You just came to me

You just came to  me

To Mike Hegarty in his haven
 (with acknowledgement to Seamus Heaney)

Pig-sty to cattle track, anemones to fountain-pen,
you sat in yellowed armchair, among psychiatric alumni,
released into a fighting street-scape,
where burnt-out cars took place of bicycles.
Your warrior-self listened to every voice
with the greeting of a saint
who wrote with a sun-lit plume.

Prince of the messengers,
carrier of connections,
pointing companions around wild flowers,
through the thicket of everyday life,
out into a clearing, ever shadowed,
ever dappled,
your painterly hand ever active,

you spoke of trees in a family field,
the feed from bonamhs that licked your fingertips,
the rub of the beast that reminded you of animated conversations,
the rough warm blanket into which you were born.
You walked every inch of the lane that led from farm-house,
past copulating ragwort, to a table strewn with words
drawn together for the sake of safe passage.

In that armchair, you smiled through dark-rimmed spectacles,
turned a tongue around considered thoughts
that vied for voice.
In a flash, you held back
eager sperm-like phrases
in favour of a diamond-eyed glint,
before you spoke the timbre of imagined rest.

I wondered who you were in that evening circle –
just as I wonder now.
You just came to me –
as if I were high in a mountain stream, surrounded by parakeets,
and the echo of flowers talking to the wind –
as if you put a hand in the pocket of your overcoat,
and produced a map for me to read.

_________________________

Written in memory and honour 
of my friend Mike Hegarty.  
Inspired by "To Mick Joyce in Heaven" 
by Seamus Heaney 
- to be found in "District and Circle" 
- first read on Friday 18 May 2007 in Adare.

Song of my Butterfly 

Song of my Butterfly

No one heard the song of the butterfly, not even my mother, my brothers, nor the dog-walker who strode by our garden and allowed his Bernese Mountain Dog to pee all over my butterfly’s buddleia. 

No one noticed the sigh of my Painted Lady as she mated with the neighbour’s Painted Man – not even my wife, nor our local parish priest who discouraged kissing on Sundays.

No one found the egg the butterfly laid on the hollyhock that grew from the seed that fell from the beak of my favourite thrush until the caterpillar consumed her shell and was seduced by one of the red hot pokers. 

No one cried tears for the butterfly – not even a plain Painted Lady that flapped its wings in Cork and caused a Great Wall in China to collapse. 

If only one person knew the song of my butterfly in time to sing a lullaby that echoed from sky to sky, we might have paid more attention to biosciences. We might have been saved from the consequences. 

The city of London 

 

The City of London 

Cocktail-shaker for the World
Bridge-builder, fortune-maker
City of greetings, grime and grit
City of tongues
City of preachers, teachers and elephants
City of wars
City of screams and exhibitionists
City of Empire
City of fires, plague and drawing rooms
City of parks, love-makers, trouble-makers, heart-breakers, imperial, ethereal, thirst-slakers, pace-makers, peace-wakers
City of dogs, cats, rats, scavengers and paintbrushes
City of players, symphonic stayers, hyperbolic cares
City of ruins
City of wounds, marches and prayers
City of bubbles, stock-takers
City of pain, disdain, refrain
City of shoes, falafel, matzoh ball soup, chopped liver, peppercorns, cardamom, chillies and curls
City of deaths, debts, resurrections, assumptions
City of refugees
City of the poor
City of the sword
City of slaves, waves, graves, sails
Race-gobblers
City of the clock
City of time and charts
City of natural history, kings, queens, nobility, futility
City of the blitz and bliss and bits
City of the Underground and flight
City of hiding places, stones, Sherlock Holmes
City of reinventions
City of anonymous burdens
Melody-makers, sacrifices
City of the heat and the Crystal Palace
Harbinger of malice
Brain of the Serpentine
City of masons, Livingstone, Gladstone, earthworms, sculptures, sepulchres, sceptics
City of songs and eavesdroppers, towers, bowers, superpowers and sour grapes
City of the chrysalis
Bridge-builder, storyteller, seducer of words, fountain pens, notebooks, fish and chips
City of truth, city of factions, city of the Heath, city of smog, city of the Frost Fair
River banker, clangours, Doppelgangers,
City of joy
City of birth, mirth, thirst,
the witty first city
pitiful playground
foundation of the nation
creation and gestation
pregnant
City of the parties
City of the Open Mind
Martinis
Broad cocktail-shaker for the World.

Reunited

I left the house of my reincarnation
before the swallows returned
the year they cancelled the Grand National.

I walked out the door
before dawn disappeared, drove through a dream
as if in a dismal draft of corked Dolcetto.

I pitched my leaky tent in Wiltshire
’til forced out by a wife’s thirst
for regeneration.

Winter hardened the road I travelled
as I wished to wallow like a pig
in the hot mud Bladud found.

I sailed back to the Province of my birth
in a ferry beset by bleeding ballast,
into the storm of a tiger’s saliva

whipped by Irish bankers, Roman bishops,
windy politicians and uncivil servants.
The rant of ravaged youths, refugees from famine,
coursed through my bloodstream, out my throat
and stained my pen.

I wrote resurrection out of my will.

until I flew to the city of surprised eyes,
composer’s minds,
mouthful feasts

until I sat opposite my child in Southark
speaking of the Golan, green with cotton,
forgetting Masada and the Dead Sea

and lived to swim again
among dreadlocks, hijabs, sidecurls, pale people
and more

until at last I greet myself
arriving at my own house
in my own skin

and we smile again
reunited over broken bread
and the words of one imagination.

Beware 47 year old men

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Beware 47 year old men

They drop like squashed flies
slowly recover into another guise
barely half the size

frail on their feet
after years of fierce pursuit, no heat,
cold comfort from their beat.

Beware 47 year old men

They’ve seen it all before
second and third hand, expecting to soar
past open doors

firm in their pride
locked into a harsh and bitter guide
anger waiting to ride.

Beware 47 year old men

who’ve worked hard
for the reward of a faceless guard
set against anything marred.

Those men fight with flawed spirits
bolstered up on rivets
held together for lovers’ visits.

Beware 47 year old men
I should know, should know again
and again how we topple then.

47 year old men, stand up
slow down and humbly sup,
gather your treasures before they leave the cup.

November 1997

Loving you 

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Loving you 

Loving you

does teach me

day by day

how deep the blocks to love

within me lie.

Loving you

is worth all

mistakes and blind

stupidity

born on my weakest side.

Loving you

is changing me

bringing out

twin creatures :

one dying to bond

the other to be safe.

Oh to be wrapped with you.

November 1997

Mysteries of the Universe

 

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Mysteries of the Universe

Joyful Mysteries
Whose is the sweetest song?
What makes time tick?
When will insight beckon?
How does the Universe celebrate?
Where shall I find my better self?

Sorrowful Mysteries
How have  tears cleaned hungering hearts?
What will expire without experience?
What is hardship hiding from?
Who has evolved from sorrow?
When will my beginning end?

Glorious  Mysteries
How immense is the imagination of being?
How wide is the width of the world?
How real is the resurrection from eternity?
How long will happiness happen?
Where is my land of the living breath?