13 December 2017

AFTER A TIME

After a time, all losses are the same.
One more thing lost is one thing less to lose;
And we go stripped at last the way we came.

Though we shall probe, time and again, our shame,
Who lack the wit to keep or to refuse,
After a time, all losses are the same.

No wit, no luck can beat a losing game;
Good fortune is a reassuring ruse:
And we go stripped at last the way we came.

Rage as we will for what we think to claim,
Nothing so much as this bare thought subdues:
After a time, all losses are the same.

The sense of treachery–the want, the blame–
Goes in the end, whether or not we choose,
And we go stripped at last the way we came.

So we, who would go raging, will go tame
When what we have we can no longer use:
After a time, all losses are the same;
And we go stripped at last the way we came.

- Catherine Davis.

12 December 2017

ON THOSE WHO STOLE OUR CAT, A CURSE

On those who stole our cat, a curse:
may they always have an empty purse
and need a doctor and a nurse
prematurely;
may their next car be a big black hearse –
oh may it, surely!

May all their kids come down with mange,
their eldest daughter start acting strange,
and the wife start riding the range
(and I don’t mean the Aga);
when she begins to go through the change
may she go gaga.

And may the husband lose his job
and have great trouble with his knob
and the son turn out a yob
and smash the place up;
may he give his da a belt in the gob
and mess his face up!

And may the granny end up in jail
for opening her neighbours’ mail,
may all that clan moan, weep and wail,
turn grey and wizened
on the day she doesn’t get bail
but Mountjoy Prison!

Oh may their daughter get up the pole,
and their drunken uncle lose his dole,
for our poor cat one day they stole –
may they rue it!
and if there is a black hell-hole
may they go through it!

Unfriendly loan-sharks to their door
as they beg for one week more;
may the seven curses of Inchicore
rot and blight ’em!
May all their enemies settle the score
and kick the shite of ’em!

I wish rabies on all their pets,
I wish them a flock of bastard gets,
I wish ’em a load of unpayable debts,
TV Inspectors –
to show’em a poet never forgets
his malefactors.

May rats and mice them ever hound,
may half of them be of mind unsound,
may their house burn down to the ground
and no insurance;
may drugs and thugs their lives surround
beyond endurance!

May God forgive the heartless thief
who caused our household so much grief;
if you think I’m harsh, sigh with relief –
I haven’t even started.
I can do worse. I am, in brief,
yours truly, Michael Hartnett.

- Michael Hartnett

11 December 2017

CATARACT

My eyeball’s frozen. I lie
At the bottom of a well.
Leaves decorate the ice.

Leaning on my eyelid Simon
Rankin breaks the surface
And reaches into my mind.

He brings implements with him,
Curious geometry,
Blades that keep fading away.

He restores the world’s colours.
He has discovered them
In my own dark kaleidoscope.

 -Michael Longley

07 December 2017


A L'ECOUTE: RECEIVER

The vision lingers
trembling the hand which writes it down
in a room of the inn by starlight
evening drowns
the potato field.
When the farmer hears a footfall on the road
he leaves off digging
then turns on
his private listening
to the sounds of his world.

- Ciaran Carson

05 December 2017

FROM: CHRISTMAS DAY

Christmas Day
I spend alone
In my cave
Rotating my globe
Musing what it would be like
To spend Christmas Day
With another human being.

- Paul Durcan

04 December 2017

GARDENING IN CAROSO

Wildflowers become weeds
In this small triangular
Garfagnana garden
Where I uproot herb robert,
Spurge, wall-devouring
Valerian, garlicky
Ramsons, dead nettles.
What about oregano
No higher than dogs' piss,
And pennywort protecting
The lizard's hideaway?
I cut back the wild fig tree,
Its roots under the casa
Squeezing our water pipes,
Dozy snails its only fruit.
From acacia - beeless,
Unrelieved - a sexual
Heaviness marries me
And five old women - last
In the village to chant
The Whitsun rosary next
Door at San Rocco's shrine.
I leave them shepherd's purse's
Seedpods -little hearts -
Spoon-shaped petals on spikes.

- Michael Longley