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Showing posts from February, 2012

A Note to Eamon

It doesn’t get much better than what we had,
My friend.
Perfection cannot be manufactured,
But when we were all put together
The combination was perfect.
Together we made music.
Music, the food of the soul.
Together we made that.
We did with so little effort
What has evaded so many
Great people throughout the years:
We made people, many people, happy.
Whatever may happen,
Always remember that we were great.
We were great friends.
We were great entertainers.
We had our own little great escapes.
We won our own great little victories.
Neither of us really got the girl,
But we (for a while) were on top of the world.
Never forget those three weeks.
Never forget the things we did.
Because,
My friend,
It doesn’t get much better than what we had.

Second Last Sunday in June (up at the Castle)

Above them all he sat,
A special part of the group, but at the same time
Completely separate, standing out.
They were his, he was theirs.
He could, literally, make them sing to his tune
As he sat up high
On his very own seat
And played the music he enjoyed so much
Because he knew they loved it too.
He was at once both king and minstrel.
He looked down over them and the island,
His people and his island,
From his high seat.
They, comfortable together as one audience,
Looked up to him and
They saw him as their entertainer,
And he entertained with majesty.
All smiled. All sang. All were enraptured,
Under his spell just as he was under theirs.

All doubts, all fears, all cares
Were melted by the June sun
And carried away on the soft sweet summer’s sea breeze.
And then he sang too, from up on
His little perch, his piece of rock, his high throne.
He gave them words, and they gave him back a chorus.
They were united by the music, the magic,
As the breeze glided along the un-cut grass
And the sun gilded the sea, the r…

A Note to Kelsey

They all said I’d miss you
After we went home.
But when they said I’d miss you,
Was it a prophecy or a curse?
Did they know that three years on I’d
Still pause every day to think about you
And our short, wonderful time together?
In the castle, the abandoned house,
The roads and pathways of the island.
I’ve gone back there, and back again,
But you have not.
We both did have our fun, for a while,
Dancing, singing, standing in the dark room
While the others laughed, whistled, called to us,
And then came in to follow out lead.
I never did tell you that my question
Was meant, not for you, but for
Another girl, the one who sat beside you
In detention that strange night.
We were a perfect accident.
Accidentally, we were perfect.
When we both closed our eyes and the
World disappeared around us,
When the aurora exploded in waves
Behind my closed eyes and an unknown electricity
Shook me to my very foundations,
When dark places became beautiful,
You were there, kissing me back.
I could ask you stupid questions and
You coul…

Not Really Lonely

I have nobody to whom I can send
Messages, or whom I can ask to meet
With me for a few hours at the weekend.
I have no secret, hidden or discreet
Relationships with any local girls,
Or a long-distance lover somewhere else.
Just solitary games, musings with words,
Working on poetry, testing myself.
Reading and writing are no substitute
For the companionship of a lover,
This fact I’m sure one cannot refute.
Although, from some I am yet to recover.
So while I’m (for the time being) alone,
I know that love will always come and go.

Just the Beginning

Hidden by the fence and grass,
The boys began to smoke and drink.
Upon their fun no-one would trespass.
Only of fun did they think.

The sky was still blue and clear,
The August evening still young.
Each had a drink of his favourite beer
And waited for more to come…

Walking from the local shop
Were three more boys with bags in hand.
Beside them a car came to a stop:
Driving was the youngest’s dad.

The older pair walked away,
Leaving him with the drink to fend
For himself. He thought of what to say,
And decided: “Blame a friend.”

* * *

The dad knocks at a front door
And his son’s friend’s mother answers.
He tells her the tale that his son swore.
Angry, her heart beats faster…

Six miles away, unbeknownst,
A young prodigy is training.
He kicks the football wide of the posts,
But hears no-one complaining.

… Back at his door, in panic,
His mother searches for car-keys.
His brother cycles through the traffic
Searching the locality.

The grass and fence now hide none,
The circle of trees vacated.
Any traces of the gang …

Wear Your Uniform. Just Your Uniform.

His frozen corpse lay still in the
white snow outside the school,
his tackies, his t-shirt and his
hoodie confiscated.
The ice has taken over outside,
just as the icy witch has taken
over everything inside the school.
Temperature at minus two that day,
too cold to go out in just a
jumper and shirt.
He had been sent home barefoot,
but locked out.
“He deliberately took no notice of basic school policy.”
His bracelets and wristbands and
‘cellular telephone’ on her desk,
his friends in detention after
“breaking acceptable computer user policy.”
She cannot be challenged.
She is omnipotent.
She is omniscient.
She is omnipresent.
Do not break her rules.
Even on a very cold day.

Return Journey From Tralee

Solitary souls in a speeding tin can,
Together but alone at the mercy of a man
Who sits at the front with a wheel in his hand
And drives from town to town with every day a different band
Of wanderers and strangers and people seeking friends
Who look to the time when their journeys will end.
Most of them go alone in this moving box to spend
Their time and money in different towns, before leaving again.
Each has a different mission or a purpose in their mind
Or even just some place they must escape or leave behind
For a day or a few hours, any little while.
A rolling ship on wheels is for these ones a place to hide.

In the corner at the back, with his phone between his knees,
Sits a young man on his own texting the girl of his dreams.
His fingers slip and shoulders shake as he realises she
Can never really be his own, in spite of subtle pleas
Hidden in his messages and disguised by his skill
With words. He solemnly accepts that this girl never will
(or probably ever did) feel the same way about him.
He p…

Winning the Ball

They were just two little words,
significant only for a moment
to my friend, who uttered them.
But such honest appreciation, such
gratitude was in his voice
that I am still struck deeply in times when
I remember, reminisce
about how close we were as a team in
games, in battle, in action.
Never before had I felt emotion
so strong in a team-mate’s response to my
shouting. Momentarily
there was a peace, a calmness on the field.

The ball was cleared to safety.
My friend, the team’s full-back, had overcome
a great challenge. He had had
to push beyond what he thought he could do.
Only he could have done it.
But for an instant, both of us, we knew
he did not do it alone.

I had shouted, encouraged.
He had fallen away, lost faith in his
own abilities. He had
given up, trailing his opponent by
yards. “Go on, you can do it!”
He heard my call, and then he did do it.
He actually did it.
For half a moment he could feel like a
Hero.

When he said “Thank you”,
I felt like one too.

The Day Before He Died

I don’t really know how it happened yet.
Is he still alive, or is he dead?
We knew that in the end he would find himself
in a box at the hands of someone else.
I barely knew him. Didn’t know him at all really.

Now that I think about it, I only ever crossed his path a few rare times. None were pleasant occasions.
He always carried an umbrella, or a stick. Or a knife.
He broke laws. I once broke his glasses when
he tried to crack my jaw.
He didn’t like that.
He didn’t forget it either. Luckily, it seems now that
he will never get the chance to exact a price on me.

There was the time he followed me at a disco.
And the time he chased me around a parked car.

He broke his curfew to chase me around that car.The last time I saw him was on a bus.
The only empty seat, out of all the seats on the bus,
was next to him. I sat there for a while (I had to)
but moved at the very first chance.

He didn’t like that.
He walked off the bus ten minutes later, muttering to
himself. My friends’ faces were white with terror.
H…

The Wall

Cupboards full of skeletons,
Words potentially too painful to put on paper,
The things I know have been both the
cause of great pain in the past
and the fuel for what will be more
great pain when the time comes to pass
whereby I cannot keep them to myself,
or those upon whom my knowledge is based
eventually shatter and fall apart.

From histories, to the mysteries of my peers’
Saturday nights and evenings behind fences with
cans and bottles and papers and lighters,
or what they did in shops (in vain) to save
money for more cans and bottles,
I know damning and damaging things.

I am not alone in all of this knowledge, but
I alone have been enlightened as to the dangers
of what they do, and the tragedy of what
others have done before.
Some say that ignorance is bliss, but I say that
knowledge is power.

With great power comes great responsibility.
Am I responsible in my way of hiding knowledge?
The boys behind bushes and bars are irresponsible in their ignorance.
O I have stories to be told, just as I have been …

Interior Design?

Tired red curtains,
Long passed their ‘best-before’ date, and
Grubby yellow walls,
In need of a new coat of paint.
Rickety old tables,
Covered in graffiti of hilarious intent, and
Unsteady chairs,
With uncomfortable seats and legs bent.
Cracked grey ceilings, grimy windows,
Empty orange cans, half-full bottles,
Faded brown floors, bent coat-hangers,
Grubby white-boards, chipped skirting boards,
Pockmarked green notice boards, torn information sheets,
Overflowing blue bin, broken light bulbs.

Sixty grey-clad boys, one school study hall.

Another Look at the Goalkeeper

I’m the guy with the empty seat beside
Me. I wear black while ev’ryone else wears
Blue, or yellow, or sometimes green and white.
I think about the problems of the years
Gone by, when standing out in (and out of)
The crowd made it hard to find happiness.

Solitary, dressed in black, sporting gloves,
Or in a uniform amongst the rest
Of my peers. I am one of them but I
Am also different, a goalkeeper.

A little mad, I shout and dive and try
To stop speeding balls. Would it be cheaper
To relax, sit down, read and write instead,
And forget about being talented?

Maria

Comparisons of beauty are easy
not when a summer’s day and Tralee’s rose
are lacking in originality.
The feeling for her that I have still grows,
perhaps because we are so held apart.
This is to me a predicament new,
one which late at night doth pain my heart.
Around me people jest it is love true.
Rarely ‘fore one’s eyes does such beauty pass.
Rarer still it’s felt reciprocated.
A friendship that I wish will ever last,
a feeling hoped will ne’er be out-dated.
As this I write ‘the woman of my dreams’
Shall remain just out of my reach, it seems…

One Week Left

The time of our return is drawing nigh.
Many of the preparations are made.
Each day the sun is lower in the sky,
But goodbye the hol’days I’ve not yet bade.

There are still things to do, people to see.
Although so many plans never bore fruit.
With all my loving friends I long to be,
Their company will all my fears up-root.

These next two years will be of great pressure,
The foundations of the rest of my life.
But, wisely using my time of leisure,
I shall ease the strain and lessen the strife.

For be it at school or sport I’m with friends,
I must value each moment spent with them.

Uncertainty

And so I reach the end,
But, of course, doubt finally slips in.
Is it really good enough?
I try to think back on poetry
I've read throughout the year.
Is this actually acceptable?
My conscience wants to make itself heard:

“Yes, you put the effort in.
Yes, it is good work.
But you are capable of bigger,
Better, more impressive things.
Even this, with more planning,
Could have been a true work of art.
You are lucky to have a gift of quick thinking.
But remember: all good things must come to an end!”

I pause to think again.
Why must my conscience always be right?

Wednesday Afternoon, 2:00 pm

Tables rattle and scrape on the floor.
Somebody drops a pen.
Another bangs his ruler on his desk.
“Is that a mobile phone in your pocket?” somebody jokes.
A collective shout as a young woman appears on the TV.
At times the noise is deafening.


Tinfoil balls cross the room,
Back and forth for several seconds.
Crude graffiti written discreetly offers a glimpse
Of somebody’s personal opinions of a friend
They want to make the centre of a joke.

We truly are the elite.

Writer’s Block

I sit and stare at a blank computer screen.
The pressure of having to compose new lines
Makes it even harder to create.
I search my mind for relevant topics,
Suitable ways of expressing views and
Possibly even a startling insight.
Originality is harder than one would expect.
I think up rhymes that sound childish at best,
Until suddenly the thought occurs to me:

Why cannot the lack of inspiration prove to be an inspiration itself?

Dedication

Pain sears through every sinew,
My muscles ache.
Sweat drips in my eyes as
I strain to draw breath.

Still I keep running.
Looking around, I see that I'm
Falling behind the others.
So I push myself harder.

The tension builds
And my legs start to shake.
Acid collects in my shoulders.
Still I keep running.

Then I hear a shout,
“OK lads, take a break.”
So I jog with the others for a drink of water
Half an hour into the training session.

Adventure

Just one month to go
’Til I’m off on my own
With a busload of people
I don’t even know.

I look forward with joy
To the weeks before July
When I’ll leave Limerick City
For Coláiste ’05.

Three weeks of fun,
Of rain and wind, sand and sun,
Of learning and singing,
Games and the Island Run.

No distractions of TV
Or friends from the city,
Just craic, and new cáirde
To keep me company.

First Day Back

White clouds on a sky of blue,
Green leaves against walls of grey,
A bird singing in a nearby tree
on a perfect spring day,

A bright sun shining above the roofs,
And a light breeze in the air,
as seven hundred boys in grey
return to sit and stare

at walls of yellow and boards of white,
chairs and desks of brown.
Some work hard while others think,
and others act the clown.

Not one admits that they’re glad to be back,
but their laughter proves otherwise.
Even as huge black clouds bring hailstones and rain
it’s great to be back with the boys.

Part-Time Job

“Tell the manager
I can’t play tomorrow.
I’ve got to work.
No, I can’t get out of it!
It’s my shift, there’s nobody else available.
Why don’t you play left back?
We’d probably do better with you there than in goals!
Ha ha!
Anybody would do a better job than you.
Anyway, tell him I’ll be at the match next week.
Bye!”

I don’t think I like him any more.
The money has gone to his head.

The Essay

He’s going to kill me!
There’s no way I can
Get this finished on time.
I’ve only done seven lines!
Do you think I should hide?
Listen to music for the
Next forty minutes?
I don’t know what to do!
Quick, tell me
How you wrote it.
Maybe he’ll let me finish it in class.
Oh no, he’s here…

Monster

Eyes narrowed,
Peering through the crowd,
Seeking weakness,
Searching for a target,
Body poised
And muscles tensed,
Carefully waiting
For the right opportunity.

As his prey begins to run
The watcher pounces,
Knocking to the ground
His unsuspecting victim.

Target left in agony on the ground,
The young predator in a blue jersey
Picks the loose ball and
Continues with the game of football.

Poem #1: "The Goalkeeper"

The Goalkeeper

Six foot tall the young man stood,
And was built like a wall of stone,
And when he stood between the posts
Compared he could be to none.

His shout was loud, his throws were long,
His grip was firm and his kicks were strong.
To any length on height he’d leap
In a bid for his clean sheet to keep.

But times would come when he’d screw up,
Like missing the ball or letting it drop.
And his team would look at him with disdain,
Adding inner hurt to his physical pain.

So he would turn, pick the ball from the net,
And try to learn from mistakes that he’d never forget.
This process of learning was a constant thing,
Adding more hope to his ‘ridiculous’ dream.

Harder he’d try, week after week,
To ignore all the put-downs and instead try to think;
“What can I learn from this? What’s going wrong?”
His burning ambition was still there, still strong.
The put-downs persisted but had less effect,
And gradually the team showed their boy some respect.
Despite disappointment and losing, his head remained lifted,
A…