Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Me and a few lost Foxhounds
Took it into us
To go stargazing,
Fixing ourselves to earth
On the frozen, bald crust of a brae
A few feet of mud
From the United Kingdom.
Flat on my back,
With the final frontier
Occupying my mind’s eye,
I reached into Britain
And transferred the allegiance
Of a snowdrop.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Navar conversion

Up above the broad lough,
On the sharpened blade of rock,
That gives way to nothingness
A widow threw arms around heaven,
And cursed God.
Volatile elements conspired
To split open the sky,
And, even this late in the day,
Light and warmth fell through on her,
Laid hands on her
The colour and comfort of tea.
On that unlikely stage of Whins,
Hurting inexplicably gave way to being.
Going on became viable - 
Maybe even blessed.
The wind hurried back over Donegal,
Frowning the water in its wake,
Swarming up the limestone
Anxious to end such foolishness
With a slap in the face.
But the purchase of grief,
So reliably set,
Had been planed away.
The sailing air,
Having nothing now to detain it,
Sailed on by.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Winthrop method

I see a line of dying Wych Elm on a hill.
Well drained by the fractured blocks
Of this contested marl.
A gaping stand of Famine food,
Survivors of even earlier demands
For tight twisted grain,
For good strong rudders, keels, coffins.
For wagon wheels to get behind -
Even the odd water main.
But claimed now by the Dutch disease,
The witless beetles killing the crown
Then further, further down.
There's a lot not right about this picture,
And more, for one tree lies canted -
Awkward against his listing brothers.
Seen from a certain angle, could it be a marker?
The roots below hiding ordnance
In their parched grasp?
You'd need a thran outlook,
And some plausible excuse these days
To go anywhere near it.
This strange ruin located only
By a sleekid eye
An arborist, a terrorist.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The dogged people

My crowd were taught to be
Whatever you aren't.
Easier than unfolding your heart -
Your curtailed self,
When you're hemmed in
Up against that invisible line,
As real as God.
We were learned well, though:
Being thoroughly outmanoeuvred -
Run almost ragged as the flags
Planted in our hedgerows and halls.
You couldn't have us now if you wanted us.
Our unappeasing face
Is your creation,
Yours alone.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Bog geography

A map on a rectory wall:
Once as potent as the chalice.
The red dots
Anointed places of execution
Are faded pink
A dimming constellation of loss,
A rolled over roll call,
A fallow murderscape,
A local travesty
One could navigate by lunchtime
Needing any more death
Like a hole in the head