5 poems from The Singing Hollow

These are five poems from my next collection of poems called The Singing Hollow. The title poem was published earlier under the Crannóg entry on this website.


(inspired by the painting Parc en Aer by Wendy Dison)

for Margaret Fitzgerald 

The Singer sewing machine
was on the kitchen table.
Flames licked at the stove lid
as a pot of potatoes boiled.

She paused to look at the weather, 
adjust the radio crackle. Letters
told of deaths and births of cousins.
She hid them with her grief in a biscuit tin.

She stitched and restitched the clothes
as this is the only sympathy she has time for.
Her teenage boys were working the fields
before they will be sent out to toughen in the world.

The roof is gone. Air comes through the windows
pushes dust around the rooms.
The Singer has seized up and rusts in the backyard.
A bee struggles to find nectar, sets off on a new departure.

Rented House

As you open the front door 
the light through the fan window is lost for a while.

Dampness from mouldy walls wets the window.
A door may be slammed,
keys lost, or an argument had over unpaid bills.
The spark of anger does not go aflame
as you keep your distance.

The shape that you carry from house to house
is a suitcase. The view from the bedroom
changes over the years.

Through the neighbour’s window
a family sits down to a hot meal
and the steam clouds the glass.


The walls around our gardens are high.
We reassure each other that the price of property 
will recover. We keep our distance
with weak smiles to hide the fretting.

The snowdrift shakes over the street
and cars are plastered with a hard frost.
The canopy of trees becomes torn quilts.
I try to catch the flakes melting in my palms.

Children go from garden to garden
increasing the populace with snowmen. 
Gradually all the houses are blanketed
and become one common colour.

The Bay

The bay is shaped like a horseshoe.
Sand fills the pools, algae covers the rocks.
The wash comes in then backs out with a crash. 
My debts pile up, dragging me down.
I lost my job and my world shakes.
I run to clear my head, my thoughts pound.
I walk to find an answer
leave an imprint of feet in the sand,
release my thoughts into the waves.
When the waves pull back, the shingle shines
in rusted browns, yellows, reds and blues.

The Red Line Tram

On the way home
a father and his little girl stand.
He has just enough room to kneel down
and take out from a buggy

a tray of sushi and turn around to his daughter.
He opens it and picks out one roll,
green seaweed, rice, and pink ginger.
He places it delicately into her mouth.

She eats it without a slurp,
this slow ceremony keeps going
despite the juddering of the tram
and the passengers slipping out.

He takes out a bottle of water
and lets its coolness flow down her throat.
She makes the water slosh up in the bottle
then he wipes her lips with his finger.

The tram picks up speed
the buggy moves untethered,
bumps into obstacles 
and rolls further down the aisle out of reach.

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