Friday, October 31, 2014

Street Man

frost-forged face.
tarn-deep eyes. 
bog-cotton hair.
hail-shower man.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Loughcrew Cairns covered in snow Loughcrew, Co Meath
While Newgrange understandably draws  thousands of tourists from Dublin, I would highly recommend a one-day circuit that many visitors might not have heard too much about.
For a great mix of archaeology, history, scenic beauty and a little bit of magic too, I would suggest heading to Trim, to see the castle and take the wonderfully presented river walk; onward to Fore, a real hidden gem in the Irish countryside; come  back via Loughcrew, and if there's still light in the day, have a stroll up the Hill of Tara.
The Cairns at Sliabh na Caillí (Loughcrew)

It was weather that carried the Cailleach onto the hills,
a swirl of graphite anger from above the plains of Westmeath. 

Once over the summit of Carnbane West, she opened her apron to the earth
and all about resounded to the tumbling of tipped boulders; 

then again at Carnbane East and Sliabh Rua too. At the fourth hill,
she turned a moment towards me, and as her glance flashed she slipped. 

I saw brilliant trails from the whites of her eyes as she plummeted;
the instant she hit earth, her body was a smouldering oak.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chomsky at the U.N.

If political systems weren't, somehow, above the law; there would be a lot of politicians completing their circles in prison yards.

Noam Chomsky explains clearly how the U.S. breaks its own laws openly and repeatedly;  and, well, a lot of people die. It's the old story, if you commit crimes on a large enough scale, there's no sanction.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Linda Tirado

So here we are. “The richest one percent of the world’s population now controls 48.2 percent of global wealth, up from 46 percent last year, according to the most recent global wealth report issued by Credit Suisse, the Swiss-based financial services company.” Apparently, if this level of growth continues the 1% will own all the wealth in 23 years.
So here we are, with our burgeoning knowledge and education, declarations of human rights, constitutions, our politicians working assiduously, day and night, for the common good. This, along with walking on the moon and splitting the atom, is our achievement.
How extraordinary it is that we have underachieved to such a spectacular extent.
Listening to an interview on radio today, I was highly impressed with Linda Tirado’s clear-sighted analysis of the United States’ treatment of its poor (an analysis that applies universally, I would say).  Having direct experience of what she’s talking about, she cut quickly through shit to the reality, and with deft articulateness swept away common perceptions of the comfortable middle-classes (myself included). There was nothing new in what she said, but her clarity made me stop; I will have to reassess my own perceptions of those poorer than myself, and it is well past time for governments to intercede for the impossible situations the impoverished find themselves in.  

Today’s interview on ‘The Marian Finucane Show’ on RTE Radio 1:!rii=9%3A20667519%3A70%3A18%2D10%2D2014%3A

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Final Breath

Final Breath

      in memory of  Pearse Hutchinson

In that last moment your breath halted in your mouth;
the air teetered on  your tongue; on last taste perhaps.

Death flew across the room, your eyes followed it,
leaving us, exiting through then walls.

Vivaldi played on, 
emerged from behind your troubled breathing.

For that few moments,
baroque splendour was your breath condensing around us.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

She Leaves


She leaves
a country of mountain tops,
pencil points in nothing
and crosses on current arrows
to where the sun shines on a space.

look over the rails,
cheering ferries on the sea

of her worries  ̶̶̶
for that is where she bobs  ̶
among all the sparklets
on the sea-top.
And fears
scratch their fingernails
down the glass

she has left;
not left,
not left.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reading, but not seeing

The work showed five grey pigeons holding up signs including one stating 'go back to Africa' towards a more colourful migratory swallow.

This Banksy mural was in the news this week after the local council at Clacton-on-Sea in Essex had it removed because of  “offensive and racist remarks”.
(Report found on ).
If I was Banksy I would be bewildered; obviously any satirical comment not spelled out, (literally), needs accompanying notes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Some tips for writing poetry

I have amassed a sizable collection of notes and files from various workshops/creative writing classes I've given. Here are five tips for people new to writing poetry. 
1. Be careful of lines you really like in your poems. If they appear to be outstanding, there’s a real possibility they do stand out too strongly in the poem.

2. One lazy line/word is enough to ruin a whole poem.

3. Speak your lines out loud to test the rhythm and find those clumsy-sounding words.

4. Keep all drafts of poems; constant reworking can result in losing your way, or, on the plus side, you may find you are developing a different poem altogether

5. Check out lines/phrases from unsuccessful poems. They can often be recombined in ways that  are fresh and successful.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Death and the Student

My grandmother and I were  the best of friends. However when her final illness dragged on, I, a student at the time, didn't have the time to spend with her. I think it's not unusual for young people at that age to be too self-centred, but that selfishness has rankled ever since.

Before the End

The bedside lamp shone
in the pool of her eye;
it made her teeth translucent,
runnelled her face.

Daylight and I were reluctant visitors;
the  room smelling of trapped breath,
sickness and decay made me anxious
that I might inhale her disease;

and all I loved gone,
all dwindled down to duty.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Private Companies Looking After Us?

I clearly remember the politicians stating that speed cameras would be located at accident-prone locations on the roads; their function being to minimise fatalities due to road accidents. I often pass one of these vans parked at a location where there is no obvious purpose other than making money.

How long will it be before Irish Water is putting profit before its raison d'etre of preventing wastage of water?