24 August 2016



Important insects clamber to the top
Of stalks; look round with uninquiring eyes
And find the world incomprehensible;
Then totter back to earth and circumscribe
Irregular territories pointlessly.
Some insects narcissistically assume
Patterns of spots or stripes or burnished sheen
For purposes of sex or camouflage,
Some tweet or rasp, though most are without speech
Except a low, subliminal, mindless chatter.
Take heart: those scientists are wrong who find
Elements of the human in their systems,
Despite their busy, devious trafficking
Important insects simply do not matter.
- James Reeves

20 August 2016



I have told you that there is a laugh in every corner
And a pocket-book stuffed with rolls of skin
To pay off the bills of the costive
To buy a new pipe for the dog
To send a committee or bury a stone

I have told you all this
But do you know that
Tomorrow the psalmist will lunch on his crystal
Tomorrow REVOLT will be written in human hair
Tomorrow the hangman’s rope will tie itself in a bow
Tomorrow virginia creeper will strangle the clergy
Tomorrow the witness will tickle the judge
Tomorrow this page will be found in a womb
Tomorrow the lovers will answer the palace
Tomorrow Karl Marx will descend in a fire-balloon
Tomorrow the word that you lost will ask you home
Tomorrow the virgin will fall down a magnified well
Tomorrow the news will be broadcast in dialect
Tomorrow the beautiful girl will attend
Tomorrow a cloud will follow the bankers
Tomorrow a child will rechristen our London as LONDON
Tomorrow a tree will grow into a hand
Yes listen
Tomorrow the clocks will chime like voices
Tomorrow a train will set out for the sky

National papers please reprint

- Roger Roughton

19 August 2016



I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland.....

- Mahmoud Darwish

18 August 2016



Invalids and other hotel residents
Unpuzzle themselves with patience-cards and jigsaws.
Crosswords engage saloon passengers at sea.
Philosophers invent puzzles with answers.
Each knows that what he is trying can be done.
Not all enjoy such comfort of assurance.
I, watching the backs of houses and of books,
Work away at my mind, fitting the pieces,
Pairing the cards, rejecting words.
So sitting, I become suddenly conscious
Of playing patience with crooked pieces,
While solving an incomplete jigsaw with words
In the precise non-language of a dream.
Some of the pieces fit, some of the cards match,
Only some of the pieces and the cards are lost.
I have tried to play it according to the rules,
Only the rules they sent are in Chinese.
Is it too late, I ask, to start again?
Or will extinction, when it comes, surprise me
Sorting the pieces, working out the clues?

- James Reeves

17 August 2016


Washboards and mangles are on my father’s mind.
In conversation he will return to the soaked linen 
of his childhood - its labour-intensiveness -
as though these shirts and sheets, ready for the line,
floated behind my head in a basin together

and he could reach across and bring them in
amazed how they come up white again and again
after all these years - the marriage, the ‘money-grubbing’,
the household overrun by lunatic women
putting one thing after another through the wringer.
- Leontia Flynn 

16 August 2016



Time passes through us, or we pass through it
as guests to god's wheat.
In a previous present, a subsequent present,
just like that, we are in need of myth
to bear the burden of the distance between two doors...

-  Mahmoud Darwish

15 August 2016


Improbabilities of course, we all
know that; that this graceful taper
I force into the tallowed cast iron
beneath the Assumption in the Frari
could change the heavens, so that she
can pick up her cigarettes and lighter
to move onto a higher circle, as before,
she moved, talking, through the lanes of  Cork.

Sir Thomas Browne said there aren't impossibilites
enough in religion for an active faith.
So I'll go on spending liras and francs
and pesetas across the smokey hush
of Catholic Europe until she says
"That's enough," and then I'm free to toast
her in red wine outside in the sunlit squares.

- Bernard O'Donoghue