Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The brink

Once the wrong word said, I’m gone crazy ─
my smile snapped;
her ribbons & wheel & steel in my head whirring,
a sick spinning,
nauseous flight. 

She sets off explosions; no punches spared,
nor tanks nor guns; pulls no punches.
Nor when I stop
is she stopped,
but pistons and steam chunnelling
to distraction.

 If peace is an option, I don’t think she’ll
take it,
but lobbing spanners in,
ignition flaming,
she likes to go to the brink;
like brinking is sex.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Spiritual Growth

Women, meat, all jaws, Hughie feared;
Church-fed fear.
Pruned Hughie rattling inside himself,
no rattling outside,
but bloated sensationless, bone-dry tinder.

All pray: feed the soul; Hughie feeds the soul
 ‘til his soul is ballooning  out of his body,
 and he giving thanks for spiritual growth.

Concrete-heavy Hughie, all aching,
walking the earth like a space thing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Old Houses, Children Gone

A Stranger In The Townland.

In Autumn the farmhouse
with the sun-folded field beneath its chin,
traps the daylight in its spectacles,
then flashes it away.

A swing hangs among the orchard's arthritic trees
without stirring;
without remembering
a frantic liveliness now reduced
to the occasional commotion of a falling fruit.

Once songs of apples filled the farmhouse;
but the children became photographs,
the dust settled on their frames
and soon Autumns were flying uncontrollably by.
Today, between its curiosities, a bluebottle drones.

Now that the conversation with the hillside
is ended, the farmhouse
with the sycamore stole
has become an eccentric;
a stranger in the townland.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pre-digital childhood

Remembering a pre-digital childhood; the, now, quaint pleasures of Autumn: orchards weighed down with ripe apples........ ripe for robbing, berries and damsons ready for picking. This was one of my first poems, I haven't seen it in a  long time.

   Held Apple High.


There's a place for me
up among the branches
of an ivy-draped lord.

golden treasures mixed
with stars of leaves.

There, inside the old elbow,
with Autumn breezes
close by shoulder,

quiet as an owl
I'd love to be.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

from Above Ground, Below Ground

The  series of  poems for my collaboration with artist Elaine Leigh, Above Ground Below Ground, is getting its  final brush up.

This poem refers to the spookiness of the clusters of trees that often grow  around stone circles; even now the old superstitions weigh on those who would trespass after dark.

Inside the trees
is another place: unlit, uncharted.
At night even braggers refuse to enter
those grotesque tunnels.

At night boulders walk,
boughs flex their biceps;
high up, screeching necks
toss slicks of hair;

even the summer wind
squeals through like a hunted pig.
After dark  the trees stir cauldrons
of brains and guts.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Dream Song.....Sort of

A number of years ago, I knew a man who drank too much, aged very rapidly, and died prematurely. It  was suggested to me that it all resulted from his coping very poorly with aging, and the loss of his active sexual life.

A Dream Song

Hughie’s bathroom mirror has informed him
that young women are no longer prospects,
except going the financial route. 

Cognizant of that barren future, he considers his options:
a.       Pubs (without bouncers)
b.      Theatre
c.       Restaurant
d.      Sky Sports
e.    Ballroom Dancing

In e, he recognizes suicidal desperation:
a suicide he’ll achieve most painlessly
by spending long hours in a.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Opening minds

A hugely inspirational talk by Sir Ken Robinson on an form of education that would elicit the very best from our children. Listen for 6 minutes, and allow yourself, (like me), to be utterly convinced. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Getting to hell away

It's not often I'd feel happy that I got a poem the way it was intended; I was pleased with this. It gets what I wanted: a mean spirited, finger to the ex-lover ( "you folded up small"), vengeful little poem. It doesn't refer to anyone in my life, I hasten to add.

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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Readings of Dream Songs and Competition News

There will be a reading from the new anthology of dream songs, Berryman’s Fate: A Centenary Celebration, edited by Philip Coleman and published by Arlen House, on Wednesday 24 September at 6.30pm in the Irish Writers’ Centre. The anthology presents dream songs by a host of well-known contemporary poets; it will be very interesting to see the varying approaches to Berryman's innovative format (if you can call it a format). 
It will be formally launched in October at two Berryman centenary conferences in TCD and in Minneapolis. Other North American and UK launches are being planned.
Some competition news:
Ballymaloe International Poetry Award 2014 (closing date 312st Dec): http://www.themothmagazine.com/a1-page.asp?ID=5858&page=10 
Caterpillar Poetry Award (best poem for children, closing 31st March): http://www.thecaterpillarmagazine.com/a1-page.asp?ID=7253&page=12

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A death

Struggling for each breath

- mouthfuls of air for god’s sake -,

I said “stop working so hard;

take it easy, Mam”



yet still forced to work;

take it easy.

take it easy.


Her hand, in mine, slackened;

she took it easy,

her eyes fell to the side.

Now I  ask, did I speed her on her way?