Maureen

Maureen. pic

 

so many words came tumbling out

as if they had been uncorked from this little

Irish woman from Waterford

in front of her the river shone and curved around a weir

white water crashing on the rim of its soft flowing surface

and in the far distance her memories

a fugue set against the towpath with its runners, couples

and people ambling with dogs all unaware of her in her pool

an island on a bend of a fictional river with her husband

who passed away in 2014 – she lets us know of her childhood across

the water, one of nine from Waterford  “where the crystal comes from”

that last with a knowing twinkle in her eyes

of how long ago Edward came to her home town on holiday with friends

and quite by heavenly happenstance they struck up a dialogue

that developed and grew into marriage and a family of their own

he, being a dab hand at everything around the house left her with

a sturdy ship but how she misses him, his presence almost tangible

she sheds a tear and smiles thanking us for listening

 at the end when we make to leave she says

“you’ve made my day”

Danger of death

Danger of death. pic

this atmosphere of dread entangling all zones

of consciousness – the world and it’s dominions

touched – or yet to be – so that we are – under threat

 the rule makers, those commissioners for oaths

are forced to make declarations and restrictions on our wants

so that we are quarantined, our migratory instincts curtailed

smudged into this collective sense of loss

yet those with  most to lose become, for once, the most compliant

and quick to judge

they will signal their conformity, their love of all humanity

for as long as this shall last

because when it is over they will resume their dominance

over flat dwellers, the disadvantaged and plain poor saying

” so life goes on, we have weathered that”

taking off their gloves and masks to reassert the status quo

and leave, as ever, history to do the decent thing and remember

the ones who died, businesses gone under and lives shattered by

confinement and all that mortal pressure

so that in times to come park benches up and down the land

will have inscriptions to lost ones and heroes who failed to emerge

from that time ‘we’ marked as COVID, a pandemic

that came and went as auguries do, in thirds

dream, nightmare and presentiment

for the herd mentality, a doltish selfishness and all those small tics

were magnified, so now we must hope for common blood and bonds

to form and take us forward as friends risen from adversity

able gently at some future time to observe those legends

Mother

Mother. pic

 

In the garden leaning against an old water tank

that we use to contain the roots of decorative bamboo

leans a wooden cross with a small brass plaque

which marks the fact of my Mother’s passing away

on the 26th of July 2014  “Wally” Much loved by all

It is my own last claim on my mother whose selfless love

was most evident for all the time I can remember

so there it is – like a lighthouse that radiates a soft lament

even as I grow old and speculate

on the dwindling circumference of my life

I feel it’s pulse. Her very own eulogy

and know in time my time will come

and I too may be a legend leaning

in a garden somewhere still thought of

in a beating heart

Kalami Bay. Corfu.

The White House

 

Half a moon rising over my left shoulder. The sound of water lapping in the bay. Murmurs of tyres on the winding roads and children’s voices rising softly from a distance come in and out of play. Otherwise it is peaceful. Yellow and orange lights form tapers in the water. It is a mood I am comfortable in.

Downfall

Downfall. pic

 

yesterday the drive was a dustbowl

throwing up swirls of fine dirt in skittish air

then overnight I woke to the sounds

of wet soldiers feet marching a tattoo

on glass and brick and stamping on the very earth

that had so recently been raised in mutiny

hot light shrieked and tore at the curtains

followed by the portentous roll of the wall of sound

clouds make as they collide, a herald for

the teeming mass of tears unleashed in war

as I lay in dry, warm peace, a double glazed

window pane away from the fray

harboured in sheets that would comfort me

until the dawn could rise and reveal

what happened without and beyond  my complacency

Yes, the soil turned by dervishes will now be tame

and the once arid landscape is now lush

in honour of the gods of the night just gone

so I look out now on a grateful scene with leaves and shoots

roots and greening grass replete

all sated by conflicts the elements dictated

now gone, moved on by angels and their laments

for casualties and needless deaths

forgetful,

 the weather marches on precipitating yet more dreams

If only war were so benign.

Slide and Seek

austrian-tirol-for-poem

 

A cold line of crooked teeth

against the blue horizon

are capped-white enigma’s

Remainders of a broken jaw

woven into a map

 

Striated flank of mountain range

Game to conquer. Level with?

So, hoisted on cables that strain toward heaven

a wind screeching to howl

amongst the twisted metal, a filigree in rare air

 

We, romantic gods go offering

praise on soft white loins

bared below nominated peaks

then gondolas disgorge swaddled beings

on sticks, to conquer half tamed swathes of mountain side

 

A world inverted, beyond vanity

it’s snow raked by wind and tides of moon

the pliant mountain flesh is strafed by

chromosomes and hieroglyphs

garish

pulsating on selfish whims and adrenalin

 

Until natural forces take her back

and offer up another view.

By the Bye

 

 by-the-bye

The sky vibrates. It’s colour’s stretched

on winds that make

space

elastic

 

Tourists fly in capsules

enacting the selfish irony of leisure

that travel somehow

broadens the mind

 

We brag with foreign trophies

that our lives are full

and meaningful. Blind perhaps that we are

the forebears of extinction

 

Those silver fish that glint

high in super-cooled blue air

we glimpse with the gift of gravity

are shards of conscience. Pin pricks in flight

 

Our borrowed time is the inheritance

of us. Our genes. Our simple proclivity

to see only what’s in the frame

To stall in ignorance. The complicity of fate.

Leonard Cohen

 

leonard-cohen-a-tribute

 

 

Those gifts were not

from a solemn man

‘ You want it darker’

was a parting salvo

to those of us who loved ,

his words

and will forever be in tune

with a man who mastered melancholy

and exists now beyond the grasp

of anything that could hold him down.

He leaves within me the residue

of a man I never met but feel

I knew

He leaves me lighter

He blessed my soul

So long

You have not gone