How’s your swing?

You wake up on the golf links, as you do every day.

You tee off as soon as your feet touch the ground.

You have no idea where your ball is going to land – you pray for a decent lie.

You may find yourself buried in a bunker, up against the face, without a stance.

There’s also a good chance you may have rolled into the middle of a fairway – you may be sitting pretty.

Otherwise, there’s always out of bounds, a water hazard, ground under repair, even a hole in one …

You’re not in charge of the wind.

You don’t control the slope.

You can’t command the bounce.

You may even lose your ball.

Wherever you are, you are not lost, you have your clubs, and another ball.

No matter where you lie, you have your swing – you always have your swing.

No matter how desperate your position, you will have another shot.

There will be another ball to strike, another hole, another round to play.

You just have to keep on swinging your clubs, and playing the ball in front of you.

You will finish the course.

You don’t have to keep the score.

Cork – City of Sanctuary

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Marshlanders of the World,
Asylum seekers from the Wars,
Boatpeople with seawater and the nation’s welcome port;
Sturdy, hardy, chattering
City of the Big Stories:

They tell me you are desperate, and I believe them, for I see your bloodshot eyes plead for sleep and peace from death.
And they tell me you are starving, and I believe them, for I hear your children howl for a bowl of rice, a tablespoon of porridge, even a saucer of tripe and drisheen.
And they tell me you are dying from thirst for friendship, for an arm outstretched ready to pull you ashore and wrap you in swaddling clothes.
And having scraped together, I stand against the crowd that scoffs at this my city, as if they offer a better bed to beggars:
show me the city of your dreams with choirs singing Hallaluia at the docks proud to hug strangers with fire in their eyes,
flinching from complaints, yet carrying on the twisty fight against the lethargy of liars, the hard-of-hearing heads that resist irresistible grace;
cute as a hoor those occupiers of property that lockout migrants from hell, stitched together with courage fit for humanity
planning, restructuring, re-building
Under the fog, tears dribbling on cheeks, smiling with dimples,
Proud to be making history smile to children of the street,
Smiling loud through blackthorn and brambles, out into lanes and alleyways
Laughing with the laugh of the Lough and the Island and the Well where sparrows nest
Clasping travellers, boldly, loud in honour of half-dead strangers found abroad,
Proud Marshlanders, a safe harbour for ships, a market safe for the whole world, heart-makers, soul-shifters.
A City of Sanctuary.


Cork City Council support 

City of Sanctuary Movement

Places of Sanctuary Ireland

Invitation to launch of Cork City of Sanctuary Strategic Action Plan on March 29th 2019


If only Picasso had podcast

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If only Picasso had podcast

from a smartphone,

on his palette,

Guernica might have had more impact.

Women and children might have brought Franco down.

Picasso might have screamed

“The Luftwaffe made paint cling like barnacles to this bloody canvas”.

Le noir, blanc et gris

Das schwarz, weiss und grau

The black, white and grey

The bull and the horse


These may be episodes from Season One,

recorded in a Paris studio.

As it was, Pablo did the best he could,

to spread his message

like a virus pulling subscribers,

reproducing itself,

seeping into the ears of a few strangers who watched him work.

If only Picasso had podcast,

and shared his sweat on Twitter,

his voice would have gone viral,

Guernica would be alive

wherever massacres matter.

Leaving the House

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Theresa May pulled up her knickers and quit the toilet.

She left the Commons behind with a smirk on her face.

No handbag, she strode with both arms swinging.

Her Jacob had 54 sons, eight daughters and a double-breasted suit.

He hung limply like a collage cut from Goliath, Jonah & Judas – with a Pharisee’s mouth thrown in.

“My whisky, my whiskey, my kingdom for a dram” she muttered to her driver.

Take me to the tenth house, and give me wand to cast ten plagues on both their benches”.

  • May the River Thames turn balsamic
  • Let the legs of frozen frogs hail down
  • Feed the scoundrels snails smothered in stinking slime
  • Grant every remaining voice a swarm of beasts of burden
  • Feed the traitors mad cows & bullocks
  • Give them sour kraut for bedfellows
  • Eclipse their sun, moon and stars
  • May their red palms burn in hell
  • Breed locusts in their hair
  • Bury the firstborn of both parties

And bring me Cameron’s head.”

Diary note No 17 – The Dragon

Once upon a time, there was a dragon in Cardiff that chewed shamrock for desert, and spat the roughage out.

He lived on daffodils for breakfast, and cultivated leaks in fields down the Gower.

He was deadly when it came to barbecuing white puddings from Kerry and rashers from Offaly.

When he was hungry, he masticated mouthfuls of minced Irish rugby players during the first half, and farted on substitutes throughout the second half.

He was a champion without doubt.

It never crossed his mind to mend his ways. He wasn’t afraid of Saint Patrick nor the snakes.

His nightcap was cawl, and he slept with a fresh leak under a pillow stuffed with goose feathers.

Evil spirits didn’t bother him.

Diary note No 16 – The loser

I came in last last night.

A loser, comprehensively vanquished, whitewashed, beaten, massacred.

In a phrase, I was thrashed.

Not just pipped at the post

Not just a photo-finish

Not nudged out by a nose.

I wasn’t even placed.

Everyone was better than me in the speech contest.

That’s the end of my effort to become World Champion (for another year).

Was I that bad? Yes.

Was the speech a nightmare? No.

The speech was fine.

A woman

came up to me with tears in her eyes.

Thank you for your wonderful speech. I was so moved by it. Like you said, all I’ve wanted all my life is to be listened to, to be heard. You put your finger on what matters most to me. Thank you ever so much. It was great.”

The speech was well worth delivering.

It meant a lot to at least two of us.

The speech was magnificent, despite my delivery – not because of how I delivered it.

The judges

found my speaking style poorer than every one of the other contestants.

They punctured my self-esteem.

My hubris.

Don’t you love it

when judges do that for you?

How considerate.

How thoughtful.

How generous.

What a gift.

I owe a debt of gratitude, don’t I?