Postcard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Postcard

For the most part, the weather is acceptable,                                                                               the sun already warm over Falcarragh Beach                                                                            were it not for nasty gales hitting us cool                                                                                     and unexpected. What does it profit us,

this beautiful land- and seascape, when all                                                                                    we can do is open the windows, but are barred                                                                         from stepping outside into spring and spray,                                                                            from digging naked heels into wet shore-sand?

We socialize in our love, keep distant                                                                                          from out neighbour’s squat house                                                                                                  half a kilometre behind the dunes. He seems half                                                                           a life away. Yes, there is good weather. At least

that’s something to cherish in difficult times.

 

(Published in 100 Words of Solitude, 15 May 2020)

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Unlive, unlearn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unlive, unlearn

(i.m. Hamdi Talab Na’asam, father of four)

Shot in a car on your way to work. It might have been                                                                   a German riffle – they like to purchase those                                                                            from us but despise our advice when we talk international                                                     law, occupation, illegal settlements. Only our arms and ammo                                                are welcome, useful to do to you what my ancestors                                                                   did to theirs. You were not on our news today though –                                                humanity constantly unlearns its lessons.

 

(Published in Turangalîla-Palestine, eds. John Ennis and David Mallaghan, Dairbhre, Sept. 2019)

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SHOT!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SHOT!

(i.m. Hassan Nabil Ahmed Nofal)

The search for shelter led you six feet deep –                                                                                   I imagine you playing football, wooden goal boxes, dusty hot ground.                     Spectators see: SHOT! The boy leaps into the wrong corner.                                                 Now his team must even up the score. Then: SHOT! The boy                                                falls into the corner, motionless, blood spilling from under his body.                                   The world, like spectators, stands disgraced by his grave.                                                        The only shelter for the dead are wooden boxes.

 

(Published in Turangalîla-Palestine, eds. John Ennis and David Mallaghan, Dairbhre, Sept. 2019)

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Windhover

Windhover

And someday, when summer expires soft on your face,                                                           take some time and make your way into the landscape,                                                        down into a field after harvest, in late August, September, when nature                 transforms into machine-sculpted bales interspersing the acre’s                               indifferent brown revealing a den of the common vole                                                         under weeds and scythed stalks with golden clumps of hay.

No clunk of a baler in the season’s late hours, but a windhover                                      circling, looking for prey. Your eyes closer to the sandy soil                                           wouldn’t find what the ravener spots from under off-white clouds,                                        his dark-patterned plumage confidently balancing on air.

Now distant, he approaches a weathered stake, his proper                                         watchpost, to eye the roamer-through                                                                                  through black polished marbles, as a mild headwind brings to your ear
his screech –
all tense you freeze, bogged-down in a bolthole, blocking                                                         the vole’s pale-brown entrance. The bird retreats into an orange                                sundown. Will he dream in colours borrowed from fields?

 

(Published in The Bangor Literary Journal, Issue 10, Aspects Edition, October 6, 2019)

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Lynx print

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lynx print

Had I not been awake I would have missed it:                                                                             the wind abruptly blew the window open,                                                                            sending a blank page to me – a leaf                                                                                             from the forest of my study. Also, a lynx                                                                                      who keeps returning to this desk                                                                                                where my fingers move over                                                                                                       empty spaces –                                                                                                                                    the pages of a thin, white notepad.

In an autumn afternoon scrubland                                                                                                   or a summer field wet from evening shower,                                                                           forest edge, roadside of a country lane                                                                                       hung with fog of a damp winter morning,                                                                                        it finds me everywhere, unexpectedly,                                                                                  uncalled for but not unwelcome, past                                                                                             the hollow reservoir of a tea cup, paws                                                                               delicately touching the undergrowth of thought                                                                            as it sneaks onto the plain                                                                                                                   of the page where it leaves                                                                                                                  its prints on leaves                                                                                                                               no longer clear and empty

as through the sluicegate                                                                                                                     of the point of the pen one paw                                                                                                   peeps out. Then another. And another                                                                                          and another until the lynx is back                                                                                               again – the words are written.

 

With a line from Seamus Heaney’s ‘Had I not been awake’.

Published in Sheila-Na-Gig, Vol. 4.1, Fall 2019, September 1, 2019)

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A dream

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A dream

I missed the blood moon                                                                                                              Never mind – I was sleeping

and I dreamed of you

 

(Published in The Wild Word, Issue 41, The Long Summer Nights, July 29, 2019)

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Involuntarily awake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Involuntarily awake

(at Kinlay House)

A chainsaw commencing.                                                                                                                 The grunting of boars.                                                                                                                  Death rattle in the trenches of Flanders.                                                                             Grumble of a young man’s stomach in the early morn.                                                          Tyres rolling slowly on abrasive asphalt.                                                                                          A sound like charcoal getting crushed under a door.

Roar of thunder on a hot summer afternoon.                                                                        Clatter of an old moped standing at the stoplight.                                                              Tearing a glued carpet off a concrete floor.                                                                                      A scree avalanche roaring down toward the valley.                                                        Somebody practising for a competition in snoring.                                                                        A chainsaw at-rest.

Can you imagine now what kept me up all night?

 

(Published in The Wild Word, Issue 41, The Long Summer Nights, July 29, 2019)

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