Buried duck

 

Buried Duck

It was Seamus to put me up to it.
He was like that, always egging me on,
slipping out of it when we were found out.

It took two of us to corner the bird,
hold the head, steady the pumping feet,
ducks have stronger necks than five year olds expect.

We had the quiet for it,
mother gone to town.

If we were quick, we could bury it.
There was sand in the shed, wet sand
against the wall, a dark corner,
a resting place for feathers.

Seamus dug the hole, scooped back a grave
with bony fingers.
He was a doctor even then.

Our duck might have been going back to nest
as we piled sand, heavier and heavier.
We were both in it.

He was the one who covered the head, pushed the neck under.
Honest, he was the last one to see the wild eye disappear
under the weight of our mound.

He was the last one to touch the duck alive.

I saw the buried bird lose its head,
piled deadening sand on top.
I wanted to make sure…
never thought she’d miss her duck,
there were other things to do.

But Seamus had to let it out, had to be found out, had to point the finger,
young innocent, led astray.
He loved being the baby.

When mother shoved her arm into the grave, she wasn’t long there,
her elbow never got wet.

She pulled her duck out,
alive.

We need a commission or a committee


[Cartoon by Martyn Turner]

Somewhere in Dublin…

“If we’re to avoid being blamed for this shambolic fraud – we better get a retired judge.”

“Surely that’s asking for trouble?”

“Never, sure won’t it all have blown over before there are any findings.”

“You mean til after the next election?”

“Hasn’t that always worked?”

‘Is there not a better way?”

“To get at the truth?”

“The truth is we have to kill this – did you hear Joe Duffy today?”

“Oh I know. That fecker’s always stirring shit.”

“Maybe we should make him a retired judge. That’d keep him quiet.”

“Joking apart, where’ll we find a judge?

“Noel or Patrick will sort it. They’re good guys.

“Where are you going now?”

“I’ve a statement to make – and after that Drive Time.”

“I’ll tell the lads.” 

“Mind you don’t leak this to Micheál.”

“Hah, ha – that’s a good one.”

To select poems for a reading requires courage

I’m feeling the fear.

I have to decide which poems to read on Friday evening in Ennis County Clare.

I introduce the reading in Poet’s Corner at 8pm.

By then, I must reject most of the poems – especially several with which I’m besotted.

Sitting in my kitchen in Cork, staring at pages, wielding a scissors,

reluctant to plunge pretty poems into recycling

– I need to procrastinate.

Crowd-source the problem.

Ask the opinion of others.

Be open-minded.

Let the Universe decide.

Out-source the angst to my Guardian Angel.

Wish I had only 13 poems fit for human ears.

Maybe I’ll drop a pile of pages over the bannisters – and pick those that land on top.

How the hell can I tell which ones the audience might love?

I’m not going there to please the audience – surely?

It’s not as if I have a book to sell.

[Let them go to Kindle Store]

Integrity, authenticity, veracity

I am an artist – that means I must ignore the urgings of others.

I must purge myself of any impulse to avoid personal responsibility.

I must be true to my self.

Welcome indecision, welcome mixed feelings, hug the living daylights out of discomfort.

Think of all the brazen bastards who’ve never held a haiku, nor snogged a sonnet.

Maybe I’ll crumple 50 into a sack and get a blindfold woman to sink her fingers in?

Trust anything other than myself.

At least it’s only Tuesday.

I thought I had a plan.

Poets don’t write in a vacuum 

Poets don’t live in a vacuum.

Poetry is not written in a vacuum.

There is always a context, a social context, and always a biography.

I’ve been thinking about this in the context of this blog. Here I publish some of my poetry.

I started sharing some poems here in 2006.

Then the poems were put in a context.  They were displayed in a context because, at the same time, I wrote about my experience of coming back to Ireland from the UK.  I wrote blog-posts about what it was like to have an infant daughter.  I expressed my take on several political issues.

The poems were never displayed in a vacuum.

It’s bothered me now.  Since I relaunched “From Bath to Cork with baby Grace”  [in its second form] the poems have been published without any context.

There’s no writing here about big social issues. I don’t write about my family, nor about housework, golf, podcasting, social media, nor my paid work.

You meet the poems as you would meet them in a poetry book.

And I don’t think this good enough.

I think readers are very interested in the context of a poem – as reflected in the other things the poet is doing in her or his life – how the poet sees things, how the poet reports on what is noticed.

I think readers of poetry – like everybody else-  are more & more curious about what goes on behind the scenes – in the behaviour, mind, emotions and imaginations of writers.

Also I may be enriched by writing about the “world”. I use that world to symbolise the Universe – as I’m capable or motivated to communicate about it.  Even communicate with myself about it.

So I’ve made a decision.   [I’m going to sleep on it.]

I’m going to add prose on this blog.

I’m going to write freely on any topic under the sun that interests me on the particular day I sit down to write.  They may be disconnected sentences. Pieces may be highly structured.  There might be a short story – even a vignette. Probably not a novella.

I may rant.

But above all, it will be me. It’ll be my take on something that’s much bigger than me.

[Reader’s can skip all that prose, or quasi- poetic stuff, if they’re not interested.]

The poems will be obvious. It’ll mean there’ll be more stuff here than before.

It’ll mean I can also put up photographs with very little commentary.  Many people are visual – rather than text lovers. The visual imagination  – or the imaginations of visual people –  is every bit as valuable as the imaginations of those who approach the world with preference for sound or text.

There’s a way in which it’ll do me good to write prose. There’s a possibility it’ll help me feel some issues I write about are vital enough to be encapsulated & addressed in poetry.

I’m going to sleep on this now.

For me, this is a very big issue.  Perhaps I’m I’m going to break & remake the character of this blog.

But it feels like the right thing to do.

However, you never know what a good sleep can do to a right thing.

‘On Woman’ by WB Yeats

https://bumpers.fm/_/embed/b40rvpusfitg01453740

 

MAY God be praised for woman
That gives up all her mind,
A man may find in no man
A friendship of her kind
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,
Nor quarrels with a thought
Because it is not her own.
Though pedantry denies,
It’s plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens.
Yet never could, although
They say he counted grass,
Count all the praises due
When Sheba was his lass,
When she the iron wrought, or
When from the smithy fire
It shuddered in the water:
Harshness of their desire
That made them stretch and yawn,
pleasure that comes with sleep,
Shudder that made them one.
What else He give or keep
God grant me — no, not here,
For I am not so bold
To hope a thing so dear
Now I am growing old,
But when, if the tale’s true,
The Pestle of the moon
That pounds up all anew
Brings me to birth again —
To find what once I had
And know what once I have known,
Until I am driven mad,
Sleep driven from my bed.
By tenderness and care.
pity, an aching head,
Gnashing of teeth, despair;
And all because of some one
perverse creature of chance,
And live like Solomon
That Sheba led a dance.

Easter Passover & Resurrection 

https://anchor.fm/embed/a6520d

I rose from the dead 

We’d all love to rise from the dead
and snatch a second chance
from the teeth of history.

Which of you would refuse resurrection
and leave the stones in place
until the winter breaks?

My death was cold
and stank of feces
left by swallows fit to glide away.

I never knew how long my death would last
until I rose again from the jaws of a mystery made
before the stars exploded

and the universe was saved.