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Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year Poem

Knights Not Nights, Ross Bleckner

Happy New Year to everyone. I've just written this poem while peeling the spuds for tomorrow's dinner. I hope you all have a good day tomorrow.
Knights Not Nights
After Bleckner
New Year comes to darken the lighter sky
to sever the night from its stiff black tie
to dance with visions and the dream not dry
as time peers on with paternal dry eye.
And later dazzling bright fireworks fizzle
succumbing to the rain’s softer drizzle
to pools of water that are a mirror
to lost light, and the light still to capture.
In these shadows of shady reflection
candles quicken with great satisfaction
drinking the darkness that birthed their flame
that calls out strength giving courage her name.
So they pass on this journey men and days
on roads known to life, and death, their ways.
Órla Fay

Monday, December 19, 2016

Spontaneity Issue 11

It's satisfying to finish off the year with a poem included in the current issue of Spontaneity. The arts magazine deals with inspiration and it links pieces of writing, art and photography like threads in a labyrinth or a spider's web. Edited by Ruth McKee this issue features work by Clodagh Beresford Dunne, Denise Blake, Aoife Reilly, Fiona Perry, Susan Lindsay, Julia Webb, Niall McArdle, Sandra Arnold and I.

My included poem 'Devil-may-care' was written in the summer after a trip to the sea. It links to a painting in a previous issue of Spontaneity called 'Firewalk with me'. Have a read y'all and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sixteen Magazine Issue 3 Brown

Edited by Doire Press poet Simon Lewis, Sixteen Magazine publishes fiction and poetry on the theme/prompt of a colour on the sixteenth of every month. My poem Coors Light was chosen this month on the colour brown, alongside fiction by Shivaun Conroy. You can read the work here:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meath Writers Circle 2nd Annual Magazine 2016

Thanks to Frank Murphy of Meath Writers' Circle for including two of my poems in the group's 2nd Annual Magazine which focused on culture and heritage, people or place, particularly in relation to County Meath. As you can imagine there is a wide variety of work included with poems from Michael Farry, Tom French, Frank Murphy, Kieran Murray, James Linnane, Peggy Murphy, Willie G. Hodgins and the late Tommy Murray and Myra Lalor, to name just a few. It's really lovely to be included in a magazine about Meath showcasing snapshots of our county.

This poem about Newtown Abbey is an older poem and it is true that dawn is a friend to the muses. The other poem included is called The Glass House and it was written on the location of The Porchfields in Trim.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Freud Exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Double Portrait - Lucian Freud
I recently visited the IMMA to view the Lucian Freud exhibition which features 50 works of art loaned to the museum until 2021. It is well worth a visit. He is an artist I knew little about.
Lucian Freud (1922 - 2011) is widely recognised as one of the greatest realist painters of the 20th century and is renowned for his intimate, honest, often visceral portrayal of the human form. Freud painted from life, and usually spend a great deal of time with each subject, demanding the model's presence even while working on the background of the portrait. A nude completed in 2007 required sixteen months of work, with the model posing all but four evenings during that time; with each session averaging five hours, the painting took approximately 2,400 hours to complete. A rapport with his models was necessary, and while at work, Freud was characterised as "an outstanding raconteur and mimic".
He was the grandson of Sigmund Freud.
One work that really took my fancy was I reached inside myself through time by Dennis McNulty which can be found in The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection. The multi-media piece features a re-edited acapella of the AHA song The sun always shines on TV.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rath Chairn Library Art Group

I'm really looking forward to seeing this exhibition on the 11th November in the OPW building in Trim. Members of The Boyne Writers submitted poems about Tara to Rath Chairn Art Group, the Art Group then used the writers' works as prompts and the base for new paintings. I believe that I will have three poems painted. Two of the poems below and suitable for this dark time of the year. The Woods on Tara Hill was inspired by a New Year's Eve walk on a Tara that was covered with snow and ice. Sometimes I imagine what the old people would like to say if they could have a voice. The poem written in Irish was an experiment and I tried my best with my limited knowledge of the language.

The Woods on Tara Hill


We are smothered –

Behind every trunk an exit, and none.

Way is leading on to way.

Sunlight illumines briefly.

Who goes there?

A stag? A man? A Ghost? A God?

Pray stay with us for a thousand years

And more above the river and hinterland!

Between the oak and holly we are gagged.

Layers of leaves, dry as sand, rustle on the ground.

We are dying in the woods and our innocence expires…

Some return, occasionally light fires and remember,

Hug the trees like they are souls, place coins in the bark,

Bid us the blessing of Litha by the Lia Fáil.

We ache to break surface, scream with beasts in the night.

Few heed us, release us; forgotten voices of the past.

Where are our poets and our druids?

Brethren we are the Tuatha, the Fianna and the Sí!

Drink deep our wines carried in the midnight murmur;

The faraway sound of the paternal drum.


Órla Fay

Oíche Shamhna


Teamhair mo chroí, Teamhair mo chroí,

táim ag lorg an púca agus an cailleach

ar do sliabh.


Tá an Samhain ag teacht agus táim caillte

leis an gaoth atá ag séideadh

trasna na duilleoga


agus atá ag tiomaint na scamaill

sa spéir liath agus brúite

leis an tráthnóna.

Beidh an capall ag rith suas an bóthar

tar éis tamaill.  Beidh Cormac an Rí

ag marcaíocht


go dtí an tine mór.  Beidh féasta ar siúl

agus feicfidh mé na daoine aosta

ag siúl leis na daoine beo.


Órla Ní Fhéich
Translated -
Tara my heart, Tara my heart,
I am looking for the ghost and the witch
on your hill.
Hallowe’en is coming and I am lost
with the wind that is blowing
across the leaves
and that is driving the clouds
in the sky grey and bruised
with the evening.
The horses will be running up the road
in a while. Cormac the King
will be riding
to the big fire. There will be a feast
and I will see the old people
walking with the living.
Órla Fay


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Process

Morning blog, it's nice to be here before work (albeit quickly). I wrote a poem last night and I'm working on another, which I'm not mad about but it keeps writing itself and I have no idea where it's going yet. It occurred to me while working on the first poem that you can't be creative if you're afraid of making a mistake. I think children know this and take it for granted but adults forget or they become tempered.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Coffee and Chocolate and...Poetry

There comes a time in the month when chocolate is a necessity. I'm sure all women must feel this. The body speaks and we must listen (of course not necessarily comply). Oh I'm sure there is a poem in this and that there have been many written already. Immediately Yeats comes to mind and his 'tattered coat upon a stick', Chase Twichell's 'dogs of the self'  or Dylan Thomas singing in his chains. I think that's what poetry does, it touches the universal pulse. I'd love to stay here longer but I have to go out now.

And if you have time there are some great quotes here about coffee

I'm tasting my cup now like I've never noticed it before.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bob Dylan, Cds, etc

I went looking through my cds for a Bob Dylan cd and found a dusty Blood on the Tracks and Another Side of Bob Dylan, interesting as there's a blood, hunter's moon tonight. Of course I listened to To Ramona as it's still gorgeous and smiled widely listening to It Ain't Me Babe. Go lightly from the ledge babe is a great lyric.

Ramona, come closer
Shut softly your watery eyes
The pangs of your sadness
Will pass as your senses will rise
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike at times
And there's no use in tryin'
To deal with the dyin'
Though I cannot explain that in lines.

I finished a poem tonight that I had started earlier in the week. I hope to get up early in the morning to write.

I also found an opera cd and gonna have a listen to that now and I might die and go to heaven!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Skylight 47 issue 7

On a day when I posted contributors' copies of Boyne Berries to the four corners of Ireland and to England, the USA, France and Turkey it was nice to come home and find my own contributor's copy of Skylight 47 in the post box. This issue 7 has 28 pages of poetry and reviews of recent poetry collections. It's actually a bit of a dream to read a paper of poetry. Well done to Skylight 47

My included poem is a sonnet called Love Letter which was written with late spring's energy and optimism and it is a love letter to the sun about growing. I have written some lovely sonnets this year.

Tonight is a cool October night and you can see the stars in the sky so it will probably be slightly frosty in the morning. The leaves are turning gorgeous colours and you'd need to be very blind and withdrawn not to notice them and admire their beauty.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

October already!

Good morning blog. I got up with the dawn to write some poetry as life's been a whirlwind lately and I'm happy to have written one poem. I hope to write another today too. I also have to organise posting contributors' copies of Boyne Berries 20 and legal deposit.

An Anthology of Reactions will be published later in the month in Limerick. I've a poem in it called Teenage Kicks, 1991 - 1996. (Yes really) The centenary year is slowly but surely drawing to a close.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Boyne Berries 20 Launched

Rory O'Sullivan and Ken Davis
Boyne Berries 20 was launched on the 29th of September in The Castle Arch Hotel by former editor of The Meath Chronicle, Ken Davis. Thanks to those contributors who attended and read, including Kate Dempsey, Honor Duff, Steve Wade, Emmaleene Leahy, Bernadette Gallagher, Siobhan Daffy, Frank Murphy, P.D. Lyons and members of the Boyne Writers. Thanks especially to chairwoman of the group, Caroline Carey Finn.

Copies of Boyne Berries 20 can now be purchased via paypal at this link Boyne Berries Blog

Poet Siobhan Daffy with African Harp

Monday, October 3, 2016

Musee D'Orsay

I took this photo of Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhone at the weekend in Musee D'Orsay in Paris. You walk around a corner and there it is for all to admire. There are so many gorgeous paintings in Orsay and I felt like a little kid at Christmas there.

So it was a beautiful weekend anyway despite the high security and I feel sad for Paris but the people there must be very resilient and I hope they continue to be because it is still La Ville Lumière.

I wrote this poem about 10 years ago after seeing this Monet painting adorning the cover of Emile Zola's LA Bete Humaine which I had read. You can imagine my excitement when I saw the painting again at the weekend. The poem was published in an early issue of Boyne Berries.

Saint-Lazare Station

I fell in love once and given
Pearls and moonstone to put around my neck
I was told that the curse of the dream was waking.

I could never understand just missing the train.
Surely there would be another one coming,
In an hour and if not today, then tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’d catch the same train again
And reach my destination.
But I couldn’t venture back into the past.

Sometimes I dream.  I dream in the way
The impressionists painted their pictures,
Sometimes grainy and far away. 

I arrive there on the ghost train
And disembark on the platform
Admiring the silver railway tracks.

Then the steam from the engine
And the fog, come rolling in from the countryside,

Embrace each other in another century.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


It's been a busy end to Sunday. I've just send Boyne Berries 20 to the printer, to be printed. I hope all will be well with it. I'm delighted that former editor of The Meath Chronicle, Ken Davis, will launch the magazine.

Issue three of Three Drops from a Cauldron is now online and includes my poem Endymion Calls to the Moon which is apt considering the supermoon of the last couple of days. It's an older poem and I'd been reading John Keats' poetry at the time;

A THING of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Endymion Book 1, Keats
My mum is always likely to quote something at you and these lines are oft repeated. Usually I now say: "Really, do you think so?"
What else, oh I saw a movie today called A Date for Mad Mary which was kinda cool. And it rained, that's where the umbrella comes into this, and I thought the streets looked romantic in the rain.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Seascapes and Angels

Ivan Guaderrama Contemporary Angel

Back to Elizabeth Bishop today and I really should get a copy of her collected poems.

This celestial seascape, with white herons got up as angels,
flying high as they want and as far as they want sidewise
in tiers and tiers of immaculate reflections;
the whole region, from the highest heron
down to the weightless mangrove island
with bright green leaves edged neatly with bird-droppings
like illumination in silver,
and down to the suggestively Gothic arches of the mangrove roots
and the beautiful pea-green back-pasture
where occasionally a fish jumps, like a wildflower
in an ornamental spray of spray;
this cartoon by Raphael for a tapestry for a Pope:
it does look like heaven.
But a skeletal lighthouse standing there
in black and white clerical dress,
who lives on his nerves, thinks he knows better.
He thinks that hell rages below his iron feet,
that that is why the shallow water is so warm,
and he knows that heaven is not like this.
Heaven is not like flying or swimming,
but has something to do with blackness and a strong glare
and when it gets dark he will remember something
strongly worded to say on the subject.
Elizabeth Bishop

Monday, September 12, 2016


I was looking for the names of autumn berries and came across this poem, which is too cute not to share.

Winter Sleep
When against earth a wooden heel
Clicks as loud as stone on steel,
When stone turns flour instead of flakes,
And frost bakes clay as fire bakes,
When the hard-bitten fields at last
Crack like iron flawed in the cast,
When the world is wicked and cross and old,
I long to be quit of the cruel cold.
Little birds like bubbles of glass
Fly to other Americas,
Birds as bright as sparkles of wine
Fly in the nite to the Argentine,
Birds of azure and flame-birds go
To the tropical Gulf of Mexico:
They chase the sun, they follow the heat,
It is sweet in their bones, O sweet, sweet, sweet!
It's not with them that I'd love to be,
But under the roots of the balsam tree.
Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr
Is lined within with the finest fur,
So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house
Of every squirrel and mole and mouse
Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull's feather,
Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together
With balsam and juniper, dry and curled,
Sweeter than anything else in the world.
O what a warm and darksome nest
Where the wildest things are hidden to rest!
It's there that I'd love to lie and sleep,
Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!
Elinor Wylie

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Hey blog just popping in while my vegetable soup cooks. Boyne Berries 20 has gone to the printer for a second proof. I tried to rush an edit this morning but then a number of errors cropped up so I walked away and came back later and there were no problems at all.

I'd fun today flying a kite, among other things.  I think I might have a new poem so I'm going to try and write it, a bit, next.


By Leonard Cohen
From: The Spice-Box of Earth
March 1965

A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.

A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won’t give up,
or the wind die down.

A kite is the last poem you’ve written,
so you give it to the wind,
but you don’t let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.

A kite is a contract of glory
that must be made with the sun,
so make friends with the field
the river and the wind,
then you pray the whole cold night before,
under the travelling cordless moon,
to make you worthy and lyric and pure.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Boyne Berries 20 First Proof

Voila! Voici le premier projet de la revue, aka the first draft of BB20. I'm fairly happy with it, aside from some margins to be changed and making sure things match up.

Just a note to anyone who has not received a reply to their submission to be mindful that Boyne Berries 21 has not been finalised yet and you can expect a reply in the coming weeks. Thanks for being patient.

The Boyne Writers' Group will resume their fortnightly meetings this Thursday at 8 p.m. in The Castle Arch Hotel, Trim.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Three Drops from a Cauldron

Triple Goddess, Maid, Mother, Crone
Three Drops from a Cauldron is a fortnightly web journal. I'm pleasantly surprised tonight to have a poem accepted for the September 16th issue.

The roots of this journal sprouted from the editor’s (Kate Garrett) long-term obsession with folklore and mythology – particularly of the Welsh variety – and poetry. And who better to represent this than Cerridwen and her cauldron?

Cerridwen was a sorceress in Welsh legend, who has since been elevated to deity status – she is the crone goddess of poetry, magic and inspiration.

Cerridwen was also the accidental mother of Taliesin, the greatest of Welsh bards. According to legend, this is due to a mishap involving three stray drops from her cauldron of inspiration. These tiny drops of powerful potion turned her servant-boy Gwion Bach into the celebrated poet-storyteller, but not before a series of shape-shifting incidents that resulted in his being eaten by the sorceress.

Thanks to Adrienne Leavy, editor of Reading Ireland: The Little Magazine , for her generous review of Boyne Berries 1916 in the latest issue of Reading Ireland which is a 1916 centenary issue.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Boyne Berries 20 Launch

Kites by the Abbey, Rory O'Sullivan

Join the Boyne Writers in celebrating the launch of issue 20 of Boyne Berries Magazine on Thursday, 29th September at 8 p.m. in The Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, Co Meath. This issue includes the work of Katherine Kelly, Bernadette Gallagher, Kate Dempsey, Brian Kirk, Jay Merill, Honor Duff, Richard W. Halperin, Eamon Mag Uidhir, Susanne Stich, Stephen Wade, Emmaleene Leahy, Siobhan Daffy, P.D. Lyons, Frank Murphy, Sarah Jenkin, Taidgh Lynch, Iseult Healy, Moya Roddy, Peter Goulding, Kate Ennals, Edward O’Dwyer, Paul McCarrick, Stephen Reid, Neil Slevin, Carl Boon & members of The Boyne Writers’ Group; Michael Farry, Rory O'Sullivan, Leah McDwyer, Jenny Andersson, Anne Crinion, Barbara Flood, Caroline Carey Finn, Sinead MacDevitt, Orla Fay, Frank McGivney and Eamon Cooke. Boyne Berries 20 is edited by Orla Fay with cover design by Rory O'Sullivan.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Skylight 47 Launches

In Bed The Kiss Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec

So then, where was I? Boyne Berries 20 is nearly ready to go to the printer for a first proof. I've to do the list of contents and an editorial and look at the fiction again, but there will probably be several small issues to fix.

I have a poem called Love Letter in the forthcoming issue of Skylight 47. I am excited to see it in print and to read the issue.

The launch of Skylight 47, Issue 7, takes place at the September Over The Edge reading at Galway City Library at 6.30 on Thursday 29th September. Issue 7 has a particular focus on Clifden. The editors, together with the Clifden Arts Festival, have planned a Clifden launch of Issue 7 in addition to our main launch. The Clifden launch takes place at the Clifden library at 2.00pm on Thursday 15th September. 

I was also delighted to learn that two of my poems will appear in the next issue of The Ofi Press

Friday, August 19, 2016


Michael Bosanko's Banksy's Balloon Girl

So a colleague in work left today who was wonderful at their job, the kind of person who was a leader because they shone their own light. It was good to meet someone like that.

Boyne Berries 20 will be ready to go to the printer by next weekend. Rory O'Sullivan has been doing great work on the cover design this week. It's lovely to work with someone who can take on board your ideas and still produce something unique.

What Work Is

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is—if you're
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it's someone else's brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, 'No,
we're not hiring today,' for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who's not beside you or behind or
ahead because he's home trying to
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You've never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you're too young or too dumb,
not because you're jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying in
the presence of another man, no,
just because you don't know what work is.    

Philip Levine                    

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


James Dean by Dennis Stock

Dear laptop it's good to be in front of you again!! I hope to see a lot more of you at the weekend!! It's raining, raining, raining today and tonight there's the comforting, steady pitter-patter but faster than that; stream of drops, rhapsody of rain on the garage roof, the house roof and off the ground. Anywhere there's surface really. Silence you beautiful thing also.


I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;
one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame
to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,
and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,
so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,
I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:
forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters
and none of this, none of this matters.

Don Paterson

Friday, August 12, 2016

Abridged 0 - 48: Mercury Red Submission Call

So here's one to think about...

This is the age of the inspirational. We wake up each morning to a torrent of messages on social media informing us that if we ‘be ourselves’ and ‘believe in ourselves’ we can achieve the impossible. Transformation will be quick and painless. A screen full of medicine men (and women) selling easy answers with beautiful backdrops. Conversely when we do achieve something there are legions of ‘trolls’ ready to lay siege to us. The age of the inspirational is an age of extremes. Love is public and anger is quick to surface. We search for the impossible and when it can’t be found we want to scorch the earth. Our loves, our hates, are quick. Our fear is now public domain.
This fear remains in the ether, an indistinct agent in our psychological lives, both invisible and disturbing as hypothetical warfare. When we feel under attack it solidifies and we name it.  It is in naming the thing that should be feared that it comes into focus, even merely as mirage or red herring. By naming it, mythologizing it, adorning it with colours and connotations so as to turn it into a child’s villain, we cast it from ourselves and make it temporarily stable enough to identify: a tangible enemy.  A named fear is a catalyst for all that frightens, within and beyond ourselves. Telling a story of good and evil, of black and white masks the problematic complexity of these qualities incestuous and changeful relationship. Light can obscure as much as darkness, and on each the other depends for definition.
Red Mercury is a mythical explosive. Abridged in 0 – 48: Mercury Red explores our need for immediate public affirmation, our virtual emotional lives and our search for the impossible personally and as a society then the anger when we realise our Nirvana is unattainable. Submissions may be up to three poems and can be sent to preferably in Word format or as part of the email. Art should be up to A4 landscape in size and 300 dpi or above. Please note this is a landscape format issue rather than our usual portrait. Deadline is 23rd September.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Franz Marc’s Dog Lying in the Snow (Liegender Hund im Schnee)

Hi blog. Isn't august passing quickly and autumn's announcing herself? I'm thinking about stars a lot, and beauty, so potential themes there to explore, difficult themes however!

I wrote a couple of poems last weekend (swallows and the sea) and I'm looking forward to writing again later this week and at the weekend. I had to stop work on Boyne Berries for a few days but I will do half an hour now I think, slowly but surely! Nothing else to report I think.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


I've spent a couple of hours on Boyne Berries 20 and it's been lovely. It's amazing to read some of the submissions and to see how talented people are. My cup runneth over. I love learning new things from the submissions, new ideas and ways of looking at things.

I'm looking forward to writing out some of my own ideas at the weekend and to more work on the magazine.

Monday, August 1, 2016


I had trouble this morning for a while with finding a title for a poem but it came in the end like a key fitting a lock. I've also started editing Boyne Berries 20, bit of a journey ahead! I spent time by the sea and found a clear stone but not sure if it's unpolished quartz.

People Who Live

People who live by the sea
understand eternity.
They copy the curves of the waves,
their hearts beat with the tides,
& the saltiness of their blood
corresponds with the sea.

They know that the house of flesh
is only a sandcastle
built on the shore,
that skin breaks
under the waves
like sand under the soles
of the first walker on the beach
when the tide recedes.

Each of us walks there once,
watching the bubbles
rise up through the sand
like ascending souls,
tracing the line of the foam,
drawing our index fingers
along the horizon
pointing home.     

Erica Jong                   

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Winter is Coming

Two Peasant Women Digging in a Snow-Covered Field at Sunset, Van Gogh 1890

It has really been a scorcher today, 25 degrees and I'm lucky enough to be on holidays this week to enjoy it. Of course my thoughts are turning to editing and writing. I'm certainly going to have a difficult time declining work for the magazine but the quality and quantity of submission for Boyne Berries 20 has been very high. The submission period ends this coming Sunday at midnight.

I found the Van Gogh poem and I'm going to edit it for myself.  It's more of a winter poem but my niece did choose a wordless illustrated version of The Snowman today in the book shop (She said you can make the story up yourself). I did wonder why you would be digging in the snow? On further inspection apparently the women are digging as winter ends and spring begins.

In the meantime here is a post about a poem Anne Sexton wrote in response to The Starry Night


Monday, July 11, 2016

Skylight 47

A friend gave me this card at the weekend and I really like it. I do have a Van Gogh poem somewhere, an old one and maybe I can find it if I look, I hope. It's been a bit crazy since my last blog post, but that's life.

I'm delighted to have a poem selected for issue 7 of Skylight 47 which will be launched in September. The magazine is Galway based and edited by Bernie Crawford, Nicki Griffin, Marie Cadden and Ruth Quinlan.

I'm overwhelmed by the response to the submission call for Boyne Berries 20 and I look forward to reading and replying to the submissions over the coming weeks.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tales from the Forest

Perseus by Cellini

Tales from the Forest  is a quarterly online magazine, with Issue #1 focused on fairy-tales and mythologies. Issue #2 will be... focused on monsters. I'm delighted to have a poem accepted for issue 2, 'Where Monsters Live'. Thanks to Rose Fortune, editor.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How to Make Love in Dangerous Times

The Weeping Woman, Pablo Picasso
Thanks to editors Patrick Chapman and Dimitra Xidous for including my poem The Weeping Woman in this gorgeous issue of The Pickled Body . I love being part of this issue and some of the poems are stunning. Cover design is by featured artist Cara Dunne. You can read the magazine here


Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Wild Rose

The Wild Rose

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose looming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

Wendell Berry

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


The Sunflower Gustav Klimt

Posting an old poem of mine tonight that was published in Crannog 20. I saw a gorgeous image on Deviantart but course it must be copyrighted,  I settled on Klimt. I'm all about the yellow tonight for some reason.



Days now I have looked

for my love a god in the sky

to feel the warmth

of divine nourishment.


My foot is always to the ground,

roots and tendrils cling

to my toes and wrap

their fingers around my ankle.


The wind of March is unkind,

Bears winter’s melted snow.

Ancestors go with Pluto,

retreat to their season.


The sun calls to the living.

I am the featureless face

of the stone; flat, smooth, clean.

I remember times.


To the ear of the wolf

is the call of the wild.

In the eclipsed moon

there is turmoil of birth.


Drinking earth’s blood

I am changed and continually



In my consciousness

the dream calls

and I am a flower maiden.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hurt Hawks

Nighthawks Edward Hopper

Hurt Hawks


The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,

No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons.

He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.

He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.

The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head,

The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.

The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.

You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.


I'd sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;
but the great redtail
Had nothing left but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.

We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
Implacable arrogance.

I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.

What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising
Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.

Robinson Jeffers

Boulevard of Broken Dreams Gottfried Helnwein

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Boyne Berries 20 Submission Call

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,   
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving.
 ~ Sylvia Plath

The submission period for Boyne Berries 20 is now open and will close on Sunday 24th July at midnight. Boyne Berries 20 will feature poetry and fiction or prose on an open theme.

Send up to 3 poems per poetry submission. Poems should be no more than 40 lines long. Fiction and prose submissions should be no more than 1500 words. Please use Times New Roman 12 and single spacing. Please include a short biographical note. Submissions should be placed in the body of the email and attached as a word document attachment. Submit to only.
Submissions which fail to adhere to the above criteria will be ignored.
The magazine will be published in late September 2016.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Darling Buds of May

Image result for time

One more sonnet written and I'm a happy girl. And another poem just waiting for me to write it but I may be too tired tonight to shape it. But there's tomorrow and the June Bank Holiday weekend ahead so I'll catch you then time.


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare