Posted tagged ‘poem’

Wagtails

November 30, 2013

I see a pair of wagtails
silver        and black
heads and tails bobbing
running           darting
dancing
on the patio

in a sudden breath of November
you are behind me
your tweed jacket rough
under my young fingers
that faint smell of tobacco

and the room
silver tray on the wall
      50 years of practice
oak sideboard        solid
crammed tableware papers
black and white photos
jostling
spilling
out of the doors

we are all there

laughing

Wee Mister Wagtail hopping on a rock,
Daddy says your pretty tail is like a goblin’s clock.

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Lacemaker

January 1, 2013

I watched
her little fingers
twist and loop the thread,
push the needle
into fine lace.
This one a handkerchief,
this a piece for the table,
hunger pricked.

The size is the price.
Lay the coins end to end
along the daisy chain.

I wrote this poem when I was researching lace making. Lace was made by women and children at the time of the Irish Famine. The price of the lace was arrived at by covering the piece with coins. Most of the money went to middlemen.
From A Sense of Place

Harebell

November 1, 2012

Harebell - geograph.org.uk - 201688

As summer fell
Away to autumn
I found
A solitary harebell
In the long grass
Where knapweed
And yellow rattle
Flower purple and gold.

That tiny splash
Of eggshell blue caught
The ripples of the wind
And danced,
And I danced too
With sheer delight.

Slugs

August 30, 2012

Today I came across
A cornucopia
Of slugs on the path.

Slimy and fat,
Yellow and grey,
This bevy of slugs
Slid away
With malicious intent
To the next banquet.

Ridgeway

July 7, 2012


When my feet
Touch this path of rusty flint
And sun bleached chalk

Present and past
Have no meaning,
It is all one
Here at the edge.

Grey wethers,
Woman and man,
Stand forever bound in stone,
Elf shot and spindle whorl
Cast aside.
Lynchettes lie fallow
Under the vast and ragged blue.
Mewing buzzards rise and wheel
Through aeons.

What is this earth,
This stone?
Blood and bone?
A restless churning tide
Of stardust?
My footsteps echo
Through the rolling
Vaults of time.

The Dance

May 27, 2012

The old man sits on the wall,

Sits and smokes his pipe.

The child dances in the puddle,

Dances on white clouds

In an upside down sky.

Water rises and falls,

Rises and falls.

The old man smokes his pipe.

Blue smoke billows

And curls ever upwards.

Spectres

March 10, 2012

The cold grey sea
Stirs sinuous weed,
Bladder wrack, dulse,
Kelp, carrageen.
Dancing shrouds
Ripple and weave
On the winnowing tide.

Grey water slips
Into gulleys.
Around black rocks
Swash and backwash
Channel and flow,
Shift drifting sand
Over stripped bones.

“O tiny child
What did you see
With your grey green eyes?
What did you see
In that far away time
In the green, green field
Where the hungry grass grows?

Where are the weak?
Do they lie under stones
In the field of death
Or by the roadside?
Nothing but bones.
You alone were
Picked to survive.”

This poem evolved during my research into family history in the late 1840s at the time of the Irish famine. The research raised questions concerning the choices faced by families. How was food shared within the family?