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Mulgrave Street, Dun Laoghaire

This was where my father failed to swim,
Where his motorbike broke down,
Where mass was a perfume in his hair.

This was where my grandfather drew a house
On only half the paper,
Blackrocks in his hand.

This is where my great grandfather shed sugared hills,
Where my cousins bring up cousins,
Where an aunt laughs always on the eastern pier.

This is where myth was made
For a childhood with few faces,
And in the rain, no one can see me; coming home.

In Session 


…and then the musician’s came.


Bringing their landscape with them;

Bounded in the unbarred cadence of horses a

Flag upon the air. The flute


Remembered birdsong, soft wind

Beneath her notes made buoyant a feathering of

Fingers as the whistle chased


Her tail in a sympatry,

Small wings tilting a lilting melody outside

Of the guild. The fiddle, he


Laughed at their dancing and ran

It ever faster into unexpected weather.

Raindrops falling into reeds;


An oboe of memory.

The guitar attempted a neutrality of

Tone (ignoring the banjo)


As the mandolin made all

Else feel undressed, picking a course in unison

With a scale only she could


Be tempered to hear, the fear

Of time a bodhran’s beaten heart beneath their feet

In the Illusion of clogs,


Kept at heel.  The squeezebox was

The first to forget their name as the mouthorgan

Washed in a free-flowing pint.


A pile of pipes lay encased

In a pause against the wall, unable to tune

Before a coda’s tag and


The poor harp trembled into

Every rest. An epic jig came for them all

In the end; with splintering


Semi-quavers sucking out

Breath and unsaddling bridges to scatter strings

In a slippage of sound the


Spittle settling like leaves.

Heads of frayed hair bowed out and the tipper tripled

His last into a slide of

Skin to the flattened squeak of

Unexpected octaves from the desperate reach

Of sour devils, the melody pitching ‘to


Silence. Half empty glasses

Shivered in the after shock

(With the still quivering harp).


A survivor coughed, that

Dark, cavernous cough which heralds closure and

Brooks no encore. Cases snapped


And smoke imbued velvet from

Sessions long gone wrapped the exhausted medleys

Into a wayfaring past.


And then the singers began…

Barefoot in the Dark 


Let me crawl into your voice, take comfort there,

A refuge in your breath, embraced in words

Coiled, a cat, around the timbre of you tongue.


Let me hide inside your eye, travel there

Curled in resonance more alive than air

I’m tripping at your gaze. Remember me.


Let me climb into your mind and settle there,

My brow burns, worries rain on me like stones

But still your breath never falters in my heart.



Once upon a time

My heart found a fairytale

- She never came home.



“I have known great love”

Said the wind, as she curled her fingers around the tall oak;

“And with great love comes great loss”

Said the sea, as he stroked the splintered bough.

A lone boat rocked empty in their talking

As an acorn lay – emerging- from the indifferent sand.



The old year hangs in an apple tree
Rusting by black water's side,
Unfettered by other people's days
It ripens into shadows..



I have stood on this island

By the sand’s hill shore for centuries

Sold into an erosion of shells

Skuas scream the name

I have forgotten

A mind wrapped in salt

Tears at the wind to wait


Tugging at tusks to trip

Sea grasses braving the storms offer no comfort to

Bleeding soles

A death upon the ground

Cairned - unburied

I guard them still

Those bones of another love


Lost before time could draw breath.



mynd I gysgu fy

môr mewn cymylaw tawel

a gadael i’r glaw

freuddwyd mewn cerddoriaeth

hoffi sêr ae eich cefn



go to sleep my sea

in quiet clouds

and let the rain

dream in music

likes stars upon your back)

Night Hears the Owl 


“I can hear the owl” said the lonely night.

“I can hear the owl, crying.

I can hear the owl, crying like a cat

Who has lost her kittens to the sly stream,

I can hear the owl crying with the tears of every soul

Who has crossed on bare feet in the stumbling cold.”



“I can hear the owl replying” said the hovering dawn.

“I can hear the owl, replying like a gentle breeze

Lifting petals into the sky as butterfly dreams

I can hear the owl, flying, as sunlight comforts

The turned earth, and a feather, floats

And a feather floats onto grieving ground


With a promise of flowers, I can hear the owl.”

At the festival
Words fell like rain, pooling in
The Welsh streets without
Accent or division; the
Class-less cloud of a new sky.

Photo Credit: WPF

ne vocabo

It is quiet in the letter

like a perfume that is hard to define

a hug of words

that brings me air beneath water

as we watch the bubbles rise.

A Voiceless Poem

I am digging with my father's pen

the gold nib a flint of sunshine

scratching at pale ground

I am not looking for treasure

but the journey yields emptiness

and the occasional coin

a word is sampled

and others bag it for themselves

unfazed on the edge of providence

I am found with unvoiced ink

and the sentences tunnel through

a castle of unintentional age

I am drawing the parapet now

-but  will not

turn around. 

Y Mynydd Du


Ar ben y mynydd

Angylion casglu

Canu yn y glaw i ddynion isod


Ond pan fydd y dynion yn edrych i fyny

Maent yn gweld dim ond y cwmwl

Ac ni all glywed yr awyr, crio.



(Black Mountain


On top of the mountain

Angels gather

Singing in the rain to men below


But when the men look up

They only see cloud

And cannot hear the sky, crying)



Mynd I gysgu fy

Môr mewn cymylaw tawel

A gadael i’r glaw

Freuddwyd mewn cerddoriaeth

Hoffi sêr ae eich cefn



go to sleep my sea

in quiet clouds

and let the rain

dream in music

likes stars upon your back)


The sea king's

Seal's sing

A soul's song

- Mererid's armada

Dark on the shore.

('Today's Future')

Cut-out poem for the ISRF

Published in the Bulletin, pages 46 & 47

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