In Glendalough Wood: A Poem

A poem called In Glendalough Wood appeared in issue 27 of Boyne Berries.

In Glendalough Wood

The breeze comes through the spruce trees 
where the air is filled with peppermint,
light filters onto a blanket of pins.

I stop on the wooden bridge
holding across the scented wind.
My head churns with heavy thoughts

as a forest of applications sits on my desk.
I am here seeking a way out,
see the tree trucks blocking my path.

I drop my bag, relax my shoulders,
and dip my hand into the stream
know water finds its own way.

Over the Edge Competition: Long listed poem

A poem of mine called Silent House was long listed in the Over the Edge New Writer’s Competition 2019. It did not make the shortlist or the prize. I am delighted that it made the long list. You can check out all the writers who made the long list here.

At Cee: a poem in Crossways issue 8

For the last three days 
between Santiago and Cee
I have walked at a furious pace
trying to outrun my thoughts. 
Now I am on the cliff top gazing at the sea. 

I abandoned my fellow pilgrims 
as I felt uneasy with a disparate group 
from Italy, Germany, England, Brazil and America. 
I felt that they found me unacceptable,
a contract written in white ink, 
its terms clear but silent.

They booked an apartment for themselves
and I was given the couch to sleep on.
I snook off without a word and found my own bed to say in.
I have tried to forgive myself to no avail.
Their faces haunt me.

Walking along the cliff edge
I realise I have always been on the edge
of friends, family, neighbours and work,
and I exclude myself.

The sea is a sheet of the clearest blue,
the wind brushes a ripple over the surface.

Published in Crossways issue 8

Market Lane Writers’ Group anthology launch

The Market Lane Writers’ Group is launching an anthology on Friday 13th September 2019 in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland at 7:30 pm. I had the pleasure of addressing the group and giving them a reading from my first collection Thames Way. Two poems of mine will appear in the anthology. The launch will be in the old Ulster Bank branch, which is now an art gallery.

The River: a poem in Impossible Archetype

A poem of mine called The River was published in the online journal Impossible Archetype. You can click on the link below or read it here. Impossible Archetype is a magazine for LGBT people.

The River

Water flows over the stepping stones
clearing away the mud left by my boots.

I watch the brown swirl on the clear flow
and hope my own hurt goes down the stream.

I offer up each memory as it bubbles out
while the beating heats up in my head

and my throat is dry. I cannot speak.
I am a child again finding my words.

1st September 2014: a poem

The summer comes to a clanging close.
Gas rises up within me and my internal pipes bang.
I imagine the faces of the children I have yet to get to know.
They scare the inside of my head.
My stomach just isn’t even there
and fear gnaws at me.

I lie on my bed and the damn clock
snicks time away closer to the first day.
Do the other children lie on their beds
wondering what kind of teacher they are getting?
Will he be kind to them if they forget?
WIll they be kept in detention often?

The statue of the Budda sits in the corner.
I know what he would say,
‘Just say yes to all of this.’
I want the darkness to douse
the coming day and make my tormets
vanish into soft daydreams.

Chatting to teachers in the staffroom makes it worse.
The school principal is breezily indifferent.
Children play hopscotch on the yard.
My stomach drums, drums in the deep.
I cannot get out. A shadow passes over me.
The bell goes. They are coming.

(Published in The Blue Nib issue 38, June 2019)

The Still Point: a poem

The shadows of the oak trees
are broken into blobs.
The wind rushes over the surface
and pondweed carpets the lake floor.
Ravens go in their autumnal circles.

I dawdle here a little
as my house is empty.
Its walls are my companions.
My usual chair tries to comfort me.
The fridge hums to fill the cool space.

I listen to the waves through the boughs
and I say yes to my worries:
a written reprimand from my stiff boss,
a brush off text from a supposed date,
an unexpected bill arriving at my door.

Then a sudden brightening,
the sun glistening on the lake
and the ripples criss-cross over and over.

(Published in the Blue Nib issue 38, June 2019)

The School: a poem

On the path a dog barks at me.
Fear grows in my throat, my stomach twists.
I remember when a stray dog
broke into the yard during PE.

The children were in full revolt
refusing to listen to me.
I shouted in frustration.

The principal came outside
with a look of thunder on her face.
Later in the office she admonished
me like a little child.

I protested but got the deaf ear.
I wanted to scream out
that she was impossible.

The dog is still snarling.
I raise my hiking pole to belt it,
then realise he is also scared.
I run on quickly.

(An earlier version of this poem is in The Blue Nib issue 38 June 2019)