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First time I've been
translated into Spanish.

First time I've seen myself
set out like - this:

Dónall Dempsey
— even put the fada on my Ó —

(1956 – )

Open brackets(then date then dash
then empty space)close brackets.

" you can
excuse that would be me

you'er very own personal
en dash!"

It looked very pleased
with itself.

"You know for yoking dates together
and so...."
it said all too knowingly.

"Yes yes I know but why
are you talking to me now!"

I said annoyed and frightened

"If you could inform me when
you are going to go so...

I could complete my function
so to speak!"

I snapped the book shut.
Had a cup of tea.

My demise now
written upon the air.

      "But at my back I always hear
Time's winged en dash hurrying near;

And yonder all before me lie
Deserts of vast eternity"

Knowing there will come a day
when that en dash will

stick its knife in
for that "Et tu, Brute!" moment.

You were always
the bit

where the map creased & tore
leaving us unsure

looking through a hole
at our own big toe.

You were always
the bit

where the map was folded in four
and had to be awkwardly unfolded

just to see
where you were.

You were always
the bit

that was just off this map

ending in mid air...

...see next map:

...the missing map!

You were always
the lost map.

You were often
the wrong map.

The map that there was... map of:

her head all algebra
trigonometry and Heaney

her mind crept
nearer & nearer...him
longing just to touch his...

she watched a trickle of sweat
make its way down his neck
imagined herself

it is the end of WW1
thank heaven for that
she watches him....mmmm...stretch...yawn

his name surrounded
by doodled hearts and flowers
her first poem....ahem...HYMN TO HIM

she had eyes only for him
he had eyes only for Siobhan Winterson
she hated Siobhan Winterson

oh my God oh my God oh
he just looked. . .
. . .past me

oh please oh please oh please
look at me
he doesn't give her a second look

she cries herself asleep
dreams of him
requiting her unrequited love

years years later
two kids and a divorce later
HYMN TO HIM in a battered shoebox

she reads her
13 year old self
sobs her heart out

You bloom
in my mind

like a fast forward
film of a flower

going from seed to blossom
in a second or seven

I looking down
from on high

as you pass by
under the bridge

you " no bigger
than your head"

that line from Lear

a chestnut red
flowing over your shoulders

you the only one
with head uncovered

everyone else
suddenly become

an umbrella
with legs

a river of people flowing
down the street

like different
coloured leaves

and you look up
and even from this distance

of several
years or more

your smile
the only thing

I see. . .


to take that
from me.



Westron wynde, when wyll thow blow
The smalle rayne downe can rayne?
Cryst yf my love were in my armys,
And I yn my bed agayne!
Sep 3 · 67

the sea louder in the dark
throwing off its shackles
walking into town

mystified seagulls
flying over with a caw
a sea no longer there

a tram screeching
on its points
the sea jumps aboard

the sea sat at the bar
somehow getting its vast bulk
perched upon a high stool

the sea enjoying the karaoke
singing along to The Honeydippers
eating bag after bag of peanuts

"Have ye no beds to go home to!"
barks a barman
his belly slopping over his belt

the sea happy
to escape itself
even for the time being

drunk on being
human if only for a while
the sea staggers back to the shore


I don't think this really happened at all. I think the sea got drunk on the idea of being a person...what it would be like to be human...and fell asleep under a witching moon and dreamed the whole kit and caboodle. It did seem like it enjoyed the experience though.
Sep 1 · 44

He smiles
in the mirror.

His reflection
does not smile back.

He raises his left hand.
His reflection does not.

He raises his right hand
and scratches his nose.

His reflection does not.

His reflections laughs.

He does not.

"I'm afraid you're dead!
his reflection tells him."

"Only you....
...don't know it yet!"

His reflection steps out of
the mirror

no longer made of glass
free to be whoever he wants to be

instead of being chained
to this human.

The reflection leaves.
Slams the door.

The body on the floor
does not even hear him

. . .go. . .
( for Linda )

Her first puddle
"There's rain lying dead
in a hole!"

She's only ever
seen rain fall
not trapped in a *** hole.

"Why doesn't it
crawl out
and fall up?"

I see it happen
in thought if not in deed.

I have to admit
I'd never thought of it

Now she's all
grown up and
doesn't even remember it.

We meet a modern
day puddle and
she's puzzled...when I say:

"Why doesn't it
crawl out
and fall up?"

"Oh Da...!" she sighs
"How do you ever
think of such...things?"


Henri Nouwen once said:

"Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving.
We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life...all of our life."

Or a way of seeing her world as only she could and letting you enter into her state of mind so that a mere puddle became a wondrous thing to child was always teaching me ways to see and to treat the world seriously as the sacred thing it is.

She had love for everyone and everything....I did my best to learn from her....she was my mentor.
Aug 31 · 50

And love is

our only reality.

We shapeshift.

Become all that is.

This sunlight...that moonlight.

Time forever only is
this now

in which we two

We all the lovers
that ever were.

We each each other's

Now we laugh
change bodies at a thought.

All things unable to resist
this who we are.

I look out through your eyes.
See me as you see me.

You too
switch sides

seeing as the other.

Pristine as a prime.

The world has lost
all form

we metamorphosing into
anything we wish

the boundaries of things
impervious to such love

you the sunlight
dancing through my leaves

me the falling rain
as you sleep.

And love is now
our only reality.


I wrote this for our wedding but like so many of my scribbles and scrawls it got lost and I only found it today and managed to decipher it at last.

I watch the children play
on a sunny Sunday in Rotterdam

like a stereotypical alien
studying humans.

Their cries rise and fall
like seagulls as they swing

sea-sawing or blurring into one
on a brightly coloured turnstile.

A man looking
like a badly drawn cartoon

turns the handle slowly  of
a broken down barrel *****.

A monkey in a red fez
dances on the end of a chain.

The barrel ***** spews out
everything from Abba to Franz Lehar.

The decrepit old man
and even more decrepit monkey

appear as if they have
stepped out of another century.

I am far from home.
The day is dying.

I read from my battered book
Hamsun's HUNGER.

It's lurid cover torn
half hanging on/off.

The park deserted now
as night steals its colours.

The last words of
of this the final chapter

are lost to me
swallowed by the dark.

The barrel ***** persists
the soundtrack to some forgotten film

The monkey's red fez
fallen at its feet.

The monkey blissfully

The music caught
entangled in branches and  leaves.

I watch the yellow lights
blossom one by one.

Houses like cut-out silhouettes
an old stage set.

The last lines revealed
under a passing  lamp

"...where the windows shone so
brightly in every home..."

I laugh at such
a coincidence.

Leave the book on the bench
for some other me

to discover
when the sun comes up.

And return
to my space ship.

His hands
(tobacco stained)

twisted & gnarled

knotted like an alive
piece of wood

scrawled gestures
across my mind

as the sick calf
bucked in his arms
& his quiet strength

- calmed:

'Shhhhhh... shhhhhhh...****...****! '
he crooned

& the sound

And the veins
(like vines)

ran up & down
his arms
pumping crude life

like a sudden sketch
to suggest the gist of
rather than the meaning of things.

And he walked
(& I ran)

towards Granny's garden
(like God tending Eden)

& the gate(a little hoarse)
sighed at his hand and

the leaves murmured
(like worshippers in a church congregation)

& the sunlight
genuflected through the trees

and the trees wore socks & apples.

A tablecloth was laid
on a logan berry bush.

And the young tree
gave herself to him

broke tenderly in his hand
and, the knife whistled &
out of the branch came a man.

And he told me
(& I believed him
'cos he was good as God & strong)

that the little wooden man
(the silent statue)

had been waiting
(all the time all ready made)

waiting to be released
from his prison of wood.

'All things...'
he whispered
'all things are
waiting for you
to call them.'

'Call them to come out...'

'Awake them...'

'Create them...! '

The rhododendrons
were blue with amazement

- at this revelation -

a dragonfly walked
upon the water.

A butterfly became
infatuated with a flower.


I watched
as his hands

...explaining things that
could not be...said.

And he took
my hand in his

and I understood


like a little stream

into his big river

felt God
near at hand

My mind always returns to this time....coming in at a different trajectory and changing the mental landscape...landing in the same but different moment seen from another angle.


the wood shavings
curl & cling
to my father's voice

as he sings
to the wood
releasing its scent

wave upon wave
of pine
crashing upon

this shore of summer
its morning long ago

this wood will shape shift
into a chair leg
dovetailing into

the song he sings
as the wood listens
to every syllable

as if his singing
coaxed into being
chair leg...window frame

stool or saddle.
"Oh believe me if all those
endearing young charms..."

and the wood swoons
to his planning
'''...that I gaze at so

fondly today."
Moore's melodies and pine
reaches back in time

to grasp
the moment
lost to my mind

but now
to its rightful place

as wood
becomes chair leg
to my father's singing
Aug 26 · 41

Time slows down
so that your funeral

and the funeral of your character
become as one.

The same unremitting rain
...hardly anyone came.

Dorothy Parker echoes
the end of your book

"The poor *******!"
This The Great Fitzgerald.

The Episcopalian rector declaims
that the only reason he gave the service

"..was to get the body
in the ground."

He speaks of you as
"a no-good, drunken ***

the world was well rid
of him."

As if the faded eyes
of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg

gazed down mercilessly
upon your soul

What was it Scott
the Good Book said?

Corinthians something something
or other:

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen...

since what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal."

You the great writer of
the eternal unseen.

Now you walk about
in the wonder of all your words.


The burial of F. Scott Fitzgerald crossed with the burial of Gatsby...fiction and reality mingling....Jay Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald now merged into one,

in this constellation

of a kitchen
that exists

only in its own
long ago

I create

bravely going
where every boy

has gone before

the clothes horse
becoming my Starship Enterprise

clothes turn into

the roar of the range
my engines

that "canna take it Capn'!"

the whistle of a kettle
enemy fire on my starboard bow

whilst in the other dimension
of an attic

my mother misses her step
as first one leg and

then another
crashes through

the ceiling
Warp Factor 9

plaster and debris
attacking my clothes horse Enterprise

as her yelp
of help

opens on
all channels

and me Da
quick as Mr. Spock

rescues her
just as

Star Trek

on our little
black & white



The rose appeared
as if it had been created

that very morning
that very instant.

It's newness almost

Grass seemed to have fallen
out of a sky

like little green rain
piercing the earth

blade after blade after blade
delighting in its very greenness.

Dandelions and daises
dancing together

sharing the same lane
with the early worms.

All meeting
as equals.

Not a Garden
in Eden- but Guildford

humble in its own

This moment plucked
from many many moments

as the one to be

Time and Infinity
getting it together

eclipsing the fact
that this is

an ordinary 25th of

turning into
a forever.
Aug 20 · 78

robin in church
hopping from pew
to pew

a miracle
made real
its sheer joy of being

I hum Haydn
to its every step
Menuetto: Allegro

my little emperor
dances on the altar
it has become the music

it gazes at itself
reflected in the gold
of the tabernacle

a host of sunbeams
chase each other
little fishes of light

now robin
balances on the head
of the Christ

this the secret
of the moment

leaving me
bereft when
it finds the open door


Haydn's Quartet No. 62 in C Major, Hob. 111:77( Op.76 No.3) - the 'Emperor.'  It's Menuetto: Allegro was the musical equivalent of its happy hopping through the sunny if it was the manifestation of Haydn's notes. It was a little epiphany...a kindness given to me...this robin was my only religion.

When they were in Rome, Severn used to rent a piano and play Haydn for the dying Keats in the next room and Keats was delighted with it and said:  "This Haydn is like a child for you never know what he will do next."

It was also accidently the soundtrack to my daughter's first tentative tottering if the music was holding up her tiny frame and propelled her along.
( for D.B. )

the blackbird
leaves me a note
pinned to the sky

that blue

the tide
of the moment
turning turning

like apple blossom
falling through my mind

the little boy
unable to believe
that this day is not

made of forever
and only

I walk back
through my self
to unpin the note

the blackbird wrote
with his voice
still pinned

to that
self same

the blue so still
even its self

I, at last, able to read
the birds words
its language a secret

no longer to me
"I  sing..."  it says  "...I sing
because all this must die!"

"I sing the moment's tide
its turning
always turning!"

It's throat
full of song
glorying in being

alive for this
one eternal


I was reading Frank O'Connor's series of lectures on early Irish poetry ( THE BACKWARD LOOK )and listening to both Bowie's newest and an old favourite of mine LODGER. I was at the start of FANTASTIC VOYAGE when the seemingly impossible news of his death trickled through and I went to BBC to confirm was not so. It was so.

A moment ago he had been singing( as he had been singing for me all these years ):

"In the event
that this fantastic voyage
Should turn to erosion
and we never get old
Remember it's true, dignity is valuable
But our lives are valuable too"

I was also reading this 4 line fragment from the 9th century :

"There is one
   I would wish to see again,
And give the golden world to win -
    All, all, though all were vain."

"Fil duine
     Frismbad buide lemm díuterc
Ara tabrainn in mbith mbuide
     Uile, uile, cid díupert."

And  so I wrote him this little poem....THE BACKWARD LOOK.

Climbs up on my lap
as if she were scaling an Alp

sits on my book like
she see the cat do

manoeuvres herself so
she is enthroned

on the lap
of the Dad.

Stabs a finger
at a bunch of words.

as if only I can hear

the words

"Well, it's interesting that
you ask...!"

I switch to another
bunch of words.

She's not to see
the sleight of mind,

"Charles Fourier
he say..."

I see the hope
leap into her eyes

as I translate the furry
man's thought.

"When all the world
and the people in the world

finally get to be
as nice as nice can be

all the oceans
with turn to lemonade.!"

She gasps.

Nods that that is how
things should be.

Leaves my knee
a devoted Fourierist.

The original bunch of words
she had chosen would be

that much harder
to explain.

That the moon was a dead mummy
that would eventually give way

to not one but five
living replacements.

An ocean of lemonade
lapping at the docks

splashing over rocks
chasing you up the beach

being the easier of
the thoughts to hold.


Then my little three year old treasure got down and danced to the Háry János Suite and became a mechanical little doll( "Wind me up..wind me up!" )to the strains of the Viennese Musical Clock before complaining that the trombones were pushing her with a little girl is anything but dull!. She was enraged she couldn't read and ask "Why I can't hear what the words are saying!"

She would also listen to Joyce on record and not be a bit nonplussed at the Wake as she could make sense of the sound and wasn't put out by the stature of what she was hearing. I asked her what did she think the man with the funny voice was saying and she said "I think his granny just died like my granny died!" She was an epiphany.
Fourier's theoretical system, described by one scholar as "vast and eccentric, was only part of the output of what another called "a most riotous and unpruned imagination."
Fourier believed that in the new world people would live for 144 years, that new species of friendly and pacifistic animals such as "anti-lions" would emerge, and that over time human beings would develop long and useful tails.
Fourier also professed a belief in the ability of human souls to migrate between physical and "aromal" world. Such thinking was set aside during the last 15 years of Fourier's life, when he instead began to concentrate on testing his economic and social ideas.
Fourier's disciples, including Albert Brisbane and Victor Considerant, later pared down his writings into a comprehensible system for economic and social organization, with the Fourierist movement experiencing a brief boom in the United States during the mid-1840s, when some 30 Fourierist associations were established.
Aug 17 · 70

Not stated
( though it’s understood )

she will not say a word

like dust
swept under a rug.


His anger

into the bruise
she wears upon her skin

a jewellery
of fear

written upon pale flesh
his hieroglyph of hatred.

Love’s lustre
tarnished from the first

the tattoo
of boot and fist.

Holds her hand
under the grill

until her eyes bulge
gulls screaming overhead.

The bilge
of his vile

vomiting insults
upon her scared face.

his screams in a rut

matching each word
to each rising fist

a blow by blow

He the liturgist
in the nightly rites

of violence
uglier than can be imagined.

Lilies cower
in a vase.

He the high priest
of her despair.

An ugly bruise
upon her soul.

Her eyes now
null and void

slit wrists
upon polished table tops

in a room
now unlit.

as they used to call him

is( like me )
up a tree

the very topmost
tip of it.

Wondering at this
great height

"What must it be
to be


I too a boy
at one with the sky

a branch with a bird

who accepts me
as just

another( if odd )bird
of a different feather.

I wonder if the bird wonders
what it must me to be - me.

Esse quam videri
( to be rather than

to seem to be)
words carved into the living

the wounded bark.

Clouds too
are my friends.

Feel as if I could
step on one

have the wind
roll me about.

a green patchwork quilt

a silver thread.

a mere toy.

Time spreads out

It is always and
only forever.

The created and uncreated
map of Now.

"Skin" or
Gerard Manley Hopkins

as I will get
to know him

both up
our respective tree.

He in 1853.
Me in 1963.

Drinking in the world
with our eyes

and one big
gulp of the mind.



Charles Luxmoore on Gerard Manley Hopkins...

"...a fearless climber of trees, and would go up very high in the lofty elm tree, standing in our the the alarm of un-lookers like myself."

I on the other hand climbed trees to escape the world of my young sister's at this great height I could be both in and out of the world...longing to be someone else...somewhere else....anywhere else...anyone else...even a bird if that could be...the map of the world spread below me...high above this bitter grief. I would "vanish" into bay windows and sit for hours whilst aunts and uncle stood a few feet from me and wondered where "the boy has gone" and call my name that didn't seem to be me anymore. I remember sitting between two silver milk churns down in Cork and everyone unseeing of me as if my grief had made me invisible. I was "Of reality the rarest-veined unraveller..."
( for Heather )

"Ahhhh what happened to the world we knew..."

All the songs I sing
are celebrating

their 50th

Man that can't be so
seems like only a moment

a lifetime now away.

And that would make me
older than them.

And ******* I
guess I am.

And here's Stevie singing
just a month or more

after the moon landings
and hey

that's 50 years
one giant leap for...

And yeah I look like
the old man I am.

Don't know where
the boy I was went.

Time has gone

Left me here between
nowhere and some where

"...we could feel the wheel
of life turn our way

yester-me yester-you yesterday
yester-me yester-you yesterday

Sing with me

solo te...solo me..solo noi

One more time, yeah

solo te...solo me..solo noi"


50th Anniversary of the moon landing and when in Naples heard Stevie singing it in Italian on a passing car radio. Loved the song from the moment it came out(about 2 months after the historic one giant leap)and hearing it now again stuck in the middle of a Naples torrential downpour.
Then in Leicester Square on a surprisingly sunny day( the next day it would pour with rain)we encountered a little busking band in German get-up and a Sousaphone player delighting us with Stevie's Sir Duke and yes Yester-Me, Yester-You,

Sometimes the past wraps you up in its warmth and puts an imaginary arm around your shoulder.
Aug 14 · 22

The square dressed itself
in moonlight

as if it were on its way
to a fancy dress ball

as one of de Chirico's

The puppets
after an inspired performance

lay tangled together
in a box on the bridge.

They waited as their world
was dismantled and

their stage sets stacked
neatly against a wall.

A glass eye winked but
didn't think the human saw.

But the human saw.
Or was it just the moon?

The moon played hide
and seek behind a cloud.

The puppets chattered
amongst themselves

untangling each other
as they planned their escape.

But before anything could
come of this

they were tossed carelessly into a case
that snapped shut with sudden finality.

They were carried away
into the early hours of the morning.

The rebellion of wood
had been scotched.

We used the left over de Chirico
as a scene to stage a kiss

as if we had been painted
into place ourselves.

"The Arrival of Enigma"
or some such title

scrawled in litter
below our feet.
Aug 14 · 35

The moon has fallen
asleep in a bucket

can't get back out despite
trying to slide over the rim.

It trembles as a train
thunders past midnight.

A child tries to catch it
its tiny hand plunging

through another dimension
through to its nothingness.

The moon takes its chance and
escapes to the sky with a splash.

It's all gone now
( the barn of course )

but the house...the child...that moon
are no longer to be found.

Strange to think
a house can die.

A tree enters through
the kitchen window

its head upon a table.

The bedroom
is without its roof.

A door still stands
without its walls.

It bangs in the breeze
a surreal Morse code.

The living room is home
to a family of nettles.

A sofa moulders
a new line in zombie furniture.

A hare stands upon a chair
barely able to hold itself together.

One of the chair's legs
genuflects to a sunset.

The hare hops upon
the rotting table top

enters the tree's head
and leaves upon its branches.

Somehow the bucket

Still standing outside
the outhouse.

It is full of storm
right to the brim.

It holds within itself
the moon of now.

Trains no longer
thunder by.

I, that child
now - this man

let the moon
splash through my man

before throwing it
into the night's sky.

Always wanted to do that
before I kicked the bucket.
Aug 13 · 50

Saw you coming out of
the Co-Op today.

Buying milk.

And there you were
in the Post Office.

Buying a first class stamp.

We  both
just smiled.

You pulled up
at the petrol pump.

Filled her up.

And there you were
taking the bus.

One way.

We both
just waved.

I was surprised because
the Co-Op was in London.

The Post Office
in Gozo.

The bus going to

The petrol pump
in Guildford.

Now you're dead
you appear

everywhere at once
at anytime

walking into my mind
with a smile and a wave.

Everyone seems
to wear your face.

We do the same old joke
we always did before.

"Brother we
can't go on

no meeting
like this!"

Seems like everywhere we go
there we are.

We laugh.
And hug.
('She appeared to me full of love...')

Here in the church
of my father's carpentry

the incense is
of pine

sunlight genuflects
through the window

wood curls
in religious ecstasy

a blue bottle
preaches an  iridescent  sermon

a choir of dust motes
make this a heaven

as my father hums
"M'appari tutt' amor.."

this my epiphany
of the ordinary

this the everyday

I bow my head to
the saw as it sings

"....bella si che il mio cor ..."


You can see this sung as a charming serenade in the film BREAKING AWAY ! and in the soapuds episode from ***** WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and used here and there in Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW.There are also two swing versions.

My Da didn't know any of this and it was just a passing air on the radio that got stuck in his head and he would hum or la la la it every now and then as he hammered or sawed without knowing anything about it! It was only years later when he was 90 that I was able to tell him what it was and get him a recording of Domingo singing it.

Of course it features highly in a certain Mr. Joyce book as well. Caruso had made it popular and Joyce always a big Caruso fan( he had hoped to do an interview with the great man when he came to Dublin but that came to nothing.)

Spend the morning
walking with the ghost

of my grandfather
hale and hearty in 1922.

He takes a bit of time
getting use to 2017.

Me trying to get to know
a man I never knew.

He has a new son
my father-yet-to-be.

I walk these fields seeing
what he would have seen

following in his footsteps
time doesn't matter now.

Time only the pulse
trapped beneath the wrist.

"I'm sorry I missed you being alive."
I apologise for my presence now.

"Aye,'s no great shakes being dead!"
he grins.

I stung
by the nettles at my feet.

He offers me a dock leaf.
"I've kept an eye open for you

since you were born."
he smiles with his eyes.

"Wondering when you were
going to come and see me!"

I look away.
A lark takes to the skies.

"Took your time to be
a poet...that opener of doors!"

Another time opens in my mind and
we pass through the ages

that come and go
separate us.

We the living
and the dead.

"Let's go down to the river
see if it's still there!"

Still the same old joke.
I let the river run by my hand.

He sings for me.
It's always Carrigdhoun.

Here, the river here
and in the song

the one and the same
I joining his singing.

"And I’m alone, for he is gone,
My hawk is flown, ochón, mo chroí!"
Aug 12 · 51

The morning found
only blood & feathers.

The fox leaving
only Death

& its presence

& the gossip of the frightened chickens.

My uncle swearing
‘til the sky was blue

(early morning clouds that the sun shone through) .

An embarrassed ****
like a mad alarm clock

crying like a cartoon “****-a-doodle-do! ”

My uncle dispatching him
with a quick kick.

“Oh yeah, and where the hell were you? ”

I take in the scene of the massacre
& whisper:

“I sure wouldn’t like to be    a chicken! ”

*    *      *

All that next week
my uncle stalked the chicken coup
waiting for the fox

who was clever enough
not to turn up

until the eight day
driven by his hunger & his nature

she stared into my uncle’s cold metallic sight
& the evil acrid smell of a cartridge caught in flight

as both it & the fox(shot through the head)  
fell dead

at my uncle’s muddied boot.

My gentle uncle delirious with Death
the frosted air
stained with his breath.

His voice almost transformed
into an animalistic hoot:

“Hey boy, betcha didn’t know I
could shoot! ”

The good side of the fox’s face
seemed to still laugh
at the very idea of Death.

I whimpered:

“I sure wouldn’t like to be    a fox! ”

The countryside
brutal & Biblical


a life for a life

Yet all I could see
was Death...Death.


I knelt & whispered
a quick act of contrition
to the fox’s carcase.

My uncle probably thought
I was barmy.

That night in celebration
my uncle wrung a chicken’s neck

(the chicken’s name was Patricia)  

& I declined the clean
white breast

still haunted

by the chicken & the fox’s

Aug 7 · 177

Like a perfect little planet
the tiniest strawberry of ever & ever

sat in the universe
of your palm

us two
nothing but specks
(you in a blue dress)  

in the middle of the hugest field
in the world

green as
Forever is.

“Eat it..! ”
you laugh
“ one bite! ”

Offering me the little red planet
in the universe of your open hand.

I lap at it
licking up the taste of it

intense as
the taste

of ever & ever is

the deliciousness
of your laughter

but the money
in the meter of memory

runs out

and the loveliness
of your laughter

delicious as
a little red planet

(the salty tang of your hand)  

once again

in the mystery of Time.

here a flash
of horse

( was it
brown or black? )

there leaping lambs
here leaping lambs

trees finding it im-
possible to keep up

a river giving it a good go: but
...falling behind also

a cow...acowandanothercow: now
all run to-get-her

the 3.33
snorting at the station

pawing at the platform
in a huff

an iron horse
hooting like a mechanical owl

ahhhhh at last

the world stands
(for that lovely little devil of a barber Anthony Kelly in the town of Fermoy)

snip...snip. . .snip
goes his mind
cutting through thought

with the voice of the scissors
his hands
two sparrows

dancing with Time
each head
a changing field

flowing wheat
now bare stubble

his mind
taking flight
taking off

the too much there
dealing with
the not enough here

the making
the altering appearances

the human
the kindest cut

( you want to know )

where does
the barber's mind go
& what are his thinkings

ahhhh my friends
sure that would be
telling you. . .

Auntie Mary’s
currant cake & blackberry jam


The jewels in the crown
of our forever summer


precious Corkonian objects
brought back to the lowly lowlands of the Curragh.

All the blackberries
that ever were

bursting with sunshine
& childhood

jumping into the jar for her
as if it were an honour.

They & I
transformed by her

& lovely laughter

cake baked
with smiles & chuckles

winks & singings.

Me on her knee...tiny
being kissed to bits.

Me being devoured
by an enormous hug

smothered in bosoms
the many many yellow flowers on her purple pinny.

Her blowing my curls out of the way
so that her smile could kiss me

more &!

Me unable to comprehend anything
of her Cork accent.

Me saying “Yes..? ” & “No..? ”
in all the wrong hilarious places

(to my great embarrassment
& her great amusement)

her breath tickling my cheek
telling me she loved me...loved me...

& that I looked so good

she could “...ate ya! ”

Love as visible
as the flour

in the air
in our hair.


Homely little terms! A little jug of milk and a little cake in the palm of your hand.)

A cístín baise is a little cake made on the side of the griddle especially for the“helping” with the baking.

This was written for my Aunt Mary who passed away leaving me with nothing but the memory of her love...her all abiding love...that not even her death can diminish. I simply adored her.

The Cork accent is like fast fluent French cross pollinated with
sing- song Welsh...almost impossible to understand unless you are immersed in it for a couple of months! But of course she would also play with me and make up a whole lot of what they call in Cork...
“glig glag”...silly talk.

She was so easy to love.
Aug 1 · 56

He builds her
the Sphinx

using only his voice &
a few scattered gestures.

Every now & then
he tweaks the tone

& lo the Sphinx
stands before her

ready to bite her head off
with a question.

Her belief
does the rest

and now he watches
the cat being terrified

out of one of its
9 lives all a bristle

as she tells the tabby
the story I told her.

The Sphinx now
living in her voice.

Her dolls too
too terrified

to even run
petrified with fright

as my little minx
becomes the Sphinx.

Or a mop as a prop
becomes a Medusa

and so the myth
becomes realer than real

as the storm
by Jove

throws down
a thunderbolt

and a little girl Medusa
and a little girl Sphinx

prowl about
the living room.

she grizzles
down the stairs
each step a sob

she announces angrily
"Oh that's good!" I tell her

she chokes back the tears
"I missed the world!"

"Well. . !" I smile
trying my best
to placate her

"When you fell asleep..." I say
"Yes...?" she cries
"...the world fell asleep too!"

"So I didn't miss anything?"
I comfort her
"Not a thing!" I assure her

"Good!" she sniffles
"I hate to miss
anything the world does!"
Jul 30 · 25

Spring, hung a left turn
& got hopelessly lost.

Buds: blossoming into frost.

(Kinda hurts’ve nowhere to turn
but learn) .

...left with nothing but a withered heart.

Spring gambled & lost
got cleaned out by Winter & Old Jack Frost.

(Spring got unlucky...that’s all...had to pay the cost) .

... left with nothing but a withered heart.

Spring got sidetracked & left upon the shelf.
(What happened...happened...couldn’t be helped) .

Delicate china... broken Delft.

No use crying over the milk that is spilt

...left with nothing but a withered heart.

Your name on a window...written in frost
a last letter       lost       in the post

(Useless words written with tears) .

... left with nothing but a withered heart.

... left with nothing but a withered heart.

You’re just a little bitty dog
with a great big old bone.

Can’t take it with you
...can’t leave it alone.

The moon is ticking backwards
the clock don’t know why

stars are just tears
that the night has to cry.

The neon dances in the puddles in the streets...
...heartbreak echoes in the empty passing feet.

You think your life’s a musical
but it’s more Film Noir.

You look at a map that says
but you don’t know where you are.

The sun came in the window -
- your love walked out the door.

I always adored Country & Western
but had never lived it before.

You’re just a little bitty dog
with a great big old bone.

Can’t take it with you...

...leave it alone!

walking down
Tarrant Street
I meet and greet

Boxgrove Man
**** heidelbergensis

flint axe in one hand
dead meat in the other
he barely grunts an hello

before Time
about him

taking him once again
far far
beyond my reach

half a million years
fleets past
in a second

now I find myself
back in the Christmas
day of 1067

Robert de Montgomery
is busy
establishing Arundel castle

but now Time
in too much of a hurry

Time can't seem to
stand still
established a present now

where over £1 million
worth of historical artifacts
are busy being stolen

the rosary of Mary
Queen of Scots

chap in Eckington
gets nicked
for nicking them

oooops Time is off again
landing us in
our very own future

and well well
look who it is

Boxgrove Man
some ****** carcass
thrown casually over a shoulder

he grunts but
I can't make out
his accent

"What did he say?"
I ask my wife who
hears better than I do

"He says..." she says
"See you tonight
at the Victoria Institute!"

then he says
something garbled like
"Really like your poetry man!"

I hope that he
really does turn up
in Time

one day
into another

was seen
walking in the wood

lay scattered
all around

last Tuesday was
a bunch of flowers
wilting in a vase

to be plucked

as if he grasped
the mystery
of the world

in his tiny fist
that now
( this now )

was the only
that could be

life is simple
when one is
(Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi )

I once knew a man
who knew a man

who had seen
F. Scott Fitzgerald

drinking a milkshake
in a drug store

(vanilla or chocolate
he couldn't be sure)

flicking idly
through a magazine

( no he didn't know
which magazine )

in the company of
some blonde.

"I'll never forget
what he said!"

"Let's go to the supermarket
Shelia!" he said.

And that's it?
"That's it!"

His voice caressed
each syllable

as if
he were on stage.

But he was like a man
becoming a manakin

like in that episode of
The Twilight Zone

you know the one?"

In a future that had as yet
to happen.

"I don't know what I had

The man who knew the man
who knew the man

who had seen and heard
F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"Maybe a Gatsby or
a Gatsby

who had survived the novel's
tragic ending

and wished
he hadn't!"

Here now
at home

Mr. Fitzgerald
sits in his armchair

eating a chocolate bar
checking out next year's

football team.

suddenly like a puppet
yanked on a string

he stands up
hand on mantlepiece

like some bad acting
in a silent movie

before falling
to the floor.

He will never
get up.

Nick and Gatsby come
stand by his dying.

So do Monroe Stahr
and Kathleen Moore

even though
words fail them.

Yet they now
more real than he.

Monroe reads
some last scribbled lines.

"There was a flutter
from the wings of God

and you
lay dead.

Your  books
were in your desk I guess

and some unfinished chaos
in your head

was dumped to nothing
by the great janitress of


closes his eyes.


WHEN DEATH COMES, IT WILL HAVE YOUR EYES(Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi )is of course the wonderful poem by Cesare Pavese.
Monroe and Kathleen are from Scott's last and unfinished novel THE LAST TYCOON.

I also knew a guy who knew a guy who peed beside Richard Brautigan. He was so in awe as to who was at the next ****** that he peed all over the top of his shoes.

breath & sax
unite to form
a creature made of flesh & horn

his sax calls forth
his own ghost
it dances before him like smoke

he closes his eyes
loses sight of everything
but the song

he plays
not knowing what he plays
until he plays it

the song seems to know
where it's going
it's the man it improvises

"...where the world has not
been broken up
into fragments..."

he longs to be taken
out of himself
so he can become himself

the last note
he comes back from the nowhere
that he's found

stuck now in this
somewhere he is
made ordinary again

now he's just
a man with a limp
just another drunk

his sax
the genie of sound
sound asleep in its case

he hums inside his head
the music heard
he the instrument now

tapping on the table
his cigarette dancing
to the invisible music

the notes
half man half ghost
tapped inside his skull

even the silence
full of sound

"...sometimes I wish
the music would leave
me alone..."

"...the music is like
a very very big dog
taking its owner for a walk.."

"...note by note I am
until I am the music..."

"...caught in a riptide
what can I
do. . ?"


And in Tagore's own translation, from the 1912 English edition of Gitanjali.

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father let my country awake"
Jul 24 · 46

when I woke up
my name...was gone
as if it had jumped ship

took a train and
ended up incognito
in Tuscaloosa

as an unsuccessful

who the hell
I was
...I couldn't tell you

it was as if
I was being
slowly erased

things too
started to lose
their names

looking at me
startled like

shocked to see themselves
suddenly in the ****
walking down the High Street

only a telephone
remembered its name
and started talking to me

in a high shrill voice
"Ring ring ringringring!"
it said

"Ring ring ringringring!"
it said again
but although I

remembered its name
I didn't remember
what it was for

So it just rang and rang
itself into

"Shut it!"
I shouted silently

somebody who
claimed to be
my wife

( what ever that
was )
handed me words

like hieroglyphics
written upon
the air

"Tusaloosa! I said.
she hieroglyphed

my name!"
I told her

for want of
better to say

I kept saying
trying to make it

make sense.
but it didn't.

my wife started weeping
into the telephone thing
and that's how I

came to be here
wherever here
Jul 23 · 106

Grandfather Gordon
always scratching his wooden leg
insists "It itches!"

always a different explanation
how he lost the leg
enough to fill a book

Grandfather Gordon
scratching the air
where his leg should be

Grandfather Gordon's
wooden leg now
a tommy gun...a sword...a unicorn's horn

"Give me me leg...
...ya daft wee buggers!"
begging for his leg back

Grandfather Gordon's gone
his wooden leg lives on
dusty in a corner

I stroke his leg
remembering him
it itches in my heart


And he always dropped his 'aitches! G.G. as they called him lost a leg at Suvla Bay or as he called it "...'ell on earth!"

Another weird thing about this is that he was talking about his father who on returning from the War minus a leg had aged greatly and everyone assumed that he was his grandfather so he was called "Grandfather Gordon" for ever after. His son who was telling me this then went off to fight in the next War that was in the offing and came to understand that a man could return from the War minus a mind as well. The things he told me were what no human being should have to ever undergo and what the reality of being a soldier in wartime actually's **** or be killed. When asked what he did in the War he would always reply: "I tried not to die!"

The story telling is simply me being prepared to listen and to soak up the story by the process of emotional osmosis. Others actually listened but didn't hear and would simply pass it off as..."Oh gawd the old fellow's off again!"

What I listened to was his great need to tell someone what had happened. He had kept it bottled up all this time and now was the telling time....but how can you tell your daughter that you killed other men just like you in order to return to your daughter.
Jul 21 · 43

The silence deepens.

As if it were a living being
it forages in the forest.

The next step taken
takes me out of the present

into history
into fantasy

as if I have become
a fairy story.

Tropes trooping through
the clearing.

The huff and puff
of a big bad wind.

The silence broken.

Inside  the belly
of the forest

where green is
the only colour seen

lies a partly
digested house.

Vines snaking through
its empty windows.

Its roof thrown
upon its floor.

Its wall crumbling
back into nature.

I sit and read my
Richard Jefferies.

A finger of frond
reading along with me

eager to turn
the next page.

The silence


Richard Jefferies...he of the beautiful nature writing that influenced the nature writing of poet Edward Thomas.

Jefferies's novel, After London (1885), can be seen as an early example of "post-apocalyptic fiction": after some sudden and unspecified catastrophe has depopulated England, the countryside reverts to nature, and the few survivors to a quasi-medieval way of life.

The house gone to ruin that nature takes back is my memory of numerous houses I have come across including even one on the island of Lampedusa.
( for Paul Kearney )

The Curragh!
5,000 acres of fun

where a boy
could roam

through all the realms
of a 1960's childhood.

Our house is gone now
only two pillars still stand

leading into an empty

I shoo a sheep
out of the bedroom

once ours
our voices carved in the air.

Here a sheep pees furiously
in what had been the bathroom.

The house has become
a ghost

haunting itself..

I still the little boy
hiding in the Marian Shrine

invisible to one
and all

under an ocean
of leaves

startling the passerbys
with a quick "Booo!"

Or a "Poo to you!"

The ****** Mary blushes
upon her pedestal

frowning upon
such antics.

My shame
telling it in confession.

The wind scatters
my childhood.

I walk into the mist
erasing me bit by



Chatting to Paul Kearney on facebook and tripping down memory lane...he remembering me from a time I couldn't even remember myself! The Marian Shrine beside the church somehow came up and we both had memories of playing amongst a myriad of leaves.

I used to hide under many and call out things to make a statue of the ****** say: "Oh sweet Jaysus!"It was great fun to see people startled out of themselves trying to figure out where on earth( not even thinking of an invisible boy drowning under lots of leaves)the voice was coming from.

My Godmother Breda Ryan passed by and was given the treatment only to say: "Those leaves have the voice of a boy I strange! I hope those leaves go to confession!"

So it was I was given 10 Holy Marys and three How's yer Fathers and advised not to startle the good folk of the Curragh with my leafy voice. Oh I was a bad leaf when I was small. But I have since turned over a new leaf.  I never did it again or since...though now I am sorely tempted!
Jul 19 · 89

now that it had
lost its body to sleep
the soul took a turn

about the room
becoming one thing then

it became the fountain pen
then the ink in the fountain pen
then the words upon the page

in the hastily scribbled in book.
Words of such tenderness it almost
made the soul cry

but souls can't cry
"How strange..." it thought
to be just a thing

not realising how strange it was
for a soul to think such a thing
for a soul to inhabit

to test its

meanwhile the sleeping body
had awoken from its dreams
staggered blindly out to the loo

the soul had tired
of being things
frighten of becoming

too human
of being a poet
the body half asleep half awoke

stood there
trying to but unable to
"To *** or not to *** that is the..."

the Shakespeare
entered his head
in a rather confused state

the body returned to be
where the panicked soul
had attempted to be both

the cat
and the mat
it sat on

it almost wept
at the body's return
diving into it

as if the body
were a sea
it swam about in

the soul did its best
to forget the ahem
' incident."

to the body
it was but
yet another dream

pinned now
to the page
like a butterfly

made of words
hastily scribbled
in violet ink
Jul 19 · 46

secretly the snail
makes it
across the border

“See there...those clouds?”
...that there’s where
the border is!”

across the border

East German cloud
to the West

a crowd of clouds
to laugh at the border

straddling the border
the weeds blooming well
don’t care
Jul 18 · 45

He was knocked out
by the Wagner.

It had fallen from
the first floor.

He had never liked

His body fell
in the shape

of a broken


Blood ebbed
into the snow

below his head
like a badly drawn

map of

She had been throwing
her boyfriend's belongings


An etc. of her anger,

The Wagner was
barely scratched.

But the phonograph
was completely kaput.

There was more blood
than damage done.

The enraged young lady
went on to meet and marry

a postman who
adored Cesar Frank.

No one knows or cares
what happen to the chap who

the discarded possessions.

The poor passer by in time
recovered and went on to

write poetry though
he had never written poetry before.


He never tired
of telling of

his great escape
when drunk.

Indeed he had been
very drunk that day.

Didn't know
what happened to him.

It never ceased
to annoy him when

he wasn't believed!
"Yeah yeah...sure sure!"

After that he never
liked music.


The phonograph missed by an inch otherwise he would have been dead but the Wagner record skimmed him just at the hairline so producing an inordinate amount of blood before settling on a bank of snow without even a scratch.

I had asked her how she had met her husband and she started telling me this tale and I thought she had married the guy she nearly clobbered but not a bit of it! She had got rid of
" 'orrible boyfriend" and all his things through the window and the passerby was just collateral damage. She disliked Wagner and "'orrible boyfriend" and the neighbour on the top floor came down to see if she was ok and that was that. Out with the old and ring on the finger for the new. She had heard him play Frank's Symphony in D minor in that long snowy month. So you could say she chucked Wagner for Frank.

The passerby boy was just unlucky is all and in time came to write a poem about it. Whenever he got drunk he would recall it all. They all knew it happened as there were actually eyewitnesses to the event but they would pretend to not believe him which drove him mad and to another drink.

Funny. That!

I decanted myself
from sleep
poured myself into this new morning

this being
the only body I had
I asked the morning to be gentle
"Ha! This ol'thing!"
the morning smirked
plunging me into a passing moment

I dive into the skin
of the moment
at one now with Time

smiled a second I hadn't seen before
gone...before I could even say hello

my sleep self
feeling naked without a dream
adopting to this human realm

"So, here we are in the actual!"
my sleep self yawns at the world
"Well, didyaevah!"

I engage in conversation
with my legs
we indulge in the first step

I put on the world
like a greatcoat that don't fit
Life smiles at me

my sleep self still
gossiping with my awake self

birds write themselves across a sky
or sit like notes
on telegraph wires

one bird flies off
another arrives
the music changes

I rearrange my life
( your absence )
Jul 14 · 151

"Comes a headache you can lose it in a day,
Comes a toothache see the dentist right away;
Comes love nothing can be done! "

she wiggles her fingers
she wiggles her toes
tries to mouth the words

she gurgles in her cot
waves her head about
hits her mobile toys

I sing her old jazz
standards from the first
day of her life

from tiny tot
to the toddler
of now

she can join in
and sing
with relish and delight

and demand of Daddy
"Sing me mousey
Sing me mousey!"

"Comes the measles, you can quarantine a room
Comes a mousey, you can chase it with a broom
Comes love, nothing can be done!"

Comes love, nothing can be done

Comes love...nothing can be done

Comes love . . .nothing. . .can be. . . done
Jul 12 · 49

that summer was
locked away in another century
as if it could never die

it lived on and on
despite other times
rusting about it

he could feel
the sun of that time
burn his skin

a breeze blew
as if it would
blow forever

there was no
stopping this time
time that owned itself

living independently
of the world
obeying its own laws

more realer
than the reality
it had escaped from

he was living it
again and again
like the first time

the sun painting
freckles across
the bridge of her nose

sheltering her eyes
from the too hot sun
the tomorrow to come

always there
will be
only this now

he had stolen
from the universe
refusing to give it back

both lost
in a kiss
oblivious to all else

he laid the flowers
on her grave
turned away

still seeing her
as he saw her
way back then

she lost
in the forever
of his mind
( Homage to Ray Bradbury's story THE FOG HORN )

the mother
placed her child
carefully in the cave

and turned
to meet her foe
with a furious roar

the cave was strange
all blinding white walls
and flashing lights

the mother  would
never come back
her death lost in time

her child
breaking from the shell
blinked at the curious lights

blinding her
with a science
yet to be invented

and staking around
the time machine
for time machine it was

it hit a switch
that took it all the way
to 2020

the time traveller
and the T-Rex mother
dying in a time long gone

now as the years
flashed by too fast
for human or dinosaur eye

the child
came of age
in an age beyond its time

the lighthouse keeper
slowly turned
the pages of his Ray Bradbury

the foghorn
called across time
and the child now fully grown

roared back
remembering its mother

the lighthouse keeper
too engrossed
in Ray and his tale

...stranger than fiction...
his dying thought
as the T-Rex with relish

munched through
he and his mate
merely a tasty morsel

what was left of them
cast aside as
the waves roared

in the early dawn
they found the dinosaur
curled around the lighthouse

dying with too much time
but still answering
the foghorn's mournful cry
Jul 8 · 92

there was only
the shortest of distance
between their lips

but no distance
between their thoughts
their hearts

she eyes of green
he of blue
always the same seeing

above them
the Milky way flowed
from one head to another

as if the universe
joined them together
in its blessing

stars so near
one could believe
that one could pluck them

the insects of the world
serenading our nearness
with their nearness

the campfire cackled
bit into the dark
the dark afraid of it

the fire seemed to be
always to have been here
the dark grown about it

words had vanished
only their bodies
doing the talking

translating she into him
he into her
until they became one
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