In the Bath: a poem

This poem won 2nd place in the Ballyroan Library Competition 2018.

In the Bath

I step in

and skin is scalded

the meniscus crawls up my face

my chest hairs are dancing reeds

my nose rests above the surface like a crocodile

silence is a muffled drum

a piano struck in a distant room

I listen to the slightest flicker of a finger

the shudder of shoulders

I run my hand across my legs and chest

touch is dulled by the water

I come back into the humid air

my eyes full

I speak and set the atoms dancing

Pass: a poem

This poem was highly commended in the Ballyroan Library Poetry Competition 2018. The poem makes references to places on the Dingle peninsula.


The air is clenched. Ember smoke guts

from the fireplace. We speak in staccato tones.

An anvil of guilt sits in my stomach

after last nights crossing of words.

For air and time, I drive to Connor Pass.

Fog clouds the road rendering 

my map useless. A stream runs furiously

from Peddler’s Lake, slapping the cliff.

I return home and let the silence

sooth out an apology. You still read

the newspaper, turn it sharply. In my pocket

a compass twirls and twirls in frenzy.

Mariposas: a poem

The following poem Mariposas was published in the April issue of Boyne Berries. Here is the poem. Mariposa was written when I walked the Camino. It means butterflies in Spanish.


Around and over the path 

are ten butterflies.

Delicate powdered wings, 

blue, white and black.

They flutter towards me and away 

and once nearly into my mouth.

A walking friend tells me they are souls 

that choose to stay behind.

She said in the Gross-Rosen camp there were hundreds

craved into the walls of the huts. 

I count the butterflies that came across my path

during the rest of that day and I lose count. 

Winner of the Ballyroan Library Poetry Competition 2018

I found out that a poem of mine In the Bath has won 2nd place in the Ballyroan Library Poetry Competition. Another poem Pass was highly commended in the same competition.  You can see photos of the events here at the following link. Also, the poems have been published on the Ballyroan Library website. The poems are also available to read here on this website.

Haiku from A Thousand Sparks​

The following are haiku from a completed 2nd collection called A Thousand Sparks, which has been finished in manuscript form.

seagull relieves itself

on a car bonnet

no longer black

slow moon

the same face turned to the earth —

silver coins

rush, rush

stop at the lights —

maple leaf falling

open blinds —

he stands on the balcony

naked in the rain

on the other slope cascading lilacs

rustle in the bush

an animal?

just whispering susuki

weeks after

mowing the lawn

a surprise of bluebells


a white dandelion seed

on its mission

on the hill

a tree bright with sun —

translucent leaves

vigorous sounds

from the young couple next door —

the wind stirs this night


waving in the air

over snapping cameras

the tide

covers the sand

reveals it again

tough hike —

on my way up

a billboard for coffee

taking a break from the hike

whispers of susuki

biting wind —

the warmth of coffee

in my hands

turning above the water

a flock of sanderlings

disappear, reappear

raven on the long wall


a twig in its beak

set across the path

a spider’s thread

it waits where?

through the beech trees

the sound of leaves —

water under the bridge

our last date:

with you

under these stars

both cold and naked —

without turning around

you slide the blanket over me

late in the season

magnolias in full glory —

a petal falls

leaves comings from the buds —

meeting a new friend

the moon

blocked by the cherry blossom branch

drinking beer at hanami

road in heavy heat —

the cricket sings

I sing too

cold sun —

on the last day of autumn

a child waves ‘bye, bye’ to me

from across the pond

one ripple

then silence

beyond the thick wall

the waves

again, again

Killiney Bay

a horseshoe

deep, deep blue

empty plot filled with daisies —

threatened with

a planning application notice

every passenger

absorbed with their mobile phone —

the train announcer speaks

light passing

through the van window

a veil of gold on the wall

Sample of poems

The following are some of the long form poems that were published over the years. Some of these poems have been published in leading journals such as The Stinging Fly, Cyphers and Boyne Berries. Credit notes are at the end.

On Brighton Beach

Waves lap the stone shore

like a child licking ice cream.

There is a path of cold copper

stretching out under the sun.

The early spring sky is clean blue.

An unleashed Labrador runs by,

its owner a black smut against the horizon.

I stand under the pier,

a tunnel of black beams where waves meet

the tinkling music of razzmatazz rides.

Perhaps I shall move here and become

familiar to the pull of the sea.

Up on the pier a boy crouches,

sets a top spinning and watches it

wander from one side to the other.

(Cyphers – May 2013)

Since 10 o’clock

At the counter I run my finger down my glass.

The cut lemon dries slowly, the pop song flickers.

The door opens with promise. You come in

and nudge near to me. We slip out and away.

In my shadowed room I smooth

a tongue-path to your nape,

follow your nose with my lips,

stroke your tense back as we curl and cry.

Now we lie in ease on stroked sheets.

Tomorrow you will be gone. Then I will

face the stale air, an unruffled bed,

one single towel on the rail.

(The Stinging Fly – Spring 2013)

Conifer Man

The fire flashes like a camera.

A green wine bottle clinks

and the wide couch moans.

Slowly the curtains open themselves.

Above the window sill

I see a low conifer tree.

Come uproot yourself,

I want you to become

a man of evergreen muscle,

soft twigs for veins, a spiked crown for a head.

Face me with branches for arms

and your legs parted and crouched.

Then step over the sill and dance with me.

Entwine your fingers around mine,

shake down a bed of needles

and tear me with your arms.

Now I am naked,

laced with your scars,

shadowed by your bruises.

I wake, my head spinning.

Sunlight spills into the room.

Slowly I part the curtain

and you are rooted in the ground.

(It’s a Queer City: All the Same, an anthology of LGBT Writing from Limerick – June 2016)


Seaweed is stubborn here

and the dipping waves wash over

a confetti of rusted pebbles and stones.

Who know what stories these stones can tell?

If I smash them with questions

their shards will remain faithful to silence.

The rain brings thoughts

of my sister to me. I wish I could

clasp her hand with my hand.

The cup of the sky holds my dreams.

I must meet myself kindly

at the frothed high water line.

(Boyne Berries 21 – March 2017)