Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Cat Tails

Cat Tails

The last I saw of you
You were chasing flies beside the blackberry bush.
Then, in the flash of a tail

You were patrolling the neighbouring fence opposite.
I was mentally extolling the virtues of cat speed and agility,
Watching your progress towards the fox-hole in the back flower bed,

Remembering how you used to slip through this same slatted fence
Avoiding unnecessary circum-perambulation.
I considered again your widening girth

And the possible purchase of satiety food
When I spotted you, still chasing flies beside the blackberry bush.
Double take. Not you.

Your mirror image. And given the uncertainty
Of your origins, possibly
Your Ma or Da, big brother or sister.

In a leap you squared up to each other, black tails flag-bearing.
You on the lower ground, your blue neck ribbon attesting
Your advantage in this terrain.

But when your mirror image sprang
You retreated with a yelp in your step
Towards me, and the open back porch door.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

On Reading William Trevor

Reading William Trevor
and always grappling with the endings.
Trickster conclusions.
Did she or didn't she?
Was he or not?
Ambiguity the trademark
of his craft.
And yet touching home.
Bounden duty and faith - his themes.
"The engagement that weathered the delay."
And details withheld
Or frugally proffered.

Star Dust!

From the Sick Bed

The Sick Bed

Your feet create shadows on the bed
seen at this angle, rumpled
by your night's turning.
Pillows aschew. Books upended.
Clothes- wreckage -strewn.
The hot water bottle cold.
And even your hand dragging
a shadow with it as you write this.
Potions and rubs and tablets your daily fare.
And outside- Snow and Silence and Spring suspended.

Mother's Day

About a week late for Mother's day.


We circled you like electrons
straying from their nucleus
orbiting their little sun.
Your force field kept us in check.
We felt your presence
even in your absence
And though you are gone we still do.

Saturday, 3 March 2018



Lenten Resolutions

The bitter taste of black tea
and smell of char-dried toast
and hushed morning walks to Mass
in the silence of a winter dawn
Her by your side, headscarf aschew
The moment pregnant with petitions
falling stars exploding in your head
Lenten resolutions- your plenary indulgence
to a clean swept pallet of soul.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Morality Fable.

I recently had one off the dreaded "worst nightmares "of any parent visited upon me.  
The poem is for my son- by way of a Morality Fable.......

Last Word on the Subject
for E

When you imbibe of too much spirit
Wine, whiskey or Captain Morgan
Your judgement is impaired

When you decide which route to take home
by bus, taxi or Shank's mare
Your judgement is impaired

When you engage with those who loiter
With intent at street corners
Your judgement is impaired

You will say the wrong thing
Or do the wrong thing because
Your judgement is impaired

And they have been waiting
For anyone to do or say anything
With judgement impaired

You will hit the deck, your face smashed
Your nose broken, your brain jolted
Because your judgement is impaired

And you will be lucky if you can stand up again
You will be lucky if your CT scan is clear
You will be lucky if your judgement is not impaired

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceili Dancing

The Dancing Man
For J

Her poem about you
Pale faced, lying in a hospital bed
Tube fed
It’s not how I remember you
At a Ceili in a Parish hall in Sligo.

You were The Dancing Man
Promenading to and fro
7’s to the right, rise and grind
7’s to the left, grind and sink
Making stars in both directions.

Or wild haired and spouting your doctrine
of the Divine in rocks and sod,
Striding across landscapes
like some latter day Shelley
or Bronte hero.

Women fell in love with you wherever you went.
“He should carry a Government Warning Label
like a cigarette packet,” one of them said.
You made your own then, your fingers tuned
to the pinch, roll and flick of it.

No cigarettes now. And you don’t even miss them.
Clipped wings, what you miss is the buzz and swing
Forward, diagonal, set in place
Threading your needle

To The Haymaker’s jig.