Your Field Of Dreams


I slipped onto the stage that Wednesday night,
our audience in rapturous applause.

I bawled my way into their hearts.
The Path I’d come was a long, nourished, winding road.

The midwife grinned, concluded her Service,
and tucked away her fears.

I was born to cry,
it was not time to speak.

If you’d known me then,
you’d have judged me unique.

II.
My father, the bookseller, could not bear the pain
of reading my mother’s face
as she bore the body language and every laboured move.

My father slurped his pints, with friends,
in Murphy’s bar on Catherine Street
until he was turfed out
to meet me on another stage,
with Respect 
– before the cock crowed.

If you knew me then,
you’d have counted me (Eh) a child with Potential.

III.
After that start, and before I came to greet you
I joined the club. Together we chartered “Excellence Born From Fun”.

You, my friends, you know
the way you came into the world of faltering phrases.

You know
the years at school were not enough to wipe the jitters from your heart.

You know
what it’s like to be married to Trepidation, to be caged like a tiger separated from her Confidence.

You’ve lived on stages and danced with clogs
on floorboards creaking for flight.

Today, of all days,  let us join together and thank the gods.
This online day you come divorced, divorced from the Demon Doubt
that on your stage once reigned.

Come here, dear friend, from every field of Earth.
Let us separate together
from a spouse that vowed the worst on you, that vowed you’d fail

and celebrate.

Un-vow that contract with Trepidation
It was made under duress
Annul the marriage of unlike minds
Cast off the shackles that hold your larynx tight.

Arise angelic audience
Arise and sing together the lyrics Smedley sang
Your “Song of Champions”,
Champions of the World.

You know what it’s like to be a flower born to bloom on stage.
Rise up
and Promise
Promise you’ll trust that sweet melody of Integrity 
that’s growing in your field of dreams.

The Cauldron

Let’s not go back through the whole story
– who was right and who was wrong
– who was trite and who was strong.
Let’s not chew the cud nor blaspheme
into the eyes of the other side.

All us elephants belong together,
no matter the weather,
even if we carry opposing memories
in trunks weighed down
with the affluence of a river stream,
weighed down under the influence
of our tribe of scribes.

Don’t you remember … ?
Haven’t you forgotten … ?
Surely it was a dream
conjured up in daylight
suffered by night
under O’Ryan’s belt
or Murphy’s plough
– the one she gave away
to her infant star?

Let’s not dwell
on the hell
of the big bang
our sides faced
in silence,
the vacuum of peace
and war of the worlds
we each imagine
the other inhabits.

We elephantine serpentines,
we cling to the underside
of the all-knowing
Red Admiral.
We think we know better than to rage
against the fading meteorite.

In the puddle of blood we dribbled
from wounds our flashpoint celebrated
there isn’t an ounce of virtue
outstanding.
There is time in space
extending
all about a place
as warm as a teddybear’s tummy,
as soft as powder down
on a heron’s breast.

We are witness.

Let’s move on to the pale moon light,
and wake the characters within
a freshly scrubbed cauldron.

#2019

2019

IMG_8932

1.

The year I changed

my mind, priorities, concerns –

2019 was the year

I woke up to the end of the world

as we know it.

The future of human civilisation,

the future of animal life,

the future of vegetables.

All’s lost,

all’s on its way out.

Earth smiles knowingly:

off you go, you upstarts,

I’m tired of your foibles,

I recall the good old days,

when you lived on plains,

in villages,

hand to mouth.

Even your first fire was fuel.

Goodbye to ugly habits.

I love being Earth,

the future is bright

half the time,

The stars will illuminate

the way to dusty death.

2.

The year I turned a corner

and bumped into my shadow

going the other way,

contradicting

the art of resurrecting.

Maturing.

This has been the year I matured

into the light of a river flowing

with the voice of bones

creaking and cracking,

consternating.

There was gin in the bottle

crying out for a taste,

neat,

at room temperature,

as the ice melted,

as Greenland peeled back her corset,

and the emperor penguins cried their way

towards their end.

3.

The year I stood up straight

in storms, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, famines, earthquakes, floods, lightning, thunder, droughts, volcanoes, collisions, crashes, massacres.

I’m living among refugees –

the people of Monasterevin, Carrickmacross, Oughterard, Moville, Rooskey, Ballinamore, Borrisokane …

The Laboratory Way

Copernicus was struck by sun


Galileo toiled on speed


Newton was premature


Darwin sailed to sea


All knew apoplexy 


Hawking a singularity 


Turing cryptography


Einstein messed with relativity


Aristotle lost his bottle


Let’s go to the Laboratory


Mix the chemistry


Let in the sun


Our failures breed us fun.

Communities are Conversations

We are collaborating

Communities are Conversations. Conversations attract Collaborations. Collaborations change Communications. I have noticed strong communities are nearly as strong as poems fit for purpose.

In this day & age, and in this place & stage, the melody of metaphors, allegories and similes is the best way to cut through cant. Unfortunately for many communities, the gestation of the foetus is done, the birth of the Individual has come. Recently …

The Magician turned her back to the sea and spoke to the Wind:

Come join us in our unity. Take your place at the table, you belong among us. Together we grow stronger than our surroundings. We rise above the ground that supports us. Feel yourself hugged by a multitude of villagers eyed with affection from every squinting window. Come inside your birthright, and sign the book of your life written in invisible ink. Let us understand you better than you understand yourself. Let us guide you past the temptations that fester under your skin. Let us make you whole. Our health, your health, Your health, our health. Unity in unity. Lose yourself in magic.  Speak wind, speak our language.

The Wind spoke:

“You touch me in every orifice. Your smell invites me into your cave. I see your shadows beyond the fire where I was forged, your reflections on my mind.  Have I the right to resist, the power to deny, the authority to cry ‘NO’?  I shall not be bent into shape like a plashed hedge” whispered the wind.  This breath is not for turning. You can keep your unity Community. I’ll be no village clone, I am grown to live alone. I belong to a grander table, better fed, vulnerable as the weather, fragile as glass. I am an elementary particle. Call me Neutrino, I am so small I pass through your imaginations unimpeded and undetected. Surely you see my city, Diversity. May you understand yourself so poorly you sink slowly from your throne. I am the Authority authorised to sing louder than your choir. That’s what you mean to me.”

And the Wind blew the Magician into her sea where she went in search of a victim weaker than an Individual Gust.

Return Return Return


To every thing there is a season  
and a time for some re-cycling
all your plastics:

A time to be held, and a time to try;
A time to fold, and a time to claim
all your values;

A time to save, and a time to care;
A time to store, and a time to use
all your rubbish;

 A time for your stance against the waste;

A time to build-up, and a time to break down;
A time to pause, and a time to act
all together;

A time for battle against the waste
A time to fill bins, and a time to join hands 
all for freedom;

A time to love, and a time to change;
A time to save, and a time for peace
all of our lives.

Your Human Rights

You have the right to be wrong
the right to imagine
to love
to think
to feel
to be disappointed
the right to whisper
to say nothing
to shout, brood, pout
You have the right to be disliked
the right to be ignored
to be sad, stupid and shocked
the right to try, sigh and cry
the right to have many more rights
You have the right to experience
and the right to know
there are consequences for exercising your rights

The Magician and the Wind

The magician turned her back to the sea
and spoke to the wind:

Come join us in our unity,
take your place at the table,
you belong among us.
Together we grow stronger than our surroundings,
we rise above the ground that supports us

Feel yourself hugged by a multitude of villagers
eye’d with affection from every squinting window.
Come inside your birthright
and sign the book of your life
written in invisible ink.

Let us understand you better
than you understand yourself.

Let us guide you past the temptations
that fester under your skin.

Let us make you whole.

Our health, your health
Your health, our health.
Unity in unity.
Lose yourself in magic.

Speak wind, Speak our language.

The Wind spoke:

You touch me,
in every orifice.
Your smell invites me into your cave
I see your shadows
beyond the fire where I was forged,
your reflections on my mind.

Have I the right to resist,
the power to deny,
The authority to cry no

I shall not be bent into shape like a plashed hedge”
whispered the Wind
This breath is not for turning.

You can keep your unity,
Community
I’ll be no village clone,
I am grown to live alone.
I belong to a grander table,
Better fed,
Vulnerable as the weather,
Fragile as glass.
I am in elementary particle, call me Neutrino
I am so small I pass through your imaginations
Unimpeded and undetected.

Surely you see my city,
Diversity

May you understand yourself
So poorly
That you sink slowly
From your throne.

I am the Authority
authorised to sing
louder than your choir

That’s what you mean to me.

And the Wind blew the Magician into her sea
where she went in search of a victim
weaker than
an Individual Gust.

Raw

Do not go naked into the flames of Hell

Stay at home with ice cream on your tongue.

In the heat of the moment when Ire screams at you

KILL KILL KILL,

wipe that face off the devil

and smatter her to smithereens.

Remember Madiba,

the man on Devil’s Island

He lives on

Why was Job attacked by pestilence when he was so guiltless?

He’s not to be overlooked.

Stay your hand at home.

It is written

The viper is born to strike

– no malevolence there.

Like the pussy cat that catches the robin

and plays it on

till it dies with feathers flying,

The book proclaims

your pet deserves no blame by you,

Likewise

an enemy deserves freedom from blame.

Eat vanilla, honeycomb, chocolate chip

Consume your stracciatella,

let it cool your fiery throat

Down Down Down …

until the storm is done.

Do not go naked through that bloody trap-door,

there’s a whisper in your ear wishing you well,

a road from Hell.

Here’s why

The black hole was sent

to gift you practice,

patience of Hibiscus

that sucks up the storm

for the sake of the flower

that blooms in the marinade

of imaginary life.

______________

Note:
This is a second draft. (The first draft was published here yesterday, unedited.) It still deserves to be buried for incalculable time.

Someone else might like to see this first.

The Dog And I

There are women in the house

A feast of them in the kitchen

Excited

High-pitched

Well-dressed women

in high heels.

Seven bottles of white wine ready, chilling,

a choice of Gins, ice, quinine,

feminine time

in the back of the house.aa

The front room is for exiles.

Louis sleeps,

Paul composes

It’s too soon to know whether there’ll be leftovers

to go with le vin du Val de Loire.

That’s a masculine tipple

the dog won’t taste.

There’s Netflix for company,

that’s androgynous,

voluminous

for us.

Us men don’t complain.

A house divided is a house subsided,

the women retired to storylines,

men to their separate ways.

After all, what does an English Setter desire from his master who sits enthroned on a sofa

This dog begrudges nothing,

even monkfish tails roasted in Parma ham,

even goats’ cheese coated in pomegranate and cashew nuts,

even balls of something alongside beetroot and blackberries.

They can get sloshed on Vermentino

for all a couple of testosterone junkies care.

May they scoff La Brie et Le Bleu

Sauvages

Formages

Dommages

And when the women find tartes

tantalising

may they feel stuffed.

The jaw that rests on the carpet

is turned away from the piano

the girl of the house used to play

before her lessons.

She’s out tonight

drinking Capri Sun.

That’s one less woman at the table,

one less mouth for scoops of honeycomb ice cream from SuperValu or Liam Ryan or What-You-Ma-Call-Em.

This dog begrudges nothing,

unlike the women who vie for second helpings.

He pays no attention to the hunger of women,

unless they run out of wine,

start telling dirty jokes

or leave early.

Brutus of Troy Was Here

There was nothing cold about it.

The vitality in its veins

moved in time

with my blood pressure.


It was always so.


There was fire within its walls

from the start,

since the first sod was turned.


It flows all night.

There were ashes glowing

as I flew in and slipped back to nest

inside the city

where strangers become mates.

It will be told.

There’s a world washed by fresh water

flooded by émigrés from Earth.

O River Thames,

tributary,

you’ve nourished us all.

I left my soul behind

I went abroad in Moanbaun woods last nightThe air was crispy sharp and stars alight
Out of the shadow of an old oak tree
stumbled a tall figure following me.
‘ You’ve left your soul behind your back’ she groaned
‘That weight you bore from birth and never owned
it cost a fierce fortune to germinate
and raise from seed divine now rests in state.’ Underground, earthworms slept on roots below
surface, undisturbed by an angel’s flow.
My body freed from care in time for life
Immortal pest intestate cast without a strife. So all I crave and relish on this crust
is Liberty that rises from the dust.

Grace

The poem read by the poet

She came – like a story – into words
from roots planted deep in the womb of her mother’s mystery.

She came – like a foal – from that womb,
a filly full of windswept curls.

She crawled on kitchen floors – between legs of chairs –
until she stood steady and strode past barricades and cant.

She rode her way into her biography
on ponies that foostered – she put manners on their stride.

She carries the weight of her imagination on her back
every morning – on her way to school.

Are you awake?

I

“Is anyone awake?” said the man in his kitchen.

Is there anybody out there

whose eyes, however brittle, are awake?

Is there anyone there for me?

Is there anyone I can’t see?

II

What about the people across the ocean?

What about the people across the land?

What about the people by the lakeside,

are they all sleeping?

When will they wake?

When will they rise?

Like Lazarus, or like their sleeping dog?

III

Yes, who are these people

who are awake and are not speaking?

Are they there for me?

Do they have any way to see the difference they make,

the meanings they build,

the hours they swill?

IV

It’s time for tea,

the kettle, she boils.

The bag has been thrown in.

My cup is not empty.

The chemistry is about to begin.

V

Who is asleep?

If you are asleep, may you be woken.

If you are awake, may you sleep.

You may be in the dark
ears perked
listening for the commas

There may be wax
earwigs
waiting to soften and fall

Are you still?
your eyes locked?
doorway rusted overnight

When will you ever earn

the flowers in your ears?

Graveyards are singing,

welcome the sound of dawning insight,

clasp the stave of whispering shadow.

Enter the Beast

She’s crossing muddy waters (song lyrics)

[In honour of Robbin T Milne, painter]

Hang up, hang up

Your summer brushes,

Your daytime rushes

Your morning blushes

Hang up, hang up

She’s crossing muddy waters

Going out on the tide

She is crossing muddy waters

Heading for the other side

Because she has to earn her living

Needs more food to keep her going

The paint, it doesn’t come free

Her paintings don’t grow on trees

Hang up, hang up

Those summer brushes,

Your daytime rushes

Those morning blushes

Hang up, hang up

She’s crossing muddy waters

Hanging out upon the sand

She’s crossing muddy waters

She knows you’ll understand

Because her shoes have all worn thin

And her makeup’s all run dry

You know she’ll never win

Until she can afford to cry.

Hang up, hang up

Your summer brushes,

Your daytime rushes

Your morning blushes

Hang up, hang up

She’s crossing muddy waters

Wading through a cotton field

She’s crossing muddy waters

She’ll never ever yield

Because her eyes are losing light

The glass cracked and out of date

You’ll see her virtigo

And always running late

Hang up, hang up

Those summer brushes,

Those daytime rushes

Those morning blushes

Hang up, hang up …

Did Wordsworth capture daffodils?

Did Wordsworth capture daffodils the way bees in my garden capture nectar?

Did DaVinci capture Mona Lisa’s smile the way black birds capture earthworms?

Did Rodin capture the Gates of Hell like Elton John captured Candles in the Wind?

Was Abelard accurate when he said Heloise captured his heart?

And what about Dante’s Beatrice – was anyone captured?

Did my lover capture me?

Have I captured my love?

The way my earthworms capture …

The way Ansel Adams captured Yesemone

And Walt Whitman captured America.

Have you captured anything recently?

A poem in my pocket

I have a poem in my pocket called itch.

It doesn’t have a name, and it certainly doesn’t have a first or last line.

For all I know it might be an epic, or an epigram.

I don’t know when it’s going to come out, when it will reveal its proclivities, what it’ll mean to my grandchildren.

If it collapses, I don’t know how I will feel.

If it turns into a cancer, I don’t know what I’ll do about it.

I don’t think there is a cure – but there might be a remission.

Louis is an English Setter, probably failed his training as a gundog.

Someone gave him to a rescue centre in Cork. All he wants is attention.

He’s a bit of an itch.

He might be the hero of the poem.