Poems

Doolin Harbour at four o’clock in late November

A warm sea mist lies low on the surge
Like a mother cat feeding her white-tipped young
Grey roiling tide licks and curl and spits
Against black rocks born in ancient seas
Now scattered by a giant paw on Doolin’s shores.

I am a piece of amber

I am a piece of amber
Lying on some Baltic beach
Washed up from the seas of time.

An insect inside me
Moving too slow to see
Gnaws and squirms
Not done yet
Itching with ancient life
Unready and angry
Soon too
Too soon
To be frozen in time.

Mad world

Whence came you
From what quantum catastrophe
Did you begin
You are no more real
Than a hang nail
Or the footprint of a fox in snow.

Perhaps occasionally I sleep

These winter days of gales and rain
Perhaps occasionally I sleep
The proof is in my dreams

A grandson stares up at me

A grandson stares up at me
In wonder at this older being
Carrying wrinkles and memories
Seeing me maybe
For whom I am
Once was
Still might be
For the first time.

Our children

Our children:
Amazing people
Crashing through life as we did
Big, able people
In full strength and vigour
Like oak trees full grown
In young summer
Parting the dimensions
With sturdy limbs
Leaving their mark on time.

Warlords

I wear red lipstick
As they sit before me
I knew the risks
Contradicting cowards with penises
They planted a bomb In my hotel room
An Afghan woman
Making history
An independent person
A woman with agency
I love life
They fear me.

A stove lies in the outhouse

A stove lies in the outhouse
Forgotten, cold and grey
It listens to the winter winds
And slowly rusts away


January 2018

Saturday 6th January. A peerless cold day in Lisdoonvarna, the sun shining all day, the biting wind in the shade of the fir tree plantations and high hedgerows blowing from the North, enough to make the head ache.

I took the dog for a walk up through the village, as she refused to walk up the lane into open country. I have never seen Lisdoonvarna so full of people, all making their way to the Catholic church. It was as if half of West Clare had turned out. The main street in Lisdoonvarna had cars parked on both sides, and still more were coming. Most of the people seemed elderly, and dressed smartly.

What could it be? There was no service scheduled on a Saturday, according to the board outside the church. Was it some local community meeting? Or perhaps it was an election, and they were all coming to vote? Or Trump had launched all-out nuclear war and the Russians or Chinese had got dragged into the conflagration in defence of the Crimea or North Korea?

No, it was a funeral. This is how they do funerals in the rural West of Ireland. Wow.

Later, I noticed a small elf waving at me from the thicket at the top of the back garden.