Category Archives: Poems

WALLS (for Sean, on his 27th birthday)

I built my dry-stone walls
In the garden, through the years:
Happy, heavy work,
The most gratifying of chores.
While the light of summer evenings
Turned stones to gold,
Bats and swallows swooped
Under Ned’s big sycamores.

But football on the lawn—
Our game of sweat and cheers—
Placed my walls in jeopardy.
Shots that went wide
Loosened wedges inside
The front wall’s hidden heart,
Like medieval weaponry.

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Filed under Death, Ireland, Poems

For Sean, on His 26th Birthday

shoulders

The windows are open;
Air from the garden
Will freshen your room.

A hurricane brought you
And took you away:
You are part of its force.

The shoreline before me
Recedes and advances;
My boat is becalmed. Continue reading

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Filed under Biography, Blogging, Ireland, Memories, Philosophy of life, Poems, Religion, Stories

One More

A song based on an old poem of mine.

Time for one more,
Eyes are bright;
Wonder what’s
In store tonight

Told me often
That she might
Sail the coffin
To the light. Continue reading

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Filed under Death, Ireland, Poems

Holiday in Ireland: August 2016

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On Tuesday we found ourselves at Lissadell House, the ancestral home of the Gore-Booth family, six years after we first visited it and Co. Sligo. Back then we went to see and hear Leonard Cohen; this time the house itself – famous for its connection with Constance Markievicz (née Gore-Booth) and W.B. Yeats – was the attraction. We looked out at the rain through the windows of which Yeats wrote (and Cohen recited):

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
(from ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz’)

There’s an extensive and excellent Easter 1916 exhibition in Lissadell at present, including a lot of Markievicz paraphernalia. There is also a wealth of material related to Yeats and his brother, the prolific painter Jack B. Yeats. Continue reading

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Filed under Ireland, Literature, Memories, Poems, Politics

Poem for Lara, 10

A poem that Michael Hartnett wrote for his daughter, Lara, when she was ten years old.

An ash-tree on fire
the hair of your head
coaxing larks
with your sweet voice
in the green grass,
a crowd of daisies
playing with you
a crowd of rabbits
dancing with you
the blackbird
with its gold bill
is a jewel for you
the goldfinch
with its sweetness
is your music.
You are perfume,
you are honey, a wild strawberry:
even the bees think you
a flower in the field.
Little queen of the land of books,
may you always be thus
may you ever be free
from sorrow-chains.

Here’s my blessing for you, girl,
and it is no petty grace –
may you have the beauty of your mother’s soul
and the beauty of her face.

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Filed under Ireland, Literature, Poems

A rhyme for ‘orange’

‘Orange’ is a famously difficult word to rhyme. Here’s an effort I came up with some years ago (it needs to be read quite quickly!).

Down in Spain I was eating an orange
By myself when a certain foreign
Gentleman came up and said
‘I’ll give you money if you shoot me dead’.

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Filed under Humour, Poems

A piku

Today is Pi Day, apparently. In honour of the occasion I have written a piku: instructions given here.

Can I form
A verse extolling in supple words pi’s weird, redolent,
Enigmatic quality? Certainly, but it may collapse.

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Filed under Literature, Poems