Monday, 1 May 2017

Rippling Chorus

A dusky April sky effects a rippling chorus
of baas and cries, giggles, croaks and snores,
maas and sighs.
It's as if there is a ringleader hell bent on a Mexican bleat,
or indeed a cheerleader who wants to keep them all keen.
It's fine to see them mingling in the dark, slowing to a stop
until each rambling singleton is consumed by the flock.

A resounding naa silences, the starlings cease their clacketing
and even I stand fast, nearly polite.
Seconds later a rebellious gurgle restarts the racket in
the next field, throaty chatter peals into the night.

The response of stuttering lambs contrasts with the experience
and confidence of ewes and rams, who may well be furious
with their charges.
It sounds like the newborns understand anyway, regardless.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A Fish Money

We each begged for a fish money, and,
when secured, set off up Quaker Road
to reach and point our silvered palms
as we reduced our ten p loads.
First, the crisps, nine pence gone
and then one left to spend just right
you wouldn't believe how long
it took us to choose what to buy.
The poor woman we called the lady!,
We must have driven her mad;
We'd no sooner got a penny Jelly Baby
but we were trying to get our money back.
Our Granny didn't ever give us gifts
but, we got the odd bulky, heavy card.
Now, part of that was actual adhesive:
She'd stick coins onto one side, very hard
to remove but we accepted the challenge
and compared our Sellotaped spoils, first
in obverse-sides-up towers, neatly balanced,
and then and only then in worth.
No one ever got the same amount
as another, so there was always a winner
and we enjoyed the competitive count
as much as the Tanora she always had in.
I can remember how the pound coin enthralled me,
the red deer forged the big, green note's replacement.
And I travelled with Deutschmarks, Francs and Lire
before the Euro took the Punt from circulation.
There's something rooting about cash in your hand,
just thinking about it transports me, isn't it funny
to be defined in your own memory of time and land?
Ah, spare a thought for the future's fish money.

(Explanation: I hear, more and more, about the possibility of cash being replaced by electronic pay systems. Click here for one recent article I read on the subject. I hope this doesn't happen. Cash is like scents or sounds, it can put you somewhere or sometime, just by thinking about it. I think it is especially important for children to handle money and to learn about its worth.
Our trips to the shop, in the early 1980's, mostly took place when we were at our aunt's house. The shop in the poem was called Fitzgerald's. When we were at home we were too far away from the nearest shop to walk to it. That was part of the excitement, being able to get to the shop in two minutes.
We used to call the ten-pence piece "fish money" because it had the image of a salmon on it. And, I know it's hard to believe, we were able to buy a bag of Tayto crisps with a fish money and get change!).

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Called Early

I tucked the sleeping children in
and ignored the salamander.
It flipped and flicked and fidgeted;
an athletic demander.
I chased it without fright or fear
yet I was playfully outskilled,
it did not hide, but reappeared
and darted to a quilt.
It fitted prone as if to draw
attention to the shape,
I looked intently, then I saw
a matrix in the drape.
I had a tissue in my hold
and picked up the lizard still.
I opened out the window
and put it safely on the sill.
I woke then with the details all
burned into my brain.
That morning I had been called
early by the flames.

(Explanation: I got up at 04:30 on the morning of 09/02/2017 feeling I had to get the fire lit. I did that and then fell asleep on the couch in front of it. I had the dream detailed above, very bright, detailed, vivid. The "matrix" I refer to was a shape that I can only conclude was that of a uterus. So, I felt (I hoped!!!!) the dream signalled the menopause...I can tell you now for certain that there is still evidence to the contrary.
I've had dreams like this one before, where I see things like someone I know who is pregnant going into labour, and then later that day I hear that they did go into labour at that time. Or others where I knew the sex of a baby. Also, other ones that are not related to babies! 
We'll see what happens. I'm not sure what a salamander is, it was just in my mind after the dream. The creature in the dream was a creamy-yellow colour with black marks on it. I'm afraid to look up the type of lizard I saw in case it's an omen of terrible things to come. But, the dream didn't feel frightening at all, I'll update here if anything relevant happens).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Three Rings

"Roll up, roll up, fun and laughter,
Trumpety-trump, I'm the ringmaster.
Rabble-dabble, dinky-donk, twinkle-inkle-oo,
pow-doo-wow, kapow-kapow, jingle-jangle-joo.
If I talk for long enough and pause to purse my lips
you'll fall for all the glompy-gloop and all the tiggle-wig.
Inky-winky, topple-too, snupple-bupple-fabbing,
Misinformation, misdirection, misses always like my grabbing.
Danty-wanty, simper-so, deny, delete, decry,
rippy-nip, what I say goes, first I took their rights.
Cay-ka-cow and zoon-aray and twisty-twusty-tate,
When in doubt what next to say, stick to preaching hate.
Wishy-wash, hum-dum-dee-doo, disloyal traitor mayors.
It's all the Muslims' fault, you know, fadum-dum-ding-dong-dayers.
Build the wall, yaloo-long-lee, Mexicans repulse me,
throw the park rangers over it, tell-ton-tin-ton-tully.
Cha-cha-cha, twirly-whirl, I've such great attributes,
and qualities, all of the qualities, la-la-loopy-loop.
Roll up, roll up," the ringmaster sounds,
"This is my circus, we've got clowns."


(Explanation: I love Chicago, the musical. But, the track, 'Razzle Dazzle', one of my favourites, has been tainted since watching Donald Trump's campaign for and election to the US presidency. That line, "Give 'em the old three-ring circus..." has been on a loop in my head. "Three Rings" is a play on that line, Donald Trump's three marriages and the fact that, to me, he's in the centre of his own three-ring circus. The worse part of it is that Trump didn't have to razzle-dazzle anyone, he just spat bile all over people....and they voted for him. ).

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Rose Interest

Nettles and dock leaves circle my rose interest
until the prince will free the sleeping princess
and restore the realm.
Proof that the world provides freely in overwhelm
the weeds strive and vy for prime position,
to be the best.
Weeding conditions are truly a test:
My rambling royals are worth the shears-wielding
and the stings.
They bow in yielding thanks and duly swing
curtsies at the sun so I am decorated
for my valour.
Nature is breathtaking dressed in folded flowers
but she doesn't wear them every day,
as is the custom.
Results occur if I am wholly trustful
so it seems that the earth succumbs to me
after a little focus.
Or maybe it gives in as it does with the roses,
all things come at the right moment,
regardless.
If the prince is not the one the sleeping princess
might choose to don an air of snooze
upon the kiss.
Those in our world who aim and miss
find themselves wronged due to a faulty song
they chanted.
No fairytale endings issue so they can't
trust that living a good life is a must
for a deal that's fair.
Nettles and docks are the least of their
distresses: No princes to free their princesses,
even in their dreams.
Proof that the world provides freely, unreasonably
with no just cause or thoughtful pause
for human lives.
My rose interest roots, grows, blooms, thrives
without, it seems, having to believe
in anything.

(Explanation: Just ramblings! (This poem may or may not be finished). I get the idea behind positive thinking, that it leads to positive outcomes. But, a glance at the news on any given day has me wondering how any of it could be true. For example, it can't be reasoned that the Syrian people collectively forgot to think positively.)

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Pause

Surrender your grasp, whatever your cause,
on the future and past, for the sake of a pause.
We've closed the gates, the keys are hung up,
there's no early or late but there's more than enough.
There's a meaning, a meeting, a moreness, a mist
on streaming and reading that already exists.
The latch is on, the curtains are drawn
and the same old songs herald the dawn.
"...not even a mouse..." echoes around,
if we had hatches on our house they'd be battened down.
The fire's blazing, the washing is dry,
the children are gazing for clues in the sky.
There's a feeling, a freeing, a focus, a fizz
on dreaming and healing and those that we miss.
Whether you are inclined or firmly against,
there's finally time to finally rest.
This moment's the truth, whatever you know,
we've nothing to do and nowhere to go.
It's the privilege of biding shrouded in peace,
while others are stifled by siege without cease.
There's a greening, a greeting, a gallop, a gliss
on scheming and reaching the ultimate pitch.
The time will progress, wherever you are,
and I mean to spend it counting my stars.
For the sake of a pause, on the future and past,
whatever your cause, surrender your grasp.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

December

January is very strong,
yet even it cannot last long.

The season's weather turns from black,
a white endeavour sees Winter pass.

February, March and April,
come to stay but aren't able.

The season's weather turns from white,
a flash of yellow means Spring has died.

May, June and then July,
determined but must still decline.

The season's weather turns from yellow,
the browns together let Summer go.

August, September and October,
settle in and then they're over.

The season's weather turns from browns,
the blackness severs Autumn's bounds.

The last few sparks fleet with November
and, on the mark, it is December.

Each season born and then departed,
as quickly gone as it was started.
It's all pretend, a thin veneer,
it starts again, another year.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Sun Way

Fire and life, fire and life,
night is day and day is night.
Ritual traced, rites observed,
gifts to the kith of the other world,
eat and feast, pick and preserve,
vigil in place, time and words.
Night is day and day is night,
fire and life, fire and life.

Centre of the sun,
and the centre of the earth:
Autumn equinox,
dark and light of equal worth.

Forsake the old, hail the new
burn from the night through the morning dew.
Kindle and quench, then kindle again,
souls to their homes on the druids' spell.
Knocking on doors, hands outstretched,
keepers of the flames, diviners to be fed.
Harvest staples gathered, give the seers feed,
apples, brack and berries, Colcannon, nuts and seeds.
Sustain them so they work the night
suppressing calls or knocks of fright
from evil púca and the like
that near your brood or domicile.
A wailer in a gown, a bean sí screech
on this, Samhain, the Celtic feast.

A stock still sun,
midwinter has appeared:
Solstice night has begun,
the longest of the year.

Watch for the snake and eye the badger's set,
hope for the rain and make up Brigid's bed.
Don't forget the birch wand, she must cast her spell,
walk the sun way around the holy well.
Offer up a coin or a liquid contribution
to usher in new growth.
Secure blessed absolution
by bringing sacred water home.
Lay the table for the imminent promise
of the season's truest prophet.
Shoots burst forth, once again a novice
in the hands of fertility's White Goddess,
Blossoms out of bulbs, lambs in the fields,
on this, Imbolc, the Celtic feast.

Centre of the sun
and the centre of the earth;
Spring equinox comes,
dark and light of equal worth.

From Uisneach, let the trails ablaze
to every single pasture passage.
Tandem fires and gifts to praise
the beasts that prey on cattle.
Decorate the hawthorn and other thorny trees
and make up yellow bouquets
to ward off the old aos sí
for an auspicious May.
Let luck run from the highest rock
for ultimate crop fruition,
for safe and healthy grass livestock
and clement, clear conditions.
Protect every drill, every fruit and every leaf,
on this, Bealtaine, the Celtic feast.

A stock still sun,
midsummer has appeared;
Solstice day has begun
the longest of the year.

Bilberries and funeral play,
climb right up Croagh Patrick.
Marriages for a year and a day,
sever or take your chances.
Harvest time, let's celebrate
while we have the light.
Around again, the holy wells,
Tailtiú's death is our birthright.
Feed on what she made to yielding
from her clearing paths for seeding.
As she fostered so did those succeeding
and Setanta comes into our reading.
From Lugh's arm, the corn bequeathed,
on this, Lughnasa, the Celtic Feast.

Centre of the sun,
and the centre of the earth:
Autumn equinox,
dark and light of equal worth.

Fire and life, fire and life,
night is day and day is night.
Ritual traced, rites observed,
gifts to the kith of the other world,
eat and feast, pick and preserve,
vigil in place, time and words.
Night is day and day is night,
fire and life, fire and life.

(Explanation: Happy Celtic New Year! The start of the new year was, traditionally in Ireland, marked by Samhain on 1st November. I hear the meteorologists on radio and TV have moved Ireland's seasons on a month. I get it: That puts us in line with the UK and it makes much more sense in terms of the weather. However, I mark the seasons the old way and I like to give a nod to the even older ways too).


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Royal Index

My sister is our executrix, what a fancy appellation.
Presumably, there will soon be a suitable replacement.
Still we hear the terms landlord and landlady
when owner and proprietor are in use already.
I heard a man on the radio reject 'postman' by a reporter.
He said, "it's not used anymore, I'm a postal worker."
Only right and only fair, I totally agree
and happily embrace this new gender neutrality.
No more usherettes, no more comediennes,
no more farmerettes and no more chairwomen.
Long gone is the stewardess, barmaids can't be hired,
all actors now the actresses, firefighters fight the fires.
But, please, keep the royal index; indulge my daughters' world,
there's nothing like a princess for my two little girls.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Fleshy Pound

No more double Irish,
we're big on moral ground.
So modern now, and stylish,
our book-keeping is sound.
Our Revenue Commissioners
will actively chase down
our neighbours, friends and relatives
for every fleshy pound.
This is a great little country
to do your business in;
we're hardcore loophole junkies
and we're not short of plebians.
We've taxed our average Paddys
so they dismay at being employed.
Sit down there now, be happy,
pick the taxes to avoid.
Just relax, we're here for you,
you're our priority.
Sure, isn't it a solemn truth
about the apple and the tree?
We look the other way
to any fraudulent intent
and when it's time to pay
you can throw us a few cent.
We stand tall for equality,
but, don't worry yourself,
you're more equal, we'll agree,
than anybody else.
Come in, come in and fáilte,
marauder, raider, pirate.
We want you to exploit us,
use the tredecuple Irish.

(Explanation: *facepalm*. More information here.)