Can I hold on to this moment?
Can I captivate the new-born chill,
the knowing we decided we’ll
leave sleepy warmth and dark behind
and footfall through the early quiet?
We don’t mind the misty sky:
beneath our feet, the path is dry.
Across the street, by old stone wall,
some old, big trees drape over all
who join them, briefly, wear the crown
of thousands green leaves looking down
with whispered curiosity
and musings on the world they see.
We step beneath the leafy host
and stop, for this is truly close
to magic. Every leaf above us
gathered every drop of mist
within its reach, rolled it together
for a private, separate weather.
Captured by their wet applause
you and I look up, and pause.
We hear rain fall all around.
Not a drop spills on the ground.
It’s late now, fiddler man. Go home!
Balance your fiddle and folding chair
on your sturdy bike, while over there
a pair of racers breeze past
on sleek fast bikes, and students
lay in the park where you played,
on the lush, soft green, the summer scene
a welcome relief from their brief burst
of hard work. A seasoned drunk
marches along, the harsh song
of his over-loud voice advertising
his choice between reality and
sweet escape this night.
Yeah, right enough it’s late, and
the notes fade, and fiddler man
balances his odd load on his bike,
and he pedals away, away.
it doesn’t matter today
because the grey of the sky
has leached the colour from
dissolved with distant
patience resistant shields
to the sad truth plain to
the fat gobbling children
singing and building shrines
to the glory of their own
What she carries on her chest
is more than you can handle.
That unselfconscious confidence,
Doc Martens stride. These other guys
don’t get that she’s a threat.
And, so, you improvise.
You build a funhouse mirror wall with all
your “harmless” little jokes and anecdotes,
to capture her reflection.
You point to this distorted whore
with rolling eyes, indulgent guffaw,
labelling it “woman”.
And as your cronies laugh along
(sure, where’s the harm?),
you hope that, please, no-one will hear
behind your leer the sorry fear
of what she carries on her chest.
I’ve never been quite sure what to do with my poetry. I post it online, two or three people read it, then it fades into obscurity. Yet I always get very positive feedback, so it seemed a shame to not do more with what I write. I don’t feel a poetry collection is really the right way to bring poems into their own, they’re better displayed on a wall. It occurred to me to write them in calligraphy, but still it didn’t feel right. The idea then evolved to turn into making the poetry part of a work of art, but the problem is, I’m no fine artist. One day, I had the idea to use decoupage.
Here is a scan of the first canvas I made of one of my poems. It’s called Breakfast at Dan’s, and was written here:
…while I waited three hours for my kids to finish at summer camp in Carlingford, at the Adventure Centre just around the corner. I made it into this:
I am rather proud of myself.
While the dwarfs are marching with the giants to the field,
while those watching eat and chatter ’bout the dying day its yield
Quiet talks the serving barman to the old man and his wife
’bout the death of his dear sister and the sorrows of his life.
He wipes the counter, turns the softened sound up for the game
where the children have now left the field to overpaid big names.
And he serves another customer, pours him a bitter beer.
Golden whiskey from a bottle, crystal Vodka, pure and clear.
And if it reaches you, my friend, do you
then grasp it in your hands? Do you
curl gentle fingers round
the light that whispers
urgent secrets – ones that
vanish as they spill?
Can you gain comprehension from
the touch that feathers ‘cross
your palm? Can you know what
it is, the art, the aching
depth from which that
soft light shines?
Perhaps it is not touchable. Perhaps
the light is liquid, flows
away at slightest hint of precious
contact it so craves.