Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shacked Up

Shacked Up

Designs on it
From the beginning
The quick fix.
Take care of planning
The suits,
Shoes off at the door.
Not too much interest.
The bare look
About the place,
The gifts
Considerations,
Like the angle of repose
The maintenance.
A promise of
You scratch my back
And I'll scratch yours.
The joints everywhere
The soft pile,
Main bedroom upstairs
A big rip-off!
Went septic in the end.
The house
That Jerry built. Photograph Top: The River Delvin where it enters the sea at Gormanston.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Forecast

Forecast

I swear another age
Of this reason
Will see the end of us.

The soothsayers
Will be there
On the last night
Clutching a copy
Of Dead Certainty
The proofs outweighing
The process
They condemned.

While the arbiters
Of right and wrong
Tie
Their purse strings
Around our neck
On the promise of
A new order
Witch hunting.

And all you can
Hope for
Is that they'll burn
Themselves out
And you don't
Get caught on
The wrong side.

Photograph: A winter scene
Kilmessan
Co. Meath.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Tally Ho!

"That which makes us common to
rather than that which separates
us from the worst of nature"
Hunting.

Tally Ho!

A motley bunch
Of out of sorts
With horse and hound
To pass for sport.

Made entertainment
Of an ill
Called it the least cruel
Way to kill.

And didn't realise
The choice
Was just another
Kind of vice.

Is that an argument
That's sound!
The morals here
Have gone to ground.
Photograph: Bridge over the river
Blackwater/Lough Ramor
Virginia Co. Cavan. 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Humour of Sorts.


A humour of sorts probably best describes the next few poems. A little bit of satire, that maybe contains a grain of truth, or perhaps even more than that. Anyway please enjoy.

A Swindlers' List

Shopping Malls
And motorways
Their midriffs almost bare
You can see these celtic tigers
Leaving skid marks everywhere.

The party's over
Ebbing away.
Flood reports on the radio
Only traffic jam today.

Bush fires breaking out
A profit warning call.
Bears loose in the marketplace
Start up disks
To stop it all.

Nice work if you can get it
And you're welfare's guaranteed
The other side of midnight's
Cattle class in A/E.

And it doesn't really matter
Coz they're waiting to enlist
Out there in the cutbacks
The names on swindlers' list.

Photograph: A fairy bush?
The Hill Of Tara
Co. Meath. 2007.




Saturday, November 3, 2007

Red Lights


Red Lights

Cat calls
From doorways
Under neon
Like winter sun
Sirens
In the night.

Stealing
The moment
A cold sign
Catching the eye.
Nothing for nothing.
Photograph: Old Church and Graveyard
Hill of Skryne, 2007.








Saturday, October 20, 2007

Perfect Tens

Perfect Tens

Dog days
On summer steppes
October red
The certainties.

Should have rolled
Them up.
And tea in samovars
Gone begging chance
At station houses
Flagged
The arguements
Half won.

Another hour
And done with
Them.
Photograph: A fisherman at
Newtown Bridge
River Boyne. 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Boyne Berries (2)


Boyne Berries


The second issue of "Boyne Berries" was launched at the Castle Arch hotel in Trim on Thursday the 27th of September by the novellist Noelle Harrison.

It includes a number of local writers as well as others from as far away as Canada, India, Greece, the USA, and of course Italy. The contributions are a mixture of poetry and prose and reflect on a variety of topics.

What makes this magazine interesting is not just the quality of the content, but that it provides an outlet for local writers that would not otherwise exist and Michael Farry and other members of the Boyne writers group are to be congratulated on this.

Readers are sure to find something interesting here, though with the modern poem it is often necessary to return to it a few times before you can find something to hang your hat on. Unlike its rhyming cousin the effect is not so immediate.

Sad or humorous the prose includes an extract from the novel "Madonna of The Fall" , while Louis Moran remembers and Paul Egan goes looking for inspiration.

Antonias Book Shop in Trim. €5 Euro.
Photo: Cover of Magazine
Designed by Greg Hastings.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rich Pickings

Rich Pickings

Not much change
an overcoat or two,
tumbling about
the place.
Bones.
Picking at small talk
Laissez-faire.
Different tunes,
words,
out with the Mollies,
the Ribbonmen.
Clipped it to Boston
or the Union had ye.
Scraping at drills,
digging with your fingers.
There but for the grace
you say.
Reading the inscriptions.
Ploughing them into
the ground now.
Eaten bread.
Photograph: Newtown Trim
From across
the Boyne/2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Hell I Will's Fine

The Hell I Will's Fine

The pictures on Sunday
The posters and signs
When the land of the free
Was just states of the mind.

Where the legends and stories
American dreams
Played it out on the streets
Of the cinema screen.

An admission paid in
As the credits begin
Will Kane walking down Hadleyville
And the train coming in.

When the law west of Dodge
Some indefinite place
Was a Colt forty five
Could beat aces and eights.

The heroes and outlaws
The duel in the sun
With Jesse and Cole
And "Ma, Shane's got his guns".

From a seat on the Boardwalk
The back of the hall
Saw Wyatt and Doc
At the OK corral.

And what made it all great
Well it's hard to define
But just mosey on out
Or the hell I will's fine.

And the old picture house
Now the ghost of a town
I watched them all pulling
America down.

Picture: Pathway through
The Sloping Trenche
Tara Co. Meath 2007.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Class of Fifty Seven

The Class of Fifty Seven


Back for summertime vacations
Paid for Confirmations made
Last year's Debs
Or school reunions
With the shovel and the spade.

The whole schoolyard assembled
With the writing on the wall
The class of fifty seven
And the boat train called.

Danced round tunes
Played on a sunday
Whiskey talk of going home

On the streets off
Kilburn High Road
Cricklewood
Or Camden Town.

The mission fields of Asia
The States, the sessions
And the craic,
The ones who made it famous
The ones who never made it back.


Photograph: Euston Station London.
The arrival point for
many of the emigrants
who left Ireland.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ballads and Balladeers

Ballads and Balladeers

The modern literary ballad has its origin in the narrative. Part of an oral tradition whose style
according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica "crystallized in the Europe of the late middle ages".
A musical form. Often derided for its simplicity it is difficult to imagine how western culture would have evolved without its influence.
The travelling minstrel or balladeer was not just an entertainer, but a bearer of tidings. A wordsmith, he could fashion his own truth. Every half decent war or social movement left its songs. As a public record, however skewed, they have left a more lasting impression than anything the historians would have us believe. Songs of a lost love or a grievance are as popular now as they ever were.
The literary ballad though is not favoured today. Nor is traditional verse. Poetry needed to go somewhere to reflect the contemporary. It managed it. The modern prose poem manages to throw reflections at what it once played upon. The air of conversation maybe, but nobody's listening.
Photograph: A view/Carbane East
Loughcrew Co. Meath.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist

More games
The mad rush
Capture an age
The spirit of the thing
A new pyramid scheme
The cutting edge
Put something up front
A Bull maybe?
The brass neck
An eye for the
Main chance.
And Bob's your
Uncle.
Photograph: Statue of
Oliver Goldsmith
Pallas Co. Longford.
June 2007.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Recipe

Recipe

Canned laughter
Went down fine
The bit of soap
Light dressing
Swallowed the lot
Sauce for the goose
And the the crosswords
The after dinner mint
Charades
The party line
Usual tip.
Head around the
Smokescreen
And the hot air rising
The smell of content
And the feathers
In your cap.
Photograph: The Fair Green
Navan Co. Meath
Summer 2007.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tin Pots

Tin Pots

Signs everywhere
Up ahead
"New School of Thought"
Get in the right lane now
Due deference
And the hours put in
Spinning.
Shaving the percent
Or two
Here or there
The bottom line
Probity.
And the moral compass
Gone south
With the Bag-Man
Trumpeting,
Until the walls fall down.
The same mistakes
Until they're perfect.
Photograph: Bective Abbey
Co.Meath Jan/2007.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rooms

Rooms

In all those big bright rooms you see
Alone at night and all at sea
Perhaps inside there's someone there
Locked up beneath the attic stairs.
And I wonder just how can it be
While Mugs and Co. are having tea
Spread out in other rooms although
With curtains when you learn too slow
That two and two add up no more
And algebra unlocks the door
That leads you down past Friday night
Through blackboard jungles ruled in fright
On walls that trap the candlelight.
Where shadows steal away like ghosts
The cheques they sent you in the post
As Charm lays on in lots of jokes
The planning application strokes
Then files away through public bars
With deputies and senators
Who standing orders all agreed
With chairs and tables who decreed
For sound pure economic sense
That tax on virtue recompense
The once removed from minding hens
Their shiny new Mercedes Benz.
While trial runs that never end
With silk and briefs reward their friends
Who'd charge an arm and leg to plead
The law according to their needs.
A mean result you may depend
When you've broken down around the bend
Where doctor who what where and when
He'll diagnose you with his pen
And casting bones discern what ills
Will supplement his purse until
The patients waiting patient here
Pass on in corridors of fear
These rooms go on for years and years.
That's right....just rest!
These gentlemen know best
Your eyes....and watch the clock
Time flies.
Photograph: The river Boyne
at Dalgan Park/2007

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Dead Lines

Dead Lines

Dead Lines
Reduced to clear
In easy pieces.

Everything must go.
Fine things on top
Of the food chain.

Old familiars,
Heads bent
In soap opera
Certainty.
Stepping around
The Big Issues
Waiting for
The penny to
drop.
Photograph: Trim Castle
Started in 1173.
Taken from across
the Boyne. 2007.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Party Lines

Party Lines

You know how it is.
That knock on the door.
The face you haven't
seen for years.
The spiel.
The handout.
The promise that
this time it'll be
different.
Everything fleesed!
The cut of him.

And the long spoon
in the drawer.
The long knife
as well.
Photograph: A bridge over
the river Skane.
Dalgan Park/May 2007.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Graveyard Shift

The Graveyard Shift

The remains
Moulding away.
Like a passing fancy
Gone...Stretched
On some convenience.
Hadn't a prayer
And poor enough service
In the end.
Attendants drifting
In and out
Dying for a smoke
Getting their fix
From some box in a corner
Plastered with exhortations
To eat more fruit,
Cake while you're waiting
Hollow eyed
Behind frosted glass
Filling in details
Have you had an accident?
Is your visit really necessary?
Killing time!
To degrees of indifference
Next!
Photograph: Sheep's Gate.
Last remaing gate
town wall Trim.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

All Washed Up


All Washed Up

Getting closer now
That rumble in the distance
Winds picking up
Delinquent signs.

Peeling
Off street corners
Easy deals
Drunk in the sun.
Crimping down
Notices to quit.

Shooting up
Back lanes
Window boxed
High rise, lifts out
Abandoned cars.

Flights of fancy
Flapping on the
Clothes line.
Liberation movements
Threatening rain.
Photograph: The River Boyne at
Bective Bridge
Jan 2007.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Satire and Poems


Satire and Poems


"The Market Dictate" and a number of the poems that follow, fall somewhere between the social comment and political satire, or at least the attempt at such. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica or a take on it, satire is an artistic form in which human or individual vice is held to account by some means, sometimes with an intent on improvement. Some people might remember from their schooldays the satires of Aonghus O Dálaigh or Jonathan Swift. The idea that poetry makes nothing happen was lost on the bards.


Poetry does not need anything to say, or anything of substance, but when language becomes more important than what is said, then it had better say something. The minute particulars can be particularly boring. Anyway one does not disqualify the other. Technical competence is an admirable quality but to elevate it above the material is to lend it something it may not have. On its own it is no measure of poetry or anything else. Nor is originality of thought. They are constructs.


Poetry is a medium. A means of bringing to consciousness in every sense. Of changing it. And the patterns within language have the most effect. FM
Photograph: Restored well at Tara.
January 2007.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Market Dictate


The Market Dictate


They tell you it's great
Down in sub section four
On the set aside farms
Where they lock up the poor
Who'd forgotten to file in
Before it's too late
Now they're serving the needs
Of the Market Dictate.
As the credit runs out
On your permit to walk
Outside on the pavement
Nobody talks.
The Neon Reminder
Reads out from the wall
That the Bicycle Licence
Collector will call.
And if you've done nothing
There's nothing to hide
So trade in your name
For the numbers inside.
Yeah! Trade in your name
For the numbers inside.
Put an x on the spot
Where democracy died.

Photograph: A view of Trim Castle
February 2007.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Clocks

Clocks
Life is like a
candlelight
procession.
Winding away
from the light.
Shifting shape
and form.
Beating in time
ever more slowly
and branching out
until we cannot
see the wood
from the trees.
The greens
turning to gold.
Buried Shrouded
in darkness.
Like a red shift.
Clocks should
measure.
Photograph: Loughcrew/ A view
from Carbane East.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Boyne Berries

Boyne Berries

"Boyne Berries" is a literary magazine
published by the Boyne Writers' Group
in Trim Co. Meath. It was successfully
launched in the Castle Arch Hotel by
Minister Noel Dempsey and includes
contributions from poets as far afield
as Canada, Africa, India, Europe, England
and of course much closer to home.
Anyone familiar with the poetry scene in
Ireland will recognise many of the names
included here and there are stories too.
"Jimmy" says it all and "A Night in Provence"
reminds me of an American who on arriving
in a small French provincial town late one
night discovered the streets were rolled up.
It was 10 pm. But that's another story.
The poems have a descriptive or appeal
to the personal quality often contrasted
by a quirky or even dark humour.
Interesting and easily worth €5 Euro.

Image: Front cover of Magazine.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

In the quiet of the noise


In the quiet of the noise

In the quiet of the noise
The moments die
Side by side
Places where you
Can't wake up
The stations flashing by
Like warning signs
Don't walk
The past and future's tied
Just watch the light
Kaleidoscope
Across the centuries
The sanctuaries of night
For just a while these hours
And race against the tide
Conquistadores
Playing games
Till nowhere left to hide
But the reflections
When the day was yours
In the quiet of the noise.
Photograph: The sea at
Spanish Point
Co. Clare 1996.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

In Some Divide


In Some Divide

In some divide
the answer lies.
Between the laws
of time and place.
A captive form,
a chord refined.
The very heart
and soul of it.
The fragments blind.
A catalyst to act
of word or deed.
That single thought
could rescue all.
The prize.
That truth untangled
in its web of noise.
Would fuse the
moments touched
and tame the night.
In some divide.
Photograph: The River Boyne at
Bective Co. Meath
January 2007.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Fall


The Fall

Perhaps some
Alchemist
could weave
this spell.
The meaning
of it all.
That measure
of the Earth
would tell.
What law of
harmony
was lost
when Eden
fell.
Photograph: Rainbow
over the New Campus
Maynooth University.
January 2007.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Engagements


Engagements

Exchanging
Endearments
The promising all
When rules of engagement
A mercenary call
To arms made in whispers
Where secrets begin
When living itself
Is a tribute in sin
An offering made
To an angel that falls
A cross over zero
To nothing at all.



Photograph: A view from
The Hill Of Tara.
Looking West.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Best Of Times

The Best Of Times

The clink of glass
Cigarette smoke
Someone laughed
Straws of reason
drifting past.
The seconds
stretching out
their arms
to grab you by
the sleeve.
Stolen glances
whisper leave.
These shadows of
convenience, weave
the same mistakes.
Embrace.
Cartwheels tumble
through the
Marketplace.

Photograph: Cloisters at
Bective Abbey
Co. Meath. 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Promised


Promised

The garden paths
Could lead you anywhere
The man said
Eagle eyed
The twists and turns
Old hat now
A matter of fact
And the soul stuff
Out the back routine
A breeze
The location was
Everything
And the leaves
Scurrying at your heels
A key
Nowhere to be seen.

A poem set in a pub
in Cambridge.
Photograph: taken from
the old graveyard at Moylagh
Co. Meath. 2006

Saturday, January 20, 2007

In the beginning


In the beginning.

Best practice now
Had fair exchange
Exalted virtues
Order of the day
And bag your
Twopence worth
The balance only
Kept for sport
What odds?
We're at the
Crossroads now
Call either side
The fittest and
Select divide
Make Ready! watch
The lines engage
Then split the difference
They behave the same.
A bit of truth in the above?
Photograph: The river Shannon
at Athlone. 1996.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wild Things


Wild Things.

In the half light
Between night and day

Some fractured part
To celebrate diversity
They play

Ghost dancing
In an Indian Summer
The ones we couldn't
Tame.

Before the whole
Damn thing is over
And everone's
The same.
Photograph: The old graveyard at Moylagh
Oldcastle Co.Meath. Summer 2006.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Beyond this point


Beyond this point


With not the wit to
comprehend
His role in Nature's Play
Quite separate from
the scheme of things
He mastered all
he could survey.
And thinking it
A place that's strange
Of almost infinite resource
Imposed on what he can't
admire, some monument
that's set in stone
To ignorance
And sometimes worse
To those, a plague a curse
Who'd measure what
The profit yeild
To burn the cattle
In the field
And think there nothing
much amiss
What kind of progress this?
Or use to ask
What we have done
When fields and trees
and rivers gone
And those who keep
The Common Good
have left a legacy that read
Caution you must be afraid
Beyond this point
There's Poison Laid.
The Photograpg is a view looking
west from Tara.
Enough said!
The poem is from the time of the foot
and mouth crisis.