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Michael J Whelan Sep 2018
It’s 18 years later and I’m strolling down O’ Connell Street.
I notice a rough-sleeper in a shop doorway. There is a queue
for the bank machine contouring around his limbs
as he lies face down on the hard ground talking loudly to himself.

I remember how the investigators worked flat out in Kosovo,
almost captive to the corners of fields and the cruelty
of the events they sought to prove, the soil they touched
became a membrane surrounding remote scars.

They lay face down at times in abandoned crops,
measuring tracks, listening for crowded spaces,
recording the gossip of trees.
They reminded me of Indian scouts from the movies,
feeling for the signature of passing armies
in the broken grass beneath their fingers.
They were asking the dead for directions, the way somebody
might search a cemetery, calling on long deceased
relatives to whisper if they are close or not.

Soon the world will discover another war crime and the skeletons
of civilisation will once more bear witness to its own ******.
As the Earth opens recent wounds I imagine the rough-sleepers
as skeletons of society communicating with scouts,
investigators leaning over precipices,
contemplating what goes into the filling of a trench.

Michael J. Whelan
O’ Connell Street = Main Street of Dublin, capital city of Ireland,

Published in Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Magazine, September 2018 Issue
Michael J Whelan Feb 2018
A new snow covered the meadow

and I didn’t want to touch it.

I wondered, too late,

if ever a season had passed

where man had not left his mark

crossing this landscape.

I knew the lives of wild animals were short,

a year might be their whole existence,

the winter their declining months,

this snow would one day disappear.

I felt ashamed then among the whispering trees,

ashamed that such beauty

could be ruined by a single footprint.

I wanted to leave that place to the deer,

to the hibernating bear,

to the rabbit and the fox,

to retrace my steps to the road

and in my mind

scrape the human race

from the surface of the moon.

Michael  J. Whelan
Published in FLARE 06, Winter 2017-18 – Readings From The Sunflower Sessions.

FLARE – the narrow-sheet journal of the Sunflower Sessions held in Dublin is edited by Eamon Mag Uidir and published by Declan McGloughlin
Michael J Whelan Apr 2017
In the orphanage a child
cowers from cursing men outside.
She wants to climb back into
her dead mother’s womb
and hide inside its warm, soft,
un-edged safety,
where no explanation is needed
or reason to hide under splintered
staircases or run the gauntlet to basement
bomb shelters, existing minute to minute
with strangers until the dawn arrives with her
deliverance and she refuses to be born.

Michael J. Whelan
From PEACEKEEPER collection (Doire Press 2016)
see also

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