Wednesday, October 4, 2023

I Am


Silence as in a fish tank;

life laps to the walls

but in here almost tangible;

in this unstirred air.

In the stained glass gloaming

of this cathedral,

conscious of my own presence;

senses magnified.

Size, minute

inside this architecture,

colossal within my own frame

as standing beneath the stars;

I am

infinitesimal but integral.

Friday, September 29, 2023

at the table


Sitting at the table,

it set

but no one else there.

Your eyes, too,


or lost perhaps.

How small you look;

and still

how far you may see.

Sunday, September 24, 2023



When the sea comes,

we will be ready

to turn from this lighted shore,

face the beacon perch,

draw ourselves into it

hauling ourselvbes along the string of pearls

that passes 

to where the wind choirs rehearse.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Culture Night Poetry Reading in Ballyshannon

Readers of this blog tend to be from foreign parts, but should there happen to be anyone from the vicinity of south Donegal looking in, you may be interested to know that Local Hands in Ballyshannon is hosting  an evening of literary readings with interspesed music this friday evening, Culture Night, Fri 22nd. The event goes from 5pm to 8pm and features local poets and musicians; I expect to be reading in or around 6pm. Other readers include Olive Travers, Ted Hall, Roisín Lee, John and James McIntyre and members of Pen2Paper Writers Group from Donegal town. 

Local Hands, which conveniently has my books for sale, will have information on their facebook page:


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Winter Trees


by Caspar David Friedrich 

Winter trees like old shipwrecks

sailed the winds;

hold those memories

close as the grain in their timbers.

Now defunct, the tips of their branches

scratch at the sky;

they stand, shaped to memory,


Monday, September 18, 2023



They had the genes,

they could embed them:

a dog’s hearing,

a cat’s dim-light vision,

dolphin’s echolocation;

they called them superpowers,

marketed them aggressively:


They never admitted

that the brain cannot handle the sensitivity.

They never declared

test cases driven to madness,

sleep having become impossible,

nerves shattered, but advertised:

navigation skills of homing pigeons coming,


Thursday, September 14, 2023

But for Two Millimetres of Plastic.


A stone, a deadly bullet, flashed

from the wheel of a lorry

into the visor of my helmet,

driving it hard onto my nose.

Speeding to Tipperary on motorbike;

it would have smashed my face;

the bike, careering, would have dragged

my body; legs and arms breaking

in impossible angles,

jacket ribboning, a grotesque melange

of cloth and blood-sopped flesh.

By that thickness or the grace of the Gods,

I am the Michael I take for granted;

by such margins, we presume.

Monday, September 11, 2023



Strange to say, those memories are barely more than water now;

fluid, indistinct, and always rushing away from me;

that they were ever more is immaterial, I am not who I was.

I do, of course, acknowledge that you have been part of that change,

and for the good, I have not forgotten your part, and I am thankful.

But I have difficulty remembering you. Your face refuses to settle,

more or less as water spills, it refuses to fix in my mind;

your voice comes and goes, otherworldly and faint, like a signal on the shortwave.

More strikingly though, your spirit has become remote from me;

not by choice,  but with the passing of time, the mountain of featureless days

that I’ve kicked up behind me, the dust of accumulated years between us;

distance has anaesthetised me;  I no longer remember the feeling of you being here.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Over the Line


Picking plums from the branches of the clouds,

berries from the blue of the sky.

Dew-jewelled blades of grass doused my feet

while fir cones listened to my every step;

a tree of apples blushed and lit the field;

I shook hands with the leaves of a thousand trees.



The wind combing the grass silver,

tossing the heather;

the humours of the sky,

scowls and laughter,

tracing the mountainside’s contours,

a hunt at full gallop

through the gap.

The duns and greens, bright yellows

flitting light and shade,

carrying the atlas of the sky

over the gushing streams,

the ravines, the bracken meadows;

the exhilaration, fluid mosaic,

Donegal to Ballybofey.

Friday, September 1, 2023



I draw the music from my arm,

it expands like an opening wing;

I extend what I cannot speak

nor hand over,

an iridescence of sound

that all but aches to be free.

When there is no way to convey

the beauty that is within you,

loneliness is the sentence.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Should I write a poem about you


Should I write a poem about you;


revealing like a bathing suit

or a big coat

to keep you hidden

or warm.

Would you even like it,

my written portrait;

I stray into Francis Bacon mode.

Perhaps leave those bones unstirred;

maybe I should write about hands,

how they colour in Winter weather.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023




Nice to feel the sun on my back,

to idle the whole day through;

watch girls passing along the beach,

thier beautiful tanned bodies.

Nice too, the sounds of the seaside:

a speed-boat buzzing out on the water,

the tide washing onto the strand,

the screaming children.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Storm ( edited version)


Spent all evening alone on the strand

watching a storm’s elbows resting on the horizon,

but now its shoulders are rising.

Once, God’s eye was the centre of every storm;

I feared the Himalayan masses of His charcoal-coloured anger;

they throw the earth to its knees.

The sea, wearing requiem black, is a writhing mass,

the birds have all disappeared down a hole

and the cattle in the fields are humming nervously to themselves.

I can feel a stinging in the molecules of the air 

as the clouds roll in on the wheels of their blue undersides,

coming, rumbling over distant rocks, coming.

I must hurry, lock myself away, shiny bright conductor that I am.

I must dig myself a burrow;

hide myself from the war-making God of the sky.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023




Stretches her arm back to touch him,

his bed-warmed skin;

expecting the familiar response,

his finger down her backbone.

Touching marble; taut, cold;

her brain struggling to climb

to her hands discovery;

and turn; can she?


It was a morning she knew might come

but the indifference of the stone shocked her;

turn; there is never a choice;

mercifully, his eyes were shut.