When fate

the king

the hero out of stories

comes swooping in on a white charger

sweeping up in uncompromising arms

and muting protest with a mouth

tough as a final demand

and the bailiffs already at the door

is it love?

Do I get to say

I’d rather

with this kind of dream

or is it as unnegotiable

as the small print at the bottom of the loan?

I pat the horse and offer it an apple

but it never breaks step

not even when I fall

and my head hits

that providential stone.



A Month with Yeats: Day Twenty-Five

From the lovely ‘Song of Wandering Aengus’. In keeping with the mystical tone of the Yeats poem, my own wanders into the realm of myth too.


‘And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.’—W.B. Yeats


No more sorrows


The dawn is coming, then perhaps the spring,

Though stars still shine as bright as jeweller’s stones,

And no one knows what joy the light will bring

Or sorrows, scattered blood drops in the snow,

When the dream is ended, the water cleared.

Along the moonlit path, frost winter-deep,

Raven feathers lie, and berry blood,

And from the stars that slip now into sleep,

I hear the story of another dream,

And cast a wish into the rushing stream,

To keep my white-skinned love, hair dark as night,

Not watch his blood stain red the winter white.

Deirdre dreams

Sharing the same sort of thoughts as Jim Mackintosh.

Photo ©Stephen McKay

Rowan berries in the snow

Rubies’ gleam no more intense,

Cold pierces to the bone.

The raven spreads frost-stiffened wings,

Black plumes will feel the wind no more,

His hair swept back from snow-white brow.

Red drops, bright berries, ruby lips,

In a dream where passion cools like winter breath,

And happiness drifts and fades, December mist,

She touches with trembling finger,

Her love’s life blood,

And begins a life of winter weeping.



Dawn falls silent
On snow,
And in the black shadows I think I see
The cloud of your raven hair.
I shake the longings from my eyes,
And the raven-haired shadow flies
On black wings.
The hearth is dead,
No embers glow,
And there is no warmth in the dull sky.
You are gone into the otherworld,
Taking the bright colours,
The song of the birds,
And the pulse of my heart with you.
How will I live in this cold grey silence?
How will I live without a heart?
The answer cries from the broken boughs where no birds sing,
The snow trampled and blackened with your blood,
I will not.


It will soon be time to obstruct the ether with propaganda for Grá mo Chroí, the palpitating collection of love stories taken from Irish myth that Ali Isaac and I will be releasing on February 11th. In the meantime, I shall begin with a few poems inspired by the old stories. This one is dedicated to Deirdre, she of the sorrows.


Memories dance in the candle flame,
And the souls beyond the window
Warm their shadows in its warmth.
But she knows he will not be back.
His home is not here,
In the hall of his murderer,
But on a green hill,
Within a ring of rowans,
Where their hearts had been happy
And love had kept them hidden,
Wrapped in the night owl’s wings.