Showing posts from June, 2012

Odd Directions

I fall in love
Every time
I take the bus,

Watching these
Beautiful strangers
Stroll on
Or depart,

And find myself torn
In odd directions

Between old-fashioned notions
Of gentlemanly courting,

Liberal dreams
Of free loving

And instinct
Compounded by
The shuddering seats.

View From A Train Window

Ivy-strangled trees,
Patches of thistle,
Tire-tracks in the mud
On tractor-land,
Calves learning to run,
Old horses tethered
To older out-houses,
Gaps in the corrugated
Roofs above mossy walls,
Ditches dry
After a sunny week,
Empty barns
And rusting gates,
Bare boughs between
Harvest-ready conifers,
Gravel patches and
Piles of stone chippings,
Fallow fields,
Unsteady fences,
Rolling hills,
A flapping hooded crow,
Sheep resting together,
White blossoms
Over yellow bushes,
Felled logs and
Chopped branches stacked high,
All beyond these shuddering windows,
All beneath this grey March sky.

Cumann Rúnda

Do cheapas gur tháinís
Ar aon chúis amháin,
An t-aon fáth gur thugas
An cuireadh sin duit,
Is an bheirt againn éirithe
Roimh solas na maidine,
Drúcht ar an bhféar cosúl
Le filíocht ársa,
Nochta gan moill
Ach fós féin cúthail,
Cinnte ach foighneach
Inár gcumann rúnda
Go dtí go d'oir cúrsaí
Dúinn i gceart
Is do chaitheamar tamall
Gan aird ar an gclog,
Agus mé fós ag smaoineamh
Nach raibh ar d'intinn
Ach an méid binn céanna
Is a bhí im cheann féin.


These descriptions of life,
Of incidents and adventures,
Of people and surroundings,
With all the assumed significance
In the incidental details,
Arranged in tidy order
To counter-balance the
Sensation of border-line chaos,

Lie somewhere in between
Such various extremes
As epics, fairy-tales,
Soap opera and satire,
And it's often as much
A challenge to tell which is which
As it is to see them happen
In the first person.

To My New Notebook

Hello, my brand new notebook,
You new confidant of mine,
The vessel for my verses,
For my musings and my rhymes,
Repository for rhetoric,
Lamentations and lines,
Journal for my journeys,
Log of lyrics and of times
When talking is no option
And I've no choice but to find
An artful outlet for these
Things that play upon my mind,
The bitter and the beautiful,
The cruel and the kind,
They'll all be yours, my notebook,
Safe within your leather binds.

Hello, Stranger

She's a picture of confidence
In tight jeans and
A bright red coat
With her hair tied back
So as not to hide her face,
Jaw tight and lips pursed
As she holds up a magazine,
Reading it at shoulder height
With a slight hint of a smile,
One of only a small number
Of lone travellers
On a train of twos and threes,
Four rows ahead and
Facing back towards me
On the opposite side
Of the pale carriage,
And I'm sure she knows
I'm staring out the window
So as not to meet her gaze.

Fools On Pedestals

Men often write of inner strife
Or lament their private torment,
Exaggerate and overstate
Their sense of self-importance,
Put pretty fools on pedestals
And trample dirt on angels,
Find treasure plucked from rubbish
And throw gold and jewels in ditches,
As flawed, as dumb, as over-awed,
As blind, as deaf, as fooled
As any other who would chance
And risk their peace for romance.

Solitary Sensuality

It is the middle of the night
And once again I fantasise
And re-imagine some perfect
Combination of conquests,
For want of a much better word,
Amongst other things, spurred
Into solitary but no less fulfilling
Sensuality, visions briefly thrilling
A mind and hands distracted
From more poetic actions,

Before a swift return to clarity,
To brutal euphoric honesty.

My Fair Maiden, Poetry

I find myself at desk with pen
And sudden urge to write again,
With mind to irrigate a soil
Left barren for more urgent toil.

This craft or pastime, once my strength,
Neglected now for such a length
Of time that I had grown unused
To crafting simple pleasure produce.

I stressed too much the use of words
And phrases, images and sounds
To please sterner critics rather
Than liberate my caged soul.

It matters not that I propose
To vary simple and verbose,
Nor that I sometimes rhyme my verse
Or mix the rambling with the terse.

To frolic with Simplicity,
Yet hold hands with Complexity,
Is not an infidelity
To my fair maiden, Poetry.

This Bind That Snakes

I made a vow,
I will not break it.
What you feel now,
You'll have to shake it.
You ask me how,
I tell you fake it.
Your face pleads, oh!
I must forsake it.

What you want,
We can never make it.
I tell you we can't,
Do not mistake it.
I must be distant.
Your heart might ache, it
Cracks and fragments,
But I can take it.

Now cut me out,
Don't hesitate, it
Must be drowned,
This passion naked,
Have no doubts,
This bind that snakes, it
Would bring nought
But pain in the wake of it.


You came to me on a Saturday
Like my first temptation
In the desert,
Offering yourself
To one whose only faith
Is in his friends
And in himself to do no harm,
And out of fear of guilt
I could not let myself
Partake in that which would
Have quenched my thirst,
A cold rejection you despaired
As your very first.
I sent you home and went away
Not knowing when we'd meet again,
Nor when I had become so loyal
To he who would have been heartbroken.

Because I Can't Admit I Miss You

I ask you for your news sometimes just so
I can tell you about what troubles me.
A cowardly thing to do, yes, I know,
A selfish ploy, and I wish I could be
Honest and say it is to you I go
Before all other friends whom I could see,
But since we've been apart it's strange to show
That side that thinks of us in unity.

I turn to you with all these tales of woe,
Sometimes wishing to evoke memory
Of days before our passion fell so low
And you and I were happier as we,
Before drama and conflict were in vogue,
When sharing everything came easily.

Something Marvellous

Every single
Little and

Morphs and
Transforms into

Under these
Poetic circumstances.

A Note to Aoibheann

I couldn't hear you clearly
When I called you.
You know well how my phone is
Somewhat broken.
Too many times it's fallen or
I've dropped it
So it punishes me now with
Failing volume.

We looked at better models on
The shop-shelves
As we strolled through town today
Before my bus.
You said you'd buy a new one
Soon to suit me,
But only once you'd found a job
To fund it.

I think it was good news you had
To tell me,
And I'm sorry that I could not
Hear you clearly.
If it was news of work,
I look forward to talking
With you later.

Death and Life On The Bus

If this bus was to crash today, right now,
The driver breaking the speed limit
To overtake a cattle truck,
And if all of us within,
We the passengers,
Were tossed and thrown like broken glass
Between the seats and bags
And through the windows into fields,
The radio vainly wailing
Last year's biggest hits and static,
The clouds above too perfectly passionless
To feign pathetic fallacy,

Then all else in my life
Would lose its grip
Of overwhelming and
Exaggerated significance,
And the drama and battles
And quizzes and college
Be forgot,
And I would only cling to life.

A Piece of You.

Moments melt away
And half-remembered
Times blend
And interfere with
My tearlessness
As I pass a spot
Where we stopped
To say goodnight
After our first kiss.
The bind of now
Breaks and blurs
And nearly six years
Converge under a street-light.
We're hugging
And we're not
And never again.

The tears melt away
As I leave the spot
Where we stopped.
The binds of then
Weave and sooth,
Bring me peace.

A piece of you.


Never more honest than in poetry,
Lyrically undressing and revealing...
An idea.
A moment.
The ghost of a picture,
The spirit of
That may never have happened
But might sound lovely?
The novel threads of an
Emperor of folly?
The reflections of a man,
Of an artist,
Of a fairground mirror?
Or could it be the genuine
Truth of the matter?

The Harshest Drop Of All

You can set a safety net
Some way below
The thrill of the tight-rope
Or the exhilarating trapeze,
And although you may be caught
The first few times
That you should fall
From such remarkable heights
There is no guarantee
That the binds will hold.

And some day you may topple
Or be dropped,
A little stumble or
Hands too slow to clasp,
And that net which you set
May tear and break,
And you may find that it
Had all along
Been set too high
With still a steeper drop below,

And that the small and
Oft' survived mistakes
Had built up too much strain
In frail supports,
Too many tests this
Net was forced to face,
Too high you set your
Hope and expectations,
And little can prepare you
For the harshest drop of all.


Mothaím fuinneamh ionam inniu,
fuinneamh neirbhíseach an dalta
ar lá roimh spriocdháta
is gan an obair a bheith déanta.

Ritheann na huaireanta ina nóiméid
agus chreidfeá go bhfuil gach doras
á dhúnadh go róluath.

Bagraíonn oíche gan chodladh mé
le meangadh gránna dorcha.

Aoibhinn laethanta deiridh mo bheatha mar scoláire.

Smiling At It All

Evening twilight hazes in upstairs On the corner at the back end
Of the gay bar in town.
I wear my new pink t-shirt,
Reference literature and fine wines
And polish the fingerprints from the glass
Of a friend's newly cut photo frames
For a Gay Pride Week exhibition,

And the greatest surprise is not my
Location or the situation
But rather a Breakfast At Tiffany's poster,
Holly Golightly smiling at it all,
An image I've grown to know so well
From ex-girlfriends' bedroom walls.


We have broken the ice,
And what remains to be seen
Is how far we will fall.
The instant and overwhelming rush,
Gravity's cold slap to the face
Followed by a sweet embrace,
Drunk, of course,
Me torn between sinking and
Floating in emotions
And confusions
And everyone else's business,
It surprises us,
And I can't tell in the dark
If those glistening blue eyes
Are the oceans or the skies.

The Entire World Without

I sit with my back to the window
And the entire world without,
Temptations of flowers and mountains,
The call of woods
And rivers and oceans,
Stone circles,
Forts in the rocks,
Ancient domains,
Abandoned dwellings,
Restored glories,
Churches and graves,
Ruins and shipwrecks,
Halls and corridors,
Clouds and rainbows,
Pools and pillars,
Subterranean limestone
and acid formations,
Bones and fossils,
Prints and paintings,

From flint to teflon,
Thread to broadband,
Trails to roads,
Signs and words,
Symbols in space,
Design and accident
and mystery,
Potential and possibility,
Answers and more questions.

All of this beyond a window,
A barrier of glass and my back towards it.


D’fhéachas amach tríd an bhfuinneog inniu
is do chonac draíocht an earraigh
mar dhea is gur phléasc na crainn thar oíche
mar fhéileacán ag éalú ó chrysalis.

Déantar dearmad ar a bhfoirmeacha loma creatlacha,
bindealán bog mín glas ar gach cnámh anois,
agus titeann an chéad chith Aibreáin
ag múchadh thart na páirceanna théis coicís geal te.

Imirteas Focal

Seolann muid teachtaireachtaí
Trasna na tíre,
Lán de leideanna agus
Abairtí leath-ráite,
Ag imirt chluiche
Gan teangabháil,
Ag brath ar fhocail
Seachas ar úsáid teangacha,
Íomhánna inár n-aigne,
Aislingí nua-aimseartha
Nach bhfoilseofar d’éinne,
Agus guí uaim
Nach mbeimid scartha
Mar seo go deo.

The Challenges

There was a time when I'd romanticise
The mud, the rain, the hours of running,
The effort, the passion and sacrifice,
The drawn games, painful defeats, sweet winning,
Arriving home exhausted all those nights,
Going without sleep for morning training,
The challenges, the teamwork and the fights,
Home or away, walking or miles of driving,

Til this year and it changed and wasn't fun,
And things that once came easy all went wrong,
Encouragement drowned out behind complaint,
Those once our guiding lights no longer shone.

Next week two more will follow those who went
Through airport gates to lands of brighter suns.


I hide a smile and
pretend to play cool
as a pretty girl
with hair and lips like
Molly Ringwald in
her teenage heyday
shyly turns away,
my gaze having met
her passing stare.

Two girls at
a nearby table
laugh at a pigeon
strutting too close
to their legs,
and this time
I cannot help
but let a playful smirk
light up my face.

The unfamiliar faces
no longer make me nervous,
now as pieces in a game,
a chess of confidence.


I sit with my back to the window
And the entire world without,
Temptations of flowers and mountains,
The call of woods
And rivers and oceans,
Stone circles,
Forts in the rocks,
Ancient domains,
Abandoned dwellings,
Restored glories,
Churches and graves,
Ruins and shipwrecks,
Halls and corridors,
Clouds and rainbows,
Pools and pillars,
Subterranean limestone
and acid formations,
Bones and fossils,
Prints and paintings,

From flint to teflon,
Thread to broadband,
Trails to roads,
Signs and words,
Symbols in space,
Design and accident
and mystery,
Potential and possibility,
Answers and more questions.

All of this beyond a window,
A barrier of glass and my back towards it.

Just Passing By

I saw her on O'Connell Street on Wednesday,
Chatting with her parents,
Standing near a restaurant door;
One of the finer establishments, of course.
I was driving and I had the window down,
Warmer than expected
For a mid-October's eve,
But could not stop with the lights' signal green.

And whether this be proven a misfortune
Or some kind of luck
Matters little either way;
Two years between us, there's little left to say.

Late To Meet

Tea for one
And my phone
On the table,
I flick through photos
On my digital camera
As an excuse
To keep my head down
And avoid eye-contact.

I try not to show
Traces of displeasure,
As a younger me once would,
At news of
A friend's late night
Of drinking too much
And being late to meet
As a result.

The tea is hot and sweet,
The pictures colourful,
And for a change
It is not raining in Limerick.
Johnny Cash sings of ghost riders
As the sun breaks through
The cloudy sky,
And slowly I relax.