday, August 8, 2014

November Leaf


That maple leaf had all the colours I saw in you,

a pronouncement hung on a web of veins.

I found it, a star in the debris, at the river’s edge;

somehow it seemed right.


The greatest beauty is the fragile beauty;

it reminded me of you,

with the blue barely clinging to your irises,

your smiles precarious as November leaves.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Memory of My Father

Shaft of Sunlight

reflected off a million specks
of dust,
fed his face with lines and grace.

Soft light
paints old faces the colours of sweet
Autumn apples.
He talked on; I looked in.