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.

Mariposas

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.

http://www.southdublinlibraries.ie/news/2018/04/winners-4th-annual-ballyroan-library-poetry-competition

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

floating

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

swallows

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

balanced

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)

Settlings

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)

Sample tanka from Thames Way

Here are some sample tanka from Thames Way. Thames Way was published in 2015 by Alba Publishing (http://www.albapublishing.com). If you wish to get a copy of Thames Way please contact me using the contact page.

I wrote Thames Way when I walked the River Thames from London city to its source during the summers of 2011 and 2012. The collection reflects my journey.

There are some differences between haiku and tanka. Haiku are usually in three lines but can be arranged in one line, two lines or even in four lines. Tanka are always in five lines. In terms of subject matter and treatment tanka generally allow the writer to put themselves into the poem more so than haiku. Tanka kind of tell a story more so than haiku. Personally I treat tanka as ‘roomy’ haiku that allow more freedom.

pungent grass, cowslip

bull thistle, bluebell

in the docklands –

a grasshopper beats in synch

to the drilling

fountain water sprays

up and down

with children laughing –

one mother reaches

for a quick kiss

foam and scum

whirl in the canal

dancing atoms –

galaxies circle

in space

water

over the wide wear

echoing

long after I have

moved on

I come across

a couple who wait

for me to smile

as I wait for them to smile –

we pass on

a bubble goes

round and round

in the puddle –

I go on and on

in rain or sunshine

crickets sing

to each other

with fast wings –

the air humid

with desire

my legs resting

at last

journey’s end

dust settles

on the train platform

Sample haiku

The following are some haiku of mine that were published in various literary journals. Credits notes are at the end.

park pond –

the sun shattered into

a thousand sparks

(A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014)

dark road –

a coil of roadwork lights

guiding my way

(Stone After Stone: Haiku Ireland Anthology 2017)

counting clouds:

in the sky

on the lake

(Meltdown Anthology: Hailstones Haiku Circle 2013)

black day –

rain flows down in veins

on the bus windows

(Blithe Spirit August 2016)

wooden seashell

carved with an ear-hole

listening …

(Shamrock No. 19 – 2010)

abandoned hut

a snowflake falls

through the open window

(Modern Haiku 48:2 Summer 2017)

lighthouse wall waves licking it away

(Frogpond 37:2 Spring/Summer 2014)