Sunday, 23 November 2014




I stare at the house through hedges
And brambles; a thorny reminder
That you won’t always be here.

But I will remember you in violets
There’ll be no light through gaps
Curtains closed in final funeral salute.

Through mossy gaps - I’ll retrace
Your footsteps. I’ll pass each blade of grass
With the stability of stone.

Each shade in the hedge you planted,
Each bush, the gentle wind you love
The moss that covers your wall.


Your fragrance is here,
The softening of time
In a clovered meadow

Your presence is a gift today.
I see you through windows of your home,
Love thickening like hedges.

(Written for my Mother who lives amongst ‘the little hills of Castleblayney’).

Friday, 26 September 2014



The only thing is glass –
between me and the force
of water, crashing
against the boulders.

Picking up beetles:
Insect larvae, molluscs;
whilst dropping off
nourishment in minerals.

The male dipper sits
on his rock-café –
watchful and waiting
to wade the tapestry.

In this small slit of time;
my thirst is quenched
my senses caressed,
every pearl soothed.

I’m in my element
in the silent fall,
and my spirits rise;
as the dipper dives.

The café owner opens
the window to the noise;
silence falling into
the water-fall,

Crashing the lazy bay-
window of thought.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014



The soil is too shallow for roots
hands smell like damp clay -
an ointment.

The shallow
sombreness of cold weather
people - whose only joy
is pain in daily papers
and news at six and nine;

I sway but the earth
is strong enough
to hold me.

Thursday, 31 July 2014



Hazel Burns well - made for fire
Ash splits and cuts easily. The thorn
is the best. Elders are useless, he gestures
through gaps. His hands are veined
like leaves, he touches his cap in thought.

He is a character from this town land;
born of the substance of soil,
his pride in wood-piles.

A shy bachelor smile - and dragging a branch,
comments on the cold March - his furrowed brow
like his fields are full with life, and worn with the
tread of time, fertilized with the rapture of repetition
which feeds his ragged trouser philanthropy?

Forty acres with a rose-scented doorway to the past, 
and at last, reconciled to being a bachelor and a good
neighbour. I smile gratitude for his earthy routine -
the rhythm of wood freely given.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014



I sway in the swirling spring winds
I am starting to bloom but it’s late,

Small birds perch in the hedgerows -
I like the sandy soil between
Two worlds.

Down by the foams – the wing-span is wide
Dipping between low and high tide.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014



You gathered sticks
to bathe the night with fire,

You, in your element
smiling with watery eyes;
happy sighs - as you bent.

The next day your soul gathered
over your cold body
to be buried under sticks and clay...

Saturday, 17 May 2014



A blow in still from Glasgow
though here  since he was 12.
He was proud of where he lived
in Falcarragh’s valley, not far
from The Station House
where he suffered depression
two years ago.
Hard to believe in a man
with a grin as wide as a rainbow
risng from the mist forming
about the foot of the mountain.

Monday, 12 May 2014



You smelled the lake before you saw
The edge aromas of a time before
You absorbed the tears of a broken
Mother while they put wet clay
Over your Father.

Loosing yourself in a haze of puberty,
In that barren land; you got lost in an
Advancing mist, but the ghost of your
Father finds you now, leaning in,
And whispering through the breeze;
“you’re not the first to suffer
you can face adversity.”

Moved… to another time, another place,
When you made paper boats; with your
Dad’s fragile breath whispers of wonder
Setting them free….
You look to the sky and feel, you sense
A different sphere and know…. Your Father
Was in his element when he was with you
And water, on this land.

Although much of him has faded
You realise this, it fastens you to
The earth loneliness disappearing;
Drifting away from the edges.



Saturday, 19 April 2014



Below the long-grassed dunes
the water-like shadows of sands pass
like time itself…I shudder at the force

of the wind, and the realisation
that life can scatter as quickly; become
diluted by memory, but we always

leave shadows behind. I walk back-wards
for a moment as if to recapture time,
but it has moved on.

So now I stand still, searching the sun-
set, reflected in the sea-waves foamy light.
Above on the dunes; long grasses sway

and below the sand shifts and swirl their shapes
onto the exposed Northwest Shore, a feeling
I have been here before; blown…

Saturday, 5 April 2014


A New Dawn of Words

I try to let time pass,
Slowly - as always
Yet it still
Goes fast
Beauty of Words...

Ordinary life dimmed
Yet not put out
By this glorious light.

Peace surrounds me
Like a forgotten vale:
Un-earthed from childhood:
A forgotten state of grace.

A web of story-telling -
In a different place
This time…

Sunday, 30 March 2014



I think, it was the winding lane that did it – the one
Lined with daffodils (Wordsworth would have approved).
I had my own poem set out, open like the cupped

Yellow offerings; perhaps I’d have added in:  Sun-trapped
Stone steps, coming down from the white-washed loft;

And what the house held:
The bed-rails, the heavy wardrobe and ancient drawers,
The lace of the curtains, and the old dresser,
A range to help a kettle sing, and streams...

Of light across the lanolin floor – peeping
From wide window-sills, with hills outside;

Now, I have to content myself with the fact that - we have
A bigger vegetable patch here, than the little fenced one
At the back of the cottage we nearly had,
I knew the man who lived there once.

Saturday, 1 March 2014




On a Sunday in mid-summer
right at the edge of the park
You come to me;

talking future plans
shining eyes
and a heart that dared.
We saw ourselves

buying a car to travel
down to the coast
whenever we took the urge.

All planned out under the elm
of eager spreading roots.
Many seeds scattered

ideas with wings on the breeze
hope floating all the way
towards the sea along winding
open-windowed roads.


Smashed in spring – the last                              
season you inhaled;
lying singing on the back seat.

The front driver’s side was saved,
letting me drive
to dreams that died.

Dreams have a way
Of coming at you by the front
And leaving by the back door.

I pass it now, the car
In the scrap yard
At the edge of the town
It’s only half now.

Saturday, 8 February 2014



How are you managing for heating oil?
Do you know that Mrs Mullin died?
I hope you like onions with your stuffing?
You said in your text that you're on nights next.

Heaped on offerings of food,
Hot pans make mood for flavour.
Television. Loud repeated soaps,
Water hissing on stove. Potato
peelings blocking sink - no time to think;

Can i help? I question her red face,
No it's alright - clean the windows instead -
but listen; wait until after you're fed.

Sunday, 12 January 2014



I can smell the sweet potato peel
Upon my skin – and I visualise walking
Amongst the summer rows.

I pick over the box of earthy potatoes
When I pull one that is perfect
I turn it in my hand like a gold nugget
Buried in my memory - a charm.

I peel back happiness from the soil,
Memories drop into a watery bowl;
The day we planted them – sowing
Love which had lain on the edges.

Uncertain, I nearly threw love out
With un-seeded tubers; to decay in hedges.
Instead I wrapped them and stored them 
In a cold shed - for spring planting.

I can already see your face shining pride
At flowering drills; you stand with a wide-stance;
The posture of the accomplished soul - your eyes,
Stare lovingly at each planted offering.

I wrote this a couple of years ago; inspired while peeling potaoes - fresh from the soil. The  simple jobs are always the best!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


The Woman in the Doorway

Her face peers; with a far-off look
across the road – waiting for a sign

Not recognising me; a stranger,
She goes back inside, to hide;
retreating into her empty nest.

She leaves the front door open wide,
Ready to greet a face;
I wanted to wave at her, to smile,
But she is gone…

I look back down the hill
at the pretty blue
and white cottage,
her abode – adorned with flowers.

I saw this women standing in her doorway, in Kerry. Their was something quaint about her and the cottage; which inspired me.  



I hurry to the ash-pit to lay them but -
The ashes fly back in my face.

My eyes rest on laurels
Wave their leaves
snow falls
In its finest form
back spring; the in between

Season of words; even the birds
Sing on through the cold March.

Thoughts flit and feet
Shift with care-worn tread

Through gaps which left -
Our love in cinders.

This was written on a cold day; when i was out emptying the ashes from my mother's stove; where she lives amongst the little hills of Monaghan, in a place called Castleblayney.