Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Poem In Memory of Roe

I spent ten minutes
in the bus station
deleting the old
text messages from
the week when she died
and up until the
time of her funeral.

I don't have too much
by which to remember her
left with me now,
imagination and
memory intertwined
in a strange and painful
romance long finished.

There's still the stuffed bear,
the shared photographs,
the simple recipe for
garlic mayonnaise,
the inscribed black
leather notebook to fill with
"all your wonderful poetry",

And a slowly mending broken heart.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cló Dubh

Feicim m’ainm i gcló dubh na hirise
agus saothar simplí os a cionn
agus is beag nach n-aithním é
mar mo scríbhneoireacht féin.

Tá sé chomh fada sin ón lá
ar a scríobhadh iad go bhfuil siad ina
seasamh romham ina n-íomhánna scamallacha
ar nós scátháin bhréagaigh nó griangraf gan flash.

Mé féin atá iontu, tá a fhios agam,
sa tslí chéanna go bhfuil píosaí díom
sna pictiúir a thógas agus mé im gharsún;
an duine céanna, ach roimh fhorbairt phearsan.

Ach, ah, táim ródháiríre!
Táim bródúil astu, déanta na fírinne.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Soicindí Idir Titim Bháistí

Im shuí i seomra ciúin dorcha,
le peann im lámh,
is fón im phóca,
agus brón laistigh i ndiaidh mo ghrá.

Lasmuigh, tá balla liath
le duilleoga glasa,
ag rince trí na poill,
agus bláthanna beaga de chuile dhath.

Sa seomra, níl faic chun m’aird a thógáil,
seachas leathanach folamh bán
a chuireann i m’aigne íomhá
dem chailín féin is í cois trá,

ag baint taitnimh as an ngrian chéanna
a bhfeicim go hannamh, ach i rith cuairte
nuair a éiríonn an bháisteach róthuirseach chun titim
is imíonn na scamaill ar shosanna beaga.

Coimeádaim im cheann a súile gorma,
chomh geal is soiléir
leis an bhfarraige faoin spéir,
sna soicindí idir titim bháistí.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Neart Stoirme

Ba mhaith liom
an tintreach
a thógáil ón spéir
is a chur ar pháipéar
leis an bpeann im lámh.
A fuinneamh
ag rith trí mo chorp
is trí mo chroí,
is an toirneach dorcha
a scread óm bhéal
le neart na stoirme seo
i lár an tsamhraidh.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pictiúr de Thinneas Ghrá

Feicim aghaidheanna dathúla,
Radharcanna áille i súile,
Cósúil le réaltaí ós mo chomhair
Nó le daifidil i nDeireadh Fomhair.

Ní féidir liom casadh timpeall gan titim glan i ngrá,
Mé cósúil le beach ag eitilt i ngáirdín lán le bláth’
Faoi draíocht na háilleachta, mar i mbrionglóid le spéirmhná,
Mo chroí ag bualadh níos taipiúla, gan trácht ar bhrón nó ar chrá.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ag Meabhrú

Súile dúnta ar feadh tamaill,
Ciúnas beagnach iomlán timpeall,
Mise suite i lár teampaill,
Fadhbanna seolta lasmuigh den imeall.



Ní raibh sé chomh héasca le dubh agus bán;
Sna pictiúir a chruthaigh siad ba dhian an dúshlán,
Cé go raibh samplaí foirfe ar scáileán
Chun iad a spreagadh, mar Muse ag tús dáin.

Do bhí orthu dreapadh thar bhalla an leadráin,
Billeoga folamha a líonadh le dath amháin,
Éalú ón mbogha báistí gan aon ghearán;
Ní raibh sé chomh héasca le dubh agus bán.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fading Out

A window slightly opened wheezes wind;
My private screaming chorus of night’s storm.

The sky pauses to whimper like a pup.

It howls, then pounds again with bitter force,
A crescendo, the apex of a wave
Comes crashing down like rock-spray by the shore.

My door protests and rattles in its frame.

Then silence tip-toes in on creaking floor-boards.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Writer’s Block: Part Three

Seeking the capture
Of those words
That sum up in a 
Moment’s glance
The emotions and
Of just one instant
Can pose a
Challenge the equal
Of scaling
The sheerest face  of
A mountain.

To find them is to
Stand atop
A summit and gaze
In awe at
One’s own achievement,
And tremble
At the thought of the 
Steep descent.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Castlegregory With...

“The mist on the hills is so pretty!”
She smiled as she exclaimed,
While I controlled the car out of Tralee
To Castlegregory for what would
Prove to be our first and
Only night away together.

I could only glance a moment
Through the rain-obscured window
At the veil that softly fell
From sun-kissed clouds and caressed
The rocks and grass along the hills
About the road.

Sixty seconds later, another mile
Behind us, we sang along to music
And I put on sunglasses to pose
For a picture as she played games
With a camera. Thoughts turned to dinner
As evening approached.

* * *

At ten o’clock we stood and watched
As the sun seemed to melt
Into the cliffs over the sea,
An orb of golden peach.
It faded as the night drew in,
The end of something beautiful.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Morning of the Disco

The simplicity of an empty hall,
Music sounding sweetly from two speakers,
Two friends with books and one with the paper
And nothing but poetry pressing me
Combine for peaceful relaxation and
A moment more calm than the blue June sky.

And then it’s lost. Gone, perhaps forever.
The music drowned out, paper rustled shut.
Authority’s footsteps pound to the door,
Pause... then pace around the hall, echoing
The message of jobs to be completed.
I rise to seek scissors and tape-measure.

We cut black sheets to cover the windows.
Blue skies are lost to a hall of shadows.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

En Attendant Killian

It’s funny how a mind can work
At quarter past one, after midnight,
When the only things
To busy the eyes are a silent guitar,
A pile of unsorted underwear,
Two poorly-hung shirts
And a companion whose mysterious writing
Keeps light streaming from a lofty bulb
To seizure-bind the occasional
Furious moth at our black window.

I summon a pen from the floor
To dirty a blank page with blue scribbles,
Trying to take the whole room in;
The pink walls and brown door,
The bed-clothes a mix of sea colours,
The three different patterns in the carpets,
My empty water-bottle and half-full bag of biscuits.
And then my friend’s feet touch the floor.
He stands to quench the light,
And the wait for slumber ceases.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I told that bold story again.
I tried my best to tell it well,
Although I’m sure by now I must be
Leaving out some of the details.

The names and places were still there,
As were the most important points
From this story-teller’s unique
And, doubtless, biased point of view.

I kept no secrets from the tale,
No tear too insignificant
Nor act of selfishness beyond
The boundaries of shame, regret.

* * *

I rarely ponder the idea
Of whether others tell it too,
From very different points of view,
And what they might say now, and how.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Goalkeeper: Part 6

I haven’t seen much of the Goalkeeper
In recent weeks. He showed up for a while
In August, promising to be the one
On whom the team could rely for success.

He got the usual mixed reactions
From the gang, at first, but slowly trust and
Greater expectation became rewards
For proof that he still had gifts to offer.

His face became more rare a sight after
Mid-September, and now he treads neither
Grass nor astro-turf, keeping clean his gloves
And boots. I wish they were not so spotless.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Pretender

The opaque glass of a closed shop window
Acts as camouflage behind his dark shirt,
The crisp, ironed edges of which belie
The truth of his softness underneath it.
He is cold. The hair of his hand stands up,
Exposed fingers clasping a plastic bag,
And he shivers away the second last
Saturday night of August, standing there.

This waiting game, prelude to the first act,
Ends as a familiar car pulls close and
He pretends the lift does nothing to raise
His spirits, the cold of the night hidden
By his cool exterior and denied
With half a smile. He warms up as they drive.

Later, under lights, he is the centre
Of attention, mysterious, with one
Eye hidden by a sharply tilted hat,
Sparkling ear-ring and bright white tie, flashing
A smile at anyone who meets his gaze,
Teasing them by dancing from their contact.

With some comfort from this costume, he can
Fool watching eyes with an illusion of
Self-confidence, almost convince himself
That all is well, that it will be okay...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sad Thoughts of Home

It’s not so far from Shannonside to this
Hotel off Princess Street in Manchester
That memories of People’s Park (first kiss!)
Or Bedford Row and lunchtime shared with her
Cannot slip into mind unheralded
And like clouds above the river shadows spread.

And though in Dooradoyle we walked through mist,
And countless strolls down Henry Street now blur,
I cannot help but pause to reminisce
Of feeding swans at Howley’s Quay, full sure
That many such bright days still lay ahead.
Alas, that proved a fortune poorly read.

On O’Connell Street we’ll rendezvous no more.
I pine and gaze at the hotel-room floor...

To James, After Your Birthday

The much maligned and fabled
Morning after such a fine
Old evening and night of
Celebration hit us hard.

We rose for tea and coffee,
Sat around your kitchen table
With our buttered toast and
Clouded memories and bashful smiles.

The freshness of that Sunday
In September, after rain,
And the glowing green horizon
Soothed our tired eyes and heads.

We spoke of songs and drinking,
Of games and broken glasses,
Of comforts and of cures that
Conjured images of childhood,

Then toasted you and yours with
Empty vessels, croaking, hoarse
And happy notes in voices
Of those glad to be your friends.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Best Wishes

If one, by chance, should come to read
Some sample of my poetry,
I wish that there-in they will find
The work of a creative mind.

I wish to them that it be known,
Whether through image, sound or tone,
That I have always sought out new
Vehicles for my point of view.

I do not seek celebrity;
Just that these scribbles may be seen
And valued by a friendly eye
That finds wherein these words truths lie.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

After Reading

What thoughts are these
That come to me
In my first tongue
After so long
A wait without?

It must now be
Two months times three
Since, right or wrong,
For poem or song,
My pen I’ve sought.

I’ll not complain.
Words come again!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Force of habit turns my face 
To look towards your house 
Each and every time I pass 
Along this avenue. 
Today I can surmise from here 
That you're not home 
On this occasion, 
But other days I see 
An open doorway and 
Remember silly childhood games 
And even later summer days 
Of chatting till the stars came out 
And we had to go indoors, 
Back to different homes, of course. 

Our last real conversation 
Seven four summers ago now, 
But still we always smile 
Or say hello or wave from cars, 
Then look away again 
And journey on. 
I shyly bow my head 
And think of how I used to be, 
Wonder if there was ever a moment 
When you felt the same as me... 

Then I feel habit's hold relinquish. 
I smile at the thought of someone new. 
I've grown out of that dream-like wish, 
Those naive visions of me and you.

Friday, May 11, 2012


There is no evil in simple lyric,
Nor laziness nor cheating short-cut,
When there-in may be found
A moment’s sudden glimpse
Of something special
That might evade a mind or hand
More tasked with frill or fancy.

And, but for the saving chance
Of right fist clasping
And a leading on a dance a nearby pen,
Scraps of empty paper would
So, barren, remain
And for time uncountable
Exist devoid of art.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Among My Souvenirs

When our attic was converted
From pull-down ladder and
The occasional torch-lit cobweb
To make a bedroom for my brother,
A space of shelf was kept, a little alcove,
In which to store some books or other treasures.

But my brother kept his room, the one downstairs,
And so I took this new top-floor abode,
The room that fit two beds, en suite and shower,
The one built around the chimney, with an alcove.

At first it served its purpose well, this shelf:
I kept books and pens and other trinkets there.
But as time and holidays passed by
It soon was lost beneath piled-up sweet-wrappers.

When pressed I do clean it from time to time,
And after a while I had it more neatly ordered:
Photo albums took the place of empty cartons,
A shoebox added to hold old notes on paper.

A row of cases on the middle shelf
Displays my medals, fruit of matches won,
Above some scattered public-transport tickets
Kept from different places where I’ve gone.

There’s an old lamp of my Nana’s (with a new bulb)
And still a place for books (both read and not),
A packet of “Love Hearts” sweets (never opened)
From a youth club party otherwise forgot,

A collection of old copybooks kept
After four successive summers in
The Gaeltacht, the contact details of “friends”
Not seen once since still held safely within,

Souvenirs, each holding close-to-equal parts
Within my head’s swirling thoughts and
Memories valued in my heart,
Like fields divided on a hillside
Round the castle on that island,
A microcosm of early manhood.


Hours wasted watching football,
At least from the view of a
Worrying mother’s eyes;
The chance to pass copious
Minutes on virtual games
Or to ignore the salty
Smell of a fried lunch Dad cooked
For ten more minutes in bed;
Nights spent drinking in bars or,
Closer, the house of a friend,
Or even sleeping early
For a Sunday morning match,
Or romantically sipping
Shared mugs of hot chocolate with
Someone special and a hug,

Or shivering in the early hours,
Chasing the words to capture a day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Always Thought It Was Perfect…

Beyond a branch of black bog oak and close
Beside the boundary hedge, before the
Fenced-off greenhouse and rows of cultured
Beds, there stood my cousin’s “tree house”, a
Little room on stilts of clean-cut timber
With two ladders for entry and a slide.
The slide, the part I always found most fun,
But was centre of attention when a splinter
Caught, sorely, in another cousin’s leg
As she stopped smiling midway down the slide,
The scene of the great drama on the day
A shot rabbit was resurrected and
Leapt into a dirty run, avoiding
The stew-pot and defying my uncle’s gun.

The rope ladder, the greatest challenge set
Before this child who formed a fear of heights,
Led to a trap-door underneath the room
That rose above the level of the house,
A bungalow before later conversion,
Where turf-fire and recipes with garlic
Left impressions that to this day still stand out.
There was the damp day when my cousin just
For fun put my favourite teddy out of reach
Between the branches of a garden tree,
And got me into trouble when I cried
And reacted by shouting loud bold names,
But also home-made ice cream from the freezer
Near bottles of home-made wine kept in the shed.

Then one year, without warning, came the sight
Of the garden without the tree-house in it,
But still I loved the thought of going there.
There was the chance to play rounders, three-on-
Three, with my cousin and younger brother,
Or to hunt rabbits in surrounding fields,
But refuse my only offer at a shot,
The same field where, at three or four years old,
My boots sank ’til I got stuck in the mud
And, left alone, I waited in the cold
Until my cousin’s warning reached my Mam,
And they came out to help me back indoors,
The same field where, at least ten years thereafter,
I swore I saw the lights of a U.F.O,

And then the year of the big barbecue
In memory of my late Grandfather,
Where it transpired that I’d become the tallest
Of all the men-folk on my mother’s side
When all of us lined up to pose for pictures,
Before somebody put some logs to fire
And the adults sang ’til that burned to cinder.
And the first time that I ever, without
Stopping, ran four solid miles beside my
Uncle along the road and across both
Grass and bog to gravel by the lake where
He went swimming and I tried to catch my
Breath, before we got picked up by car, driven
Back to a house that soon after was sold.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Issues of Editions

Esoteric ramblings and
The in-jokes of strangers.
Treatises on life.
Comments on holidays
Shared by two or three.

Is this how we present
Our craft, risking the danger
That verbose lines might
Cause readers’ eyes to stray?
Is this how poems should be?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Performance: On The Rocks (acoustic)

As promised, a performance of the poem posted last night.

On the Rocks

Sitting here, sitting right here where you left me
On the rocks, and staring out to sea,
And I’m lying, I’m lying through my teeth,
And hoping that you’ll come back and 
take that seat next to me,
. .I close my eyes and no surprise
. .I’m still a lonely sight when I look again.

And there’s the beach, stretching out beside me
And the wind chopping up the waves
And it’s blowing, it’s blowing in my face,
The grains of sand stick to the tears
that run along my cheeks,
. .I close my eyes and no surprise
. .I’m still a lonely sight when I look again.

Oh and it’s stinging, and like mud the rumours fly,
Like catapults the mouths around us work in overdrive,
And these words stick close to both our hearts
But cannot hurt as much as
time together come to pass,
. .I close my eyes and no surprise
. .I’m still a lonely sight when I look again.

Because I’m sitting, sitting right here
On the rocks, and staring out to sea
With my knees tucked between my arms
To fill the space that was your place
before I broke your heart,
To fill the space that was your place
Before I had to go and break your heart.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

October 31st

Explosions of noise and light disturb this
Cold and foggy October night when all
Should be peaceful and quiet, under shawl
Of soft and gently falling winter mist.

The sudden bursts of sparks and smoke, then howls
Of laughter, echo round the mist-soaked road
As hooded figures abide by the code
To strike, slither away and slyly prowl
Round shadowed corners on this special date,
This hallowed meeting of all things pagan
And marketed modern public playpen
For youths routinely loitering, out late.

This is the night where ancient rituals
Are usurped by lesser pack animals.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Inis Oírr, One Wednesday Night

The sea by starlight to my left
Rolls softly in and slips back out,
Binds in spell my ears while dark eyes search
The sand for the least pot-holed way.
So grand yet scarcely seen, other than
Some distant yellow-bordered waves
Of colour borrowed from the
Late night streetlights on the mainland,
As slipping feet traverse the sand
And carry a most distracted mind
In unaccompanied steps past
The Lifeguard’s empty, bolted hut
In the direction of a house
That’s long forgotten as a home,
A fact belied by a child’s abandoned
And slightly rusted bicycle
Which lies in the dry grass between
The house and its surrounding rocks…

The beach lies back behind me now,
But still it glistens in little arcs
And crescent shapes of light along
The shore, and my path leads up-hill
Towards a graveyard that by day
Delivers spectacular views of life
And is the perfect spot in which to sit
And watch the sun melt into waves
As stars come out to welcome night.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Analyse This

Different and distinct speak voices three:
The first seems a dark prophet of despair,
The next foretells of brighter, things more fair,
Third philosophises on what it sees.

And yet it’s in one mind that dwell the three,
Just as countless others abide in there,
It being both a warm and shadowed lair,
Like birds and worms atop or ’neath a tree.

It’s from a single fountain that these three
Have sprung with misty rainbows in the air,
Have trickled dirt and such malignance where
A strong new river makes its way to sea.

An entity of complex composition
Brings both bloom and weeds into fruition.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

As You Wish

I send you words, my love, I send you lists
Of flattery and charm, little messages
Of the kind that, were they weapons, would sit
In pride at the centre of the arsenal
And strike with awe a common musketeer.

And yet they do not suffice. No list would, 
Or could, do justice, braced even with a 
Phalanx of superlatives in any
Attempt to capture your beauty’s description.

This mighty pen has long been short of words,
And I feared a fall upon a lesser sword,
So please accept this page of simple print
For love, not fancy words, created it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


If all the earth should turn to dust,
The oceans hardened clay,
The sky as dark as clouded dusk
Come middle of the day,
If all creatures should cease to walk,
The birds all flown away,
No longer people left to talk
Nor words to lead them stray,

There’d be none left to ponder on,
Remembering the flames,
What could have caused so great a fire
Or how floodwaters came
To scourge both branch and snow-white bone,
To level hills to plane,
To crumble all from step to spire
And wash whate’er remained.

If all the earth should turn to dust,
And oceans hardened clay,
There’d be none left to ponder on
This final end of days.