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The glass cracked and out of date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.

My father

My father was a lion.

When he was napping,

I relaxed into hitting golf balls

over the house,

with a wedge.

When he woke up,

he drank Bewley’s coffee

in the kitchen,

in front of the Aga.

He’d been shot with a bullet

in the left shinbone

by a sniper,

from the roof of Cleve’s Factory,

across the Shannon River

in 1921.

My father didn’t limp,

he wore brown brogues,

grey socks, and an Omega.

He was born before Fathers’ Day.

When I was young,

every day was mother’s day:

she wrote the rules,

he approved.

His drawing room game was chess,

his golf game twice a week,

followed by hands of forty-five.

I was his caddie.

He paid two and six pence,

and a bottle of orange lemonade.

Dad was a Chopin man

with straight-back hair,

his forehead marked

from the day a surgeon

drilled into his scull,

and he lost his sense of taste.

He shaved with a cut-throat,

wore cuff-links

and turned shirt collars

in the old days,

before I was born.

His scapular was Franciscan,

from the Third Order.

He insisted on accurate light readings

for family photographs,

his Leika was slow.

Dublin was “the Big Smoke”

where he bought pipes.

What was the name of the plug tobacco?

He recited “Dangerous Dan McGrew”,

“The Hound of Heaven”

and decades of the Rosary.

My father was a Pioneer,

drove a Ford Capri

for a year,

carried cash to the Munster & Leinster,

and ate tripe on Fridays.

My father, carnivore,

carved the meat.

He made sure

we all got second helpings.

Rebecca from Wanderlust

I went walking with Rebecca
in Moanbaun Wood,
until I lost her.

People passing by
haven’t seen Rebecca
for half a year.

I miss her way
of walking,
and talking to her.

The thing I loved about Rebecca
is that she was deaf
to me.

But I always felt
she could understand me.
She was great company

underneath the birds,
passing puddles,
greeting gorse,

praising pines.
I saw she had her way of
walking streets.

We strolled in gardens,
went with Wordsworth
up the mountains.

I remember meeting Kierkegaard.
Rebecca Solnit spoke of the arrival
of bipedalism,

and pilgrimages.
I have this niggling feeling
she’ll come back,

I’ve even made a resolution,
if she’s not willing to reappear,
I shall reappear her.

I’m not contemplating
separation or divorce,
she has too many children for that

I couldn’t possibly abandon them.
There’s a cabbage white
fluttering above

the roots of a spruce.
I spy cut logs, alongside
trunks stripped of branches,

and my dog run ahead.
If only Rebecca was here,
I would talk with her.

I would hold her, in my arms,
with fingers, holding tight,
with my tongue, ever so close to hers

There’s nothing like an intimate walk,
where, every few steps,
you get excited again.

Thrush sing at the thought of her,
down there,
where the stream flows

under beech trees,
where streaks of sunlight cut through.
I don’t think Rebecca’s there.

I think she’s still living with me,
and will again
welcome my friends to a wander in woods.

That’s Rebecca’s track record.

Two childhoods

I didn’t have much of a life as a kid,

all I did was climb trees,

collect eggs from the hens,

make bows and arrows,

eat poison mushrooms

slam windows and kick football,

hook Berberis thorns to an arrow,

hit golf balls over the house.

There wasn’t much in my life,

I hadn’t anything else to do.

2

But now, with my own children,

I’m going to ride horses with them

I’m going to go to the cinema with them,

I’m going to get married with them.

They’re going to be close to me,

so close I won’t go anywhere without them.

They’re going to have an excited life,

they’re going to be so pleased

I want to be by their side.

They’re not going to have a childhood like I had.