When?

 

When will there not be anguish that curls

in restless coils in the deep dark of flesh,

never still, sleeping the sleep of cats?

 

When will the day just grow in its own time

at the pace of cloud and wind, not ticking

to the hollow rhythm of deadlines?

 

Sky spreads high blue, so dense it leaves

smears in the meadow; shadows beneath

the trees flicker with wings and fluttering songs.

 

No calm falls when the wind

blows, and the snake shifts,

and the clock ticks.

 

Only in sleep does it stop,

the nagging amorphous fear

of failure, unhappiness, disappointment;

 

only because we hope, is the edge always

just before our feet, the cliff yawning, and beneath,

the ocean pounding on grinning rocks.

 

 

Undecided gogyohka

 

hard to start a day

that seems to have already decided

it has ended

and the sky refusing

to put off night-grey

 

A day of dull light

cool wind

decisions hanging in the air

and the only voices

in my head

 

like an end of autumn

with wind skirmish

bemused birds silenced

listening for their cue

from the rain

 

silence fills the spaces

beneath the trees

and in the exposed homes

in the bare meadow

rain-washed

 

evening spreads red skirts

melancholy dances

in the lengthening shadows

where only the thrush

still sings

Coming home

autumnhouse

Coming home,

returning to the calm

of a mother’s arms,

the smiling face,

sun on pale walls,

the smell of new-mown hay,

the song of a thrush.

 

Coming home,

treading known paths,

touching the breath of the breeze,

sunbeams streaming

through foliage, glitter on water,

and saying this is mine,

nowhere else does this light fall.

From dusk to morning

 

Deer are barking

across the setting sun

a world apart

 

through the long grass

snake glides

climbs the fig tree biblically

taking the slender boughway

over the hedge top

 

in the path

yellow feathers strewn

midnight feast

 

oriole flutes an elegy

for lost kindred

in the gold of morning

 

small corpses

cat-kill

laid by the path

an offering to the night fox

are gone by morning

 

A bird in the setting sun

evening june

A bird is singing in the setting sun,

warbler, robin? A small musician,

while Mozart plays and turtle doves call.

 

Is this happiness, the balance between

the imperatives of existence

and the quiet bliss of golden light,

 

when nothing sours the blue

or disturbs the drifting music

of birdthroat or tree whisper?

 

Light spreads like water, silver

and still as moonlight, the tide

rising, and all I can think of

 

is the magic of old tales and how

they tie us with gossamer threads

to small birds and the stars.

The sun came back today

I have another poem in Pendemic, ‘Not a literary magazine for ordinary times, but a journal for an exceptional one. Writing the pandemic, together.’

You can read it here and catch up with the flow of writing that this project has produced.

This is the announcement  that all of the poems are to be preserved by Irish Poetry Reading Archive at UCD library. I’m proud to be a part of it.

 

Ripe peaches

The Oracle’s message is melancholic (as it often is) and completely appropriate.

 

Beneath the crushing heat

of torpid walled nights

far from the forest languor of pooled shade

moon-petaled lakes mirror smooth

dreams whisper of rain from skies

pale blue washed sweetly

of clinging clouds of sweat

 

~I beat grey wings~

 

soar light as pigeon feathers

as morning mist on a southern sea

woman of water wading

treading distant air with phantom steps

girl quick and eager as memories

shining like the ripe peach

just out of reach.

The breaking of the day

This morning, for once I was wide awake at the magical moment when the night silence was broken by the first bird.

 

Morning3

I lay awake after the storm

listened

to the silence flow back

the cats settle

the air stir again night cool

just before dawn cool

listened

to the sigh of the oaks

water laden weary

listened

to tiny insect sounds

beetling

watched

through the shutters

light soft as pigeons

sky grey as mist grow

heard

the glorious burst,

two, three notes rapid

repeated, then a tumble of song

thrush the first bird

filling with utter loveliness

the breaking of day.