Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My Guardian Spectre

My spectre with me night and day,
Wild beast, she guards my way.
Images far within, cause
constant weeping for my sin.

My pride and scorn
cause my spectre to mourn,
With jealousies and fears
I fill for me a vessel of tears.

A fathom into the deep
we wander, then we weep.
I am sorrowfull, she is gone,
How will I face the next dawn?.


Father Pius heard confession
from every sinner there,
Before granting absolution
he passed on,
to God knows where.

Grandad told a story
about old Shep
his faithful friend,
Grandad closed his eyes
before his story reached it's end.

My father tilled
the narrow drills
and measured each the same,
and father melted into earth
before the harvest came.

Mother hung
the dripping clothes
while measuring the sky,
and mother joined the rainbow
before the clothes did dry.

I never plan
too far ahead,
just one step at a time,
for deeds yet to be acted
can be saintly works or crime.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Dreams I Barely Remember.

Sleep, that friendly darkness,
that reality in escape,
brought me many places without fare,
Made me at ease, bade me lie down
with the fox the badger and the hare.
On a Tuesday night at ten
I climbed the Eiffel Tower
and with one spring of boundless power
I lit he torch of the Lady in Liberty's Bay
without flame or taper,
just a glint from rainbows ray.
I met my mother one trip,
she told me a dirty joke;
I chastised her there and then,
she, who never in life
a vulgar word spoke.
I rode a wooden horse twice
round the Derby test
and got there first in record time
waited for the rest
who must have lost their way
at Epsom Downs that day.
I asked a wizard to tell me
the texture and taste of swan
He told it was poison unless
shot in the back of the neck by a
bullet out of the mouth of a gun
that had never killed before.
I aimed my pea shooter at the moon,
the ricochet felled the brave bird
feathers flying aft and fore.
She landed both plucked and trussed
and roasted on Vesuvius spit
Moses and I broke the wishbone
It wasn't a one-sided split.
One night in a fit of pique
I dipped my straw in the Red Sea
and supped and watered the Kalahari
and sang “what will be, will be”.
On another occasion I rambled buck naked
into a party on Capitol Hill,
Michelle was scarlet, mortified,
Barrack is glaring still.
With big red cabbage leaves
I have played 'she loves me, she loves me not'
I can only hope and pray to remember
the millions of dreams I forgot.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A man I once knew.

I once knew a man, a remarkable man,
a man called Adam Bell,
His comings and goings were strange and alone
sacred and sterile as an old monk's cell.
At the back door of mediocrity
he pitched his tent,
Hung his soul on the gable of Heaven to dry,
fumbled and fell on the rungs of fate
narrow grin on the lips, smile dead in the eye.
His face was the colour of a fallen leaf,
His hair crow-black as a furnace door,
He wore new hands to shake with the master,
Forehead, mesh of wrinkles, waiting many more.
He found the pathway into silence
thought that wisdom beckoned him as a guest,
Many lies gave him room to manoeuvre
Hoarding sentiment's rations to his chest.
His future not demanding but impatient
Never did he mention his obvious pain
He spoilt his fire with too much poking,
the cloth of the mind absorbs many a stain.
His destiny progressed at it's own slow pace
and he prayed to the stars and the moon,
as all the insane he knew the world was mad
His clock went on strike before noon.
Still lies can walk while the truth stays rooted
Time here is merely granted, we can't make the call,
Adam Bell died in a house of foul humour
He that is down fears no fall.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Company Of Men.

I came from a town, a small town
where small minded people didn't mind me
and the ones that cared were never girls,
they only pretended to admire my curls.
And the men might say “who cut your hair,
it isn't fair to shear your locks like that,
Who did that, and why and when?
Thats when I fell for the company of men.

Men speak the truth as it applies to women
Nothing to gain, nothing to lose it seems,
drink beer, no fear, secure together,
Ignore the models bonnet, except for the feather.
That feather would make good flights for darts
whether it came from a cock or a hen,
Aim straight and true, it's die or do,
thats why I admire the company of men.

My other half was a country boy
Mollycoddled by a doting mother
He could do no wrong in thought or deed
He hadn't hands to bless himself, or another,
She washed his socks and combed his hair
and fitted out his indulgent den,
He never said thanks, enjoyed the ranks
and the bonhomie in the company of men.

I'm still a woman in spirit and soul
My parts and their parts are north and south,
Their world is a ship on a course, not mine,
and I know now their vessel will never come about.
I envy them, those cocky bastards,
I'll say it and I'll say it and I'll say it again,
They've no respect for me, and so shall it be,
I can only be a voyeur in the company of men.

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Young man, a lifetime your friend
telling you why, with his eyes,
why you no longer deserve him
are no longer worthy of ties.
Shy girl you nurtured from birth
rejecting benevolent smile,
Fondness forged in life's marathon
fractured in misery's mile.
Nominal friends keep a distance
fearing infection of shame,
Stare in the eyes of the mongrel
not hostile,yet not the same.
Cigarette seems to burn faster
dreading contact with lips,
food on the plate fears consumption,
tea demands swallows, not sips.
Community leper in shadow and soul
distance-demand on the make
living in dungeon of plaster and brick,
sleep you need keeps you awake.
Once friendly face in the mirror
scowl returns, sullen, uncouth,
Courage; the source of rejection,
Isolation; reward of the truth.

Saturday, 16 February 2013



Today, the ice-cream van pulled up outside,
Yankee doodle jingle, driver smiling,
white jacket with cherry on hat.
Two below; not a child in sight,
I know times are tough,
But fuck that!


Today, we spent four hours in the garden
sawing timber to keep out the cold
of winter, that's a must,
Four hours with saw teeth as close
to her fingers as a kiss,
Superlatives not my forte
Never, have I seen such trust.


Today, I said to Gerry, “I must go some place
and you can see I'm covered in dirt”,
Gerry wouldn't give me
his bar of soap;
Instead he gave me his shirt.


Today, we rekindled two fires,
one in the grate,
one in the heart,
Each glow, still more than an ember,
The cold might keep us apart.

Little incidents from today.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Stuff of Souls

My soul, if I have a soul, is like a camel
Bearing baggage that will surely break its back,
Lodged between twin humps of past and future
Present of quicksand, futile, heroic, another Joan of Arc.
The menace of prayer, a double-edged sword
Recital of misery to give birth to misery more.
Create a life to shield from life the truth
Delirium and half-dream stranded on dreamings shore.

Sheltered ambling from noon to dusk
Wreck of a man, ripe, or onset of decay.
Eyes, lashless and bloodshot, half conviction in a glance
Stretching life’s allowance, boughs and branches, no leaves today.
Older than my years, no sap reaching my roots
Conscience sleeps fitfully, soul’s door ajar
Waiting the stress test of time
Higher office beckons, surely a bridge too far.

And the Lord might say, if He exists,
What’s your pleasure”?
I couldn’t answer, wouldn’t know
The magic of such measure.
Can moral disease be fought by human means?
Or is the concept futile and absurd
Why is man less finite than hoar frost?
Why is God a household word?

Florid faith, in flesh filled collar white,
Martyrdom in cassock, routine religion overdrawn still,
The problem of all flesh is self-inflicted
The bigger problem, problem of Gods will.
The sea of pain laps ever, ever spewing
Time never stops, looks sideways or forgives
Conclusion, no conclusion, vanity appeased for now
What does it matter to our dead for whom the past alone lives.

Where are the million others who aspire to do better?
Hell of human longing stamped on each brow,
Stripped trees, grey mossy lawn, relics of summer
Bloom and blossom, colour and scent, where are they now?
How can we find a way to see the working of each other?
Mock manliness and bravery, repose in bed the same,
Lend me your eyes and I’ll see you as might your mother
Rabbit and rook hail the keeper; they know they are the game.

Archangel Gabriel.

The Jap got it right
the second time around,
The world changed a little bit
when Gabbie hit the ground.
A Ballymulvey man,
Is, was, and will be,
and when he goes to God
he surely will still be.
He flashes a wrench,
a vice grips and a socket,
They say he was born
with a spanner in his pocket.
Slope of the shoulders,
it was always there,
Fits to perfection
in Granny’s chair.
And he likes a little flutter
but never nags,
And he’s the one that told me
never touch the fags.
I reckon that John Wayne
and his western roots
gave him his love of cowboy boots.
I want you to know
that you’re loved, Grandad Gay,
and here’s wishing you
A happy father’s day, everyday.

NIAMH. 2011

She glides through the bar

Cuddles, puddles of affection
yearning to linger,
Pupils locked in silent conversation
her cheek seducing my finger.
Face, figure and essence
rash remnant of Venus,
Conveyor belt of our conscious
ferrying fondness between us.
A mile is a league too close,
a foot is an inch too far,
And I smile a sly smile of knowing
as she glides through the bar.

Mindful, meaningful twinning of limbs
Compliment blending of form,
Familiar crevice contours
Delightful, delicate, warm.
Eye-closing, heart-pulsing nearness of her
casting all logic aside,
Pounding, resounding resonant beat
approaching cosmic divide,
Tradition and caution gone to the loft
as I order another undrinkable jar,
And the till and her eyes tinkle in tune
As she glides through the bar.

And I spied her seven times in a row,
A truly remarkable week,
Never proud, never loud never brash,
I could scarcely describe her as meek.
The hooded power of embrace
can’t sully, sunder or sever
This fabric of closeness we weave
Cuddling  together forever.
And these are the thoughts I favour
She makes me feel like a Czar
And I watch and I wonder and wait
While she glides through the bar.


Smile conceived
Deep in the eyes
Centuries old
Meaningful, wise.
Rewarding, fulfilling
To share this earth
With someone who waited
Patient from birth.
Never says much
Expression says all
Between heart and eyes
No barrier wall.
Human of body
Designed back in time
Yielding and warm
Subtle, sublime.
Creation’s mystery
Woman I’ve met
Briefly, so briefly
Never forget.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Questions prompted by Cleo

Herself went out for an hour with Cleo
and gave me a little uneasy space
to cross examine bits and pieces
and chat myself face to face.
Am I easy to live with or other
what truth in my diary, the entry?
Myopia a mirror of falsehood,
Long sighted; the gaze of a sentry.

Why does a man to keep him alive
consume only that which is dead?
Cold or reheated in cauldron or pot
like Yeats; consumed by the fire in his head.
A combed out braid, a maid unmade,
What consequence being alone?
Logical fear of the future;
Senseless fear of the unknown.

Consistency vital, especially in failure.
Unfamiliar relief of the truth,
Gain by accident is choice lost.
The young; destroyers of youth.
Justice hides herself well,
I've never heard her laughter,
Unseen the moment before
Forgotton, the moment after.

Splendid untouched isolation
like a pearl departed her shell,
still witout suitable setting
a clapper without a bell.
What use an unseen rainbow
What church is built on it's steeple?
are fingers in gloves inside or out,
Which gods pay homage to people?

Once learned, can man forget how to read?
Is ceasing to breathe such a terrible loss?
Are ashes and dust really dead,
petrified trunk suckles lichen and moss.
The loose rope of aquaintence
often becomes a noose
to stretch the neck of man
or strangle the fatted goose.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Dark Blessed Night.

I was never a lover of the day
where pity and petty dwell,
reluctant blood brothers,
The night is my indulgence;
The bright is for others.
There is space in darkness
to think and feel
the muffled wisdom of the floor,
A bread knife by day, mere cutlery;
at my time, a dagger in a drawer.
My turquoise friends, warm shadows
stretch silent, nightime's capes,
by day a killing shade of gray
lurking behind  drapes.
Raindrops fall one by one after dark,
flat splashes together by noon,
like sheep huddling in a corner,
or the welded rushes of a maiden's broom.
By night no need for pointless words;
Just deposits
in the great safe of the unsaid,
Cobwebs, guardians of the furniture,
no gap between living and dead.
Linen and silk or cotton
matter little to blind eyes,
Pebbles on the path to posterity,
rocky roads in disguise.
Dreams and deleriums
nights not yet born,
I ponder a myriad of possible things,
Untreacherous friends
waiting to meet,
By request; only the cricket sings.
I dismiss my impossible bed
not fearing my lover's flight
as the moth at the window pane,
sole witness of my marriage to the night.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

And When I'm Past

And when I'm past what will they say?
No knee on cap to “kneel and pray”
My dust will travel leagues away
To Lough Ree’s sheltered shore.
My path will pass the steel red bridge
Where Daltons left their last cream fridge
Two round bales on Ryan’s ridge
Where Michael swam no more.
They’ll claim that I was good for nought
Who never once did what I ought
And for the wrong cause always fought
And fought in vain.
It will all be above my hairless head
When I’m well and truly dead
I’ll slumber in eternal bed
My tent the grass, my bath the rain.
What legacy will I leave behind?
To benefit others of my kind
That they’ll remember time out of mind
When I’ve passed on.
There won’t be riches to be spent
No guinea, florin or red cent
No paying back of what I’ve spent
My assets truly gone.
Yet when I’m gone like Peters ass
My green will still be hue of grass
The leaves will still salute my pass
On stream of breeze.
A sentry still in drain and dike
The chain on Seanin’s Nellie bike
The flash on belly of proud pike
Valves in old TV’s.
I’ll see them then, I’ll see them all
The hags and bandits, big and small
From lichen on Dan Connors wall
At Ballymulvey bog,
I’ll read their thoughts and see their shame
And watch them relegate the blame
To other cowards, timid, tame
Those demons in the fog.

And when I'm past my lines will live
And seep through pores of human sieve,
No favours ask, no quarter give
To squatter, saint or squire.
If I can guide them from above
I'll point the way with spectral glove
For only care is born of love,
I know this from the men behind the wire.
I'll ride the wind, I'll be the wind,
They'll all know well that I have sinned
From all the cherries I've untinned
And thrown in the dust.
Heavenly gravel I will spread
Or ashes of a bloody red
They wont know if I am dead
Or walking with the just.
And then I'll see the total truth,
Who played the game or stuck the boot,
Who paid their dues or took the loot
From him who could not pay,
Transparent will be each low life
Backstabbing with the traitors knife
Who wronged his neighbour and his wife
Yet knelt with men to pray.
I'll meet again with friend and foe
With Ned and Nan and 'Comie' Joe
and Mikeen in the come and go
in land of country song,
I'll see Tom Yorke and Annie May
Bill Percival heading cocks of hay,
and Mickeen Keegan in a play
where all men sing along.
My gansey will be pure new wool
My whiskey tumbler always full
My servent will be called John Bull
Just for the blast,
I'll send a telegram from the sky
When you see rain, pretend I cry,
We'll be meeting in the by and by
That's when I'm past.


     My son has stretched his legs to make a man,
      He looks at me and sees an also-ran.  
      I gave him human life and mortal pain,
      Now he gives it back to me again.
      I taught him right from wrong, I thought I should,
      How do I know myself, or bad from good?
      I stained his morals with my mortal sin,
      And never told him why the doubts begin.

      He bears the baggage of my tainted past
      on narrow shoulders, that must a lifetime last
      of treading, wary of my quicksand stride,
      Avoiding pitfall of my buried pride.
       This Dorian mirror of my futile life,
      Genetic vengeance of a fretting wife.
      Accusing stare ingrained in teenage face
      Raw reminder of a mans disgrace.

        (The sins of the fathers?)

What Matters

The adult, deep in thought,
Ignores the babbling of a child
A she-wolf, in a feeding zoo,
denies the calling of the wild.
Litigious man, can ever choose
to find a limp for every bruise.
The briar and the golden grain
are children of a common rain.
Bright fire, glowing in the grate,
both sun and hell can imitate.
The vagrant, tramp in tramps attire,
to grandeurs greatness may aspire.
Green door, the universal veil,
can open castle or lock jail.
The magistrate, on lofty bench,
swings gavel like a monkey wrench.
A king, or Shah or Aga Khan
is nothing without common man.
True hate, false nemesis of love.
still walks with her forever hand in glove.
What conscience has the hound or hare?
Only man pretends to care.

     (There is good and bad in everyone)