Showing posts from March, 2012

On Holiday

One hundred times ten miles from home,
And then some more again.
A weary face with desperate eyes
Stares yet fails to recognise
Its owner is not just lonely, but tired.
Voices of friends never leave the
Verge of his thoughts,
Their faces flash before blue eyes
On blinking screens of computers in the corner,
Covered in shadow,
Offering solace to the solitaire
Who stands, then slumps, but always stares
At their smiles so many miles away.
He has been drained, just like the bottles
Thrown in the bushes by the lake.
Bring him back?
Or let him cure his loneliness by leaving him alone?

Is this a break from it all?
An escape from the pressures?
Being spared the responsibilities
Of having all one could ever want?
Friends, love, teams of players,
Passionate devotion to one-another,
All left behind.
Sun, sea, sand and sadness
Are the rewards of this one’s work,
A reward that frees him from
What he wants most.

He had to leave what he did need.

Petrifying Perplexities

To whom or what should I address
My private moments of distress?
Will it suffice to write them down,
The words that reflect my being down?
Or should I look towards someone older
For comforting hand upon my shoulder?
And, if not, why cannot I try
To upon my friends, instead, rely?

White lines filled with black, or blue,
Have thus far helped me to pull through
And put into clearer perspective
That dark, malevolent collective
Of sights and sounds and sounds and sights,
This mix of horror and delight.
But sense of it I can make not,
The twists and holes in this sad tale’s plot.

So where for reason can one look?
What expert’s insight, film or book
Can explain away the tragedies?
What pattern, which factor can’t we see?
Perpetual twilight, opaque windows,
Endless darkness. What else? Who knows?
I still cannot make sense of it
While here, again, I think and sit.

I know where to find my pen,
I know now how to release. But them?
The marionettes, dolls, mannequins
Whose names will line tomorrow’s bins,
What lonely impul…

To Sink or to Swim

Has the time come for breaking away?
Can I no longer repeat and repeat?
For nobody cares for what I have to say,
As they nod along to the bass and the beat.
There’s not but horizons of endless grey
(That same old colour) and plodding of feet.
No fun, no games, not safe even to play;
Burst footballs cling to the sides of the street.

So should I just give them all what they want?
Dance to their tunes, do their drugs, wear a hood?
Go out at night and take part in the hunt?
Do all the things I said I never would?

I have no intr’est in crossing that void.
It’s by this and my friends that I am buoyed.

Answering Questions 3

I see the reflection
Of a face in the window,
The face of a young man.
Does he know what lies before him?
Here are his pens,
There are his books,
All together on the table,
The cruel jigsaw of paper
And ink and information.

But can he see what is to come?
He thinks he can.
He thinks he knows it all,
The patterns and tricks, practices and techniques.
There’s a sudden glimmer in his eyes,
A tired glint of something special
That makes him reach for
One of the pens.

But still he is not sure.
How can he be sure when
Nothing in his life is certain?
He thinks,
But he just doesn’t know
Because knowledge is terrifying
And he hates feeling scared.

And so he continues to stare
At his own reflections,
The transparent image of meditation,
To keep his mind from
Wondering back to that reality
Where the only constant is never knowing enough.

Beauty and Horror

The greatest masterpiece in art’s history
Lies hidden in a desert floor.
The ages and the elements
Have consumed it not,
Yet both stand impenetrable
Between those who search and its discovery.

Cavernous dungeons, dark and menacing,
Continue to hide their little treasure.
Is it that the search is too perilous?
Or would the discovery be more destructive
Than the moments of creation
Could ever have permitted be envisaged?

Other entities lie concealed too,
Deep beneath the sands,
Beyond the fires and below
The waters that run from time to time in secrecy.
How can the masterpiece surface
When its doing so could bring with it these other dangers?

The world is not ready for the risk,
Not prepared for the kinds of
Beauty and horror that may
Erupt from some volcano or
Flow from the oases in twin torrents,
And none proves brave enough to carry it forth.

Answering Questions 2

Quotation marks upon a page
Written by a transparent pen
That lends its final drops of ink
And becomes useless, and so must be binned.

Something from apparent nothing-ness!
Forty percent ends forty days of barren-ness.

Too harsh a word, those days were fun!

But nothing new was written, done.
Black-biro words did not suffice,
Pages too short to be right.

But oh! those days and wow, those nights!
I throw the empty pen, it hits the bin, ends its life.

The Nightmare

Twisted pictures haunt your dreams,
Nothing being what it seems,
All’s too easy to predict
Until that moment when it hits
That something there is just not right
And your body convulses in the night,
Shocked at what its mind created,
The images never anticipated.

Sights and sounds spring from the darkness,
The haunted, writhing, twisted darkness
That with your mind is interwoven,
Until you scream and you’re awoken
To find you had not screamed at all,
No rotting heads, no fatal fall,
No house of hidden passageways,
No woods, ditches or shallow graves.

Just you, alone, in the dark, in bed,
And terrifying spectres still fresh in your head,
Reduced to a shaking, frightened child,
Afraid of the dark and the big and the wild.
You won’t go back to sleep lest you see it again,
The vivid, grotesque, horrible, misshapen,
That must symbolise evidence of some guilt;
In this prison of conscience there’s no escape built.

Answering Questions 1

Become someone who you are not,
Immerse yourself in story plots,
Regurgitate just what they want
So you won’t have to bear the brunt
Of collapsing dreams: castle walls
Tumbling like a waterfall
Or burning like that midnight fire
That never satisfied desire,
Made you wish you could have more
('Though left you bolder than before)

A boulder in a castle wall
That from its hill will one day fall.

What Does It All Mean?

I don’t keep hidden diaries,
I write my words for all to see.
So take a look, devour me up,
Drain the last drops from the cup.

Sometimes I exaggerate importance,
But I will not hide behind false pretences.

If I don’t like something you do
I’ll say so for the world to know.

I have no favourite form or style,
I play with techniques from while to while
Just to prove I’m capable.
Is it good? That is debatable.

A self-important egoist
Who sits and thinks and writes, insists
He knows what he’s talking about,
All the while still plagued with doubt.

Too busy studying my peers
To take the plunge and face some fears
That for others have disappeared
Through breaking rules in younger years.

If I’m liked I do not know it.
I feel a lonely, learning poet.

Golden Rose

I want to gaze into beautiful eyes,
Gently stroke back hair from a soft-skinned face,
Listen to deep thoughts before sharing mine,
And hear quiet breathing while the world waits.
I want not to worry about the time,
Or what will happen if stupid mistakes
Leave needing to pause doing this a while
And watch opportunity go to waste.
I want to lie down and relax beside
The one who can make a far-away place
Feel like home (although I’ve to travel miles)
One I see only on rare, special days.
Upon violet bed a golden rose
Gave me her bracelet. Where I go, she goes.

Different Rules for Different Fools

I will not stand idly by when
One rule applies to that there boy,
The hypocrite son of a hypocrite man,
Whatever he wants to do he can.
I will not agree
To fraudulent policy
Of making an example of
One willing to stand straight up
And voice opinion and be heard, when
Others act like sheep in herds or
Flock together like mute birds,
Afraid to turn thoughts into words.
They will pay appropriate price,
Having lost their strongest voice, for
Bowing down to this man’s boots and
Being unwilling to leave the group
To stand up for a friend in need
(They needed me, these friends indeed)
And accepting un-equal punishment,
One boy’s truths equal this man’s dissent.
Do not dare your feelings vent,
Just stand idly by when
The next one of you gets the door
And welcome 1984.


Do not protest, it does not work,
Find peace and let the issue pass.
Yours is not to fight the system,
Yours is not to rise against Them.

Be a quiet, passive pawn who
In false laws sees not the flaws, but
Rather sits emotionless and
Ignorant, lacks social conscience.

Pity those who are not afraid
To make a stand for their beliefs.
You don’t suffer. Feel relief that
You don’t care. You’re as good as dead.

Internally Over-reacting

Six years of silent screaming protest,
So much time and contemplation,
Fruitless, pointless contemplation,
Raging against her domination,
My thoughts a raging conflagration,
Too angry for peaceful meditation,
The nearing end no consolation.

I dared to dream I was the best,
Had plans of art, beautiful creation,
Visions of nebulae and constellations,
Wonder at life, determination
To be no longer hidden in dark vegetation,
Personal development and amelioration
Would be the fruits of my dedication.

But in grey I sit amongst the rest,
Devoid of any inspiration,
Furious at her accusations,
Thinking about her emulation
Of terrible leaders of totalitarian nations,
This prestigious centre of education
And its rules the sources of my vexation.

Middle of May, Midnight

There’s a pounding on my roof,
The falling of the rain,
Almost torrential in its ferocity,
The sky unleashing its fury
On an unsuspecting midnight suburb,
Sending wave on wave of ice-cold water
Down on the roofs.
The houses, I’m sure, stand strong,
Though I cannot see them tonight.
No windows, no view, no chance to see this
Spectacle, nor to marvel at the sight.
I lie, instead, and marvel at the sound.

Oh, batter the tiles, water the flowers,
(the roses growing now in my garden)
And let me listen to your real power
That falls from the sky when most are asleep.
Refresh the world and refresh me, my thoughts,
Let them flow as right now you do just so.
Then be that comforting sound that eases
Me in the dark, the noise that brings me to
Relax and forget all but that about
Which I will soon dream.

As I listen I remember one who
Dreams a romantic dream of rain like this…

Empty Vessels

What causes their incessant talk,
The gibberish and shouted words,
The screams and noises from the back,
This perpetual distraction?

How can it be they need no peace,
No quietness or moments of
Precious silence in which to think
Of consequences of actions?

Why do they throw their tables and
Move chairs from under those who sit,
And constantly attempt to push
Each other to wild reactions?

Who is it that they think they are
So that they are untouchable,
And each a law unto himself,
And exempt from regulation?

Where can one go to escape them,
And all they do and all they say,
To hide one’s feelings with success,
Put a mask over frustration?

When, if ever, will they learn that
Their behaviour has no reason,
Make no progress, leads to nothing
But one poet’s inspiration?

Bygone Days

No more do the boys walk up the slope
Like triumphant soldiers returning o’er the hills.
No more do their bikes charge through the alley,
No glorious riders on their steeds.
No more do they engage in war
On the green grass where football was their combat.
No more do their voices echo through these roads
As they did in our younger days when, innocent,
We were learning the ancient history of the world
And out-growing happy tales of bygone days
When the heroic warriors were always right.

With its new high fences and it’s spying eyes,
This place is more of a fortress than ever.
Alas, it is a stronghold that has forsaken
Its own young men, and the young friends
Of these young men, and the
Girls who were as princesses to them.
It is almost paranoia personified, this place,
One steep descent is the only way in and
One steep ascent is the only way out,
And you are always, always watched
And you are never, ever welcome.

Here they reject all who may come in,
Prison-like in guarding the one safe exit,
With sentries hi…

Going to Kildare

I sat with you and held you close, feeling
Tired but also feeling something which had
Long been absent, something which, while vaguely
Familiar, felt wonderfully new.
I was shameless (and you told me so!) but
That didn’t matter, it was fun and it
Felt good and it felt right because we so
Strongly needed each other’s presence.
I should have slept but I preferred to sit
And see your eyes light up when you smiled, and
The four hours flew by so fast because time
Flies when you’re having fun.

I tried at times to watch the world go by
Outside the bus window, but found that you
Were more beautiful a sight than any
We left behind, trapped beyond the window.

* * *

I held your hand, you held mine too and smiled,
We laughed about our escapades which had
Taken us pleasantly by surprise and
We looked forward to the party that night.

Walking Home

Keep your eyes to the ground
As you walk down this road.
Do not look up to see
Whom it is that you pass.
Stay to the edge of this wet path,
Balance o’er the precipice, the puddles,
To avoid the shadowy faces.
Avert your gaze and stare at
The light reflecting on the grass,
The muddy grass in which you walk.
Gangs like ghostly monks gather at corners,
And you must decide if it is safe there,
To walk there or to run away.
The hidden faces, the howling voices,
Silence, then a crescendo as you pass.
Keep your head bowed as you pass the crowd, for
You are pathetic as you walk alone,
Afraid, in your sad, solitary state.
Scrape your arm against the dirty wall and
Do not react when you are forced into
The wet hedges, flaking paint on fences.

Sigh as you stand at your front door,
Then close it quickly behind you.

Front-Row Seat

It is too hot here,
In the seat beside the window.
The room, already devoid of bright life,
Has been swept by lethargy,
Numbed by the sun’s too-bright light.
Shirts open, eyes close,
Heads down, hands up to feebly shield the tired faces.
It is quiet but
For the shouting of the hurlers outside.
Turn over sheets, click pens (tick),
Remove jumpers to alleviate
The sensation (tock) of being just too hot
(tick) To care about anything but the heat (tock).
Try to find a shadow and
Try not to watch your watch, and wait, if you can, for the bell…

Thursday Afternoon, 2:00pm.

We blamed a ghost, today,
For the opening of our classroom door.
It was really the wind,
Of course, blowing through the broken window,
The great, mysterious,
Empty space at the end of our corridor.
The rain flowed right through and
The wind blew in too, opening our door.
How did the window break?
Will we just blame that too on the ghost who,
We liked to joke, opened
The door of our classroom this afternoon?

5 Haiku

1. A summer sunset
At the end February…
Then a winter’s night.

2. Embrace your talents.
Do not hide them from the world.
But do not show off!

3. Orange, fuchsia, red,
Amber, black, yellow, pink, gold.
A spectrum of fire.

4. Oh, the scary scenes!
Bizarre hallucinations!
Dreaming as I sleep…

5. Lying in the dark.
Nothing to do but think, write.
A sleepy poet…

Writer’s Block: Part Two

What have I to stay that I have not said
Before, at some other time or place? And
How should the ideas, which, in my head,
Keep me awake late at night and demand
So much painful attention, how should they
Be put on paper in such as fashion
As to avoid making a reader say
“This guy is too pretentious”, and challenge,
Instead, one to think. Have I lost my touch?
Have I exhausted all my avenues?
Could I, in nine months, have written too much?
Did I really have a touch I could lose?

I have written sonnets, haikus, free verse.
In just half an hour I’ve written these words.

The Goalkeeper: Part Three

For those who may be wondering,
Here’s a note on goalkeeping.

It may not seem special to you,
But it’s a lot more than just something I do.
It is what I can do that few others can,
An intrinsic part of who I am.
It is one of the things for which I am known,
An area of skill in which I have grown.
It is my source of inspiration,
Joy, delight, pain, frustration.

It is soaring through the air,
With the sun in your eyes and the wind in your hair.
It is stopping those spectacular shots
Just as everyone thinks that all has been lost.
It is throwing yourself in the sand and the mud
And getting straight back up with knees covered in blood.
It is watching, studying everything,
And knowing how to stop anything.
It is being the one who stands out
For diving, screaming, having to shout.
It is running to catch the speeding ball,
And directing your team with a knowing call.
It is being the underdog in penalties,
The hero after the narrowest victories.

It is being the resort,
The first in the list in the match report.
It i…

Free French Class, First of February

I sit and stare at the sky,
And the things in it,
And the things that stand so sharply out against it.
Bare branches, black against the bare white canvass of clouds,
Reach out in every direction from a tree.
They reach out, but they never catch hold
Of anything but the cold brick wall.
There are no birds on the bare tree, just as
There is no blue in the cloud-blanketed sky.
All is dirty white or dull grey,
And the skeletal black branches.
Brightness, too bright to bear, shines out from
Behind the basketball hoop
That we may never, ever use.
The sun’s rays leave a silver glow on charcoal-coloured
Tiles, silver rays that sting my eyes
And make the black bent branches even blacker by contrast.
Dusty grey sand covers our “proud” pitch,
The pitch whose grass was so pristine just
Last spring that we could not even step upon it.
The grass by the window is still thick and green,
But lies in the shadow of the cold brick wall
And is useless to us.
More shadows stalk across the black tar macadam
Of the court that we h…

Not Back Yet…

I sat and waited for just over half
An hour. Then I was called in for my
Last x-ray, the moment of truth. At last.
“It’s not the left one, it is the right one.”
So I stood still, didn’t move at all, while
The little light turned off and the machine
Buzzed, and then “click!” I was finished in there.
So I walked back out through the heavy doors
With their ‘Do Not Leave Open’ fire warnings
And notices that mobile phones must be
Switched off. Unused. Just like me for the last
Nine and a half weeks. Nine and a half weeks…
Then back along the blue-centred floor, the
Corridor lined with prints by some artists
Whose names I had not the time to find out.
Back along the tiles, the mats for wiping
Shoes on by the entrance to Outpatients.
Then more sitting and more waiting with a
Television in the corner, volume
Tuned down too low for me to hear what was
Being said by the news readers, not that
I really had any real interest.
Then five minutes later and I was in
The office of one of the doctors, with
Another grey-cus…

The Come Back

He stands, keen-eyed, surveying the scene,
Although powerless to intervene.
His eyes, they take in everything.
But he is still, like an eagle with a broken wing.
Once magnificent in flight,
He, for now, stands to the side
Of what should be his hunting ground
And analyses every sound,
Every movement, every breeze.
His concentration is the key
To his failure or his success,
And to becoming (again) the best.

Every factor in account,
He turns away to think about
How the one time he got it wrong
Incapacitated him so long
That he had to study again
Techniques he’d known for over ten
Good years of knowing how to do
Just anything he’d needed to.

Running on a moonlit road,
His movements now no longer slowed,
He knows his strength is coming back
And very soon he’ll wear the black
Adornment of his place again
And be part of the team again
And hear them shout his name again
And fly, soar like an eagle again.