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…
I had a conversation early last winter with a publisher of creative writing. I was volunteering to help them with another project at the time, but it was casually mentioned that there might be an opportunity to get my first collection of poems published sometime soon. I mentioned that I'd read a collection by another local poet of a similar age-bracket to myself, and was told very firmly not to be too influenced by what they had produced. I also mentioned that I had nearly 250 poems to work with and was told to put together closer to 50, and we left it at that.
I didn't mention it again for several months so for a while I didn't know if the opportunity still stood. Even so, I took some time over the May Bank Holiday weekend to put together the first draft of a manuscript. It was a 40 page document with 47 poems in English, 2 in Irish, and 2 English translations. Some of the poems had scarcely changed since I wrote them as a teenager, and at the time I wanted to keep them…