22 October 2016



Living in the clouds in Brazil
Or living in the clouds in Ireland
Is vast of a vastness

Behind whose face paint
My Indian eyes blink.

Night is day:
Nothing stays the same.
Everything changes.

Sunlight is rain:
Nothing should stay the same.
Everything should change.

If you love her
You will never
Take her for granted

Nor will you think twice
If the choice
Is between love and fame.

I, Elizabeth,
Do take you, Lota,
For my lawful, wedded cloud.

- Paul Durcan

19 October 2016



Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in silver feathered sleep
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

- Walter de la Mere

18 October 2016



I know that bush,
Moses; there are many of them
in Wales in the autumn, braziers
where the imagination
warms itself.  I have put off
pride and, knowing the ground
holy, lingered to wonder
how it is that I do not burn
and yet am consumed.

And in this country
of failure, the rain
falling out of a black
cloud in gold pieces there
are none to gather,
I have thought often
of the fountain of my people
that played beautifully here
once in the sun's light
like a tree undressing.

- R. S. Thomas

17 October 2016


Let silent grief
At least brood on this last chance
Of light.

Let this utmost misery
Harbour the chance of flowers.

- Philippe Jaccottet (translated by Tess Lewis)

15 October 2016



I am Self-Pity - the most red-hot woman in Ireland.
Younger than time, older than eternity.
All raddle, all lacquer, all scent.
Great is my glory
I who can turn a man into a 24/7 ghost of himself.

I am Self-Pity - the Queen Bee of the  Irish Sea.
I have only to squint at a half-decent man
To make him hold his head in his hands,
Make him put his fist through a pane of glass,
Make him stamp his feet.

I am Self-Pity - the Black Madonna of Ireland.
Great was my education and great my family.
I who with my fabulous loneliness,
Demanding total, exclusive, absolute love,
Reduced a half-decent man to smithereens.

I am Self-Pity - the most red-hot woman in Ireland.
Younger than time, older than eternity.
All raddle, all lacquer, all scent.
Great is my glory.
I who can turn a man into a 24/7 ghost of himself. 

-Paul Durcan

14 October 2016



              The new people, the quick money
                      Dante's Inferno 16.73

I sit up here, in the crystalline heaven,
    High as Dante, looking down
On the dog-eat-dog of Florence, Dublin town,
Through the marvellous dome of glass above Dail Eireann.
Coffee is over; a quarter past eleven
And the deputies file back in. Concentric hells
Of seats are filling up, conspiratorial,
Till the banging of the gavel, the Ceann Comhairle
Shouting for order, and then the division bells.

As suddenly, the House empties, through its backstage doors.
    Charlie Haughey crosses the floor,
Engages a woman I know in conversation -
Still beautiful, still a gazelle. After how many years
Of marriage to a Dublin auctioneer?
Above, the forces that govern the universe,
Light, reason and love, a Dantean vision,
Stream through the windows. I am alone up here
In the public gallery, as mid-morning disperses

Its scattered attendance, snoozing, as if not there,
    Through the luminous room.
My minister rises. I fold my Irish Times
And watch O'Snodaigh, leprechaun and elf,
Nervously scrape the three remaining hairs
Across his bald patch-him, my immediate boss! -
The prompter through the stage door of 'Whereas ... '
A minor civil servant, like myself,
A lifer, splitting hairs till the crack of doom.

And darkly think to myself 'Inadequate
    For the business of state,
A Johnny-come-Lately ...' Afterwards, in the lobby,
Hearing him talk, relaxing over a fag,
'Let Charlie soon starting shiting golden eggs
Or the country's fucked -' I'll know myself a snob,
A shadow of Dante, the chip on my shoulder,
Disinheritance, crystallising to heaven
High and light as the dome above Dail Eireann,
Sitting in judgement on Dublin, and getting older.

- Harry Clifton