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.)

Monday, 1 August 2016

Sundays Then

Sundays then were slow, the sounds were ritual.
Mikey sat at the radio, Nell starting the soup.
We wake with sore heads and secrets solemnly sworn,
jokes that only we can get and orange blazers thrown
in the corner for the next weekend.
We look older in shoulder pads, or we think they fool the doormen.
Orange juice and peach schnapps, Abrakebabra for something in a bun.
Olive at the juke box taps Independent Love Song.
We know everyone in town, or we imagine that part.
Payphones are dialled around, the numbers off by heart.
Comps and dating at The Queen's Old Castle.
So begins the waiting for the night to happen.
The usual fight in sway outside Burgerland,
a salutational wave from one in the fighting act.
See?, Didn't I say we weren't short of contacts!
The heron on the fountain perches on the top-tier seat
and So Long Marianne trills from the busker on Prince's Street.
Saturday replaced by another morning after.
We wake late but in time for the starter,
always creamy soup on a well-laid table.
Mikey with his pipe and tunes,
Nell dressed up under her apron.
Sundays then in Mount Pleasant Avenue.

(Explanation: Very happy memories flooded back to me recently when I reconnected with an old friend. Olive Staunton and I were primary and secondary school friends. There were a few years when I imagine her mother wondered if they'd ever see a Sunday again that didn't involve me waking up in their house. My aim for my household would be to reach the hospitality heights of the Stauntons' but I'd settle for getting half-way there.)

Friday, 1 July 2016

Flowers Low

The iris opened wide that day, her plaited petals freed.
The lilacs had declined to stay, the lupins gone to seed.
She looked 'round for her floret mate but one nod from the rose
told her of a tragic fate in spite of love and growth.
Had she been aware of the sad news she'd have opted to keep shut;
She had no choice but to bloom as the orange blossom must.
Green as far as she could see, life bursting out with living
because the grasses and the trees couldn't break their rhythm.
She envied so her sisters' standards, sleeping, dreaming, curled;
wrapped up tightly in their flags while she flaunted hers unfurled.
The crysanthemums stood tall together and resolved to hold their stance,
inspiring clumps of heather to mark the date with dance.
The dog daisies shone their light to honour the deceased,
and no others, still to be untied, sobbed louder than the lilies.
The chive scapes were mortified; they wished to dull their purple heads,
and the hydrangea's blushing sepals cried that they offered their regrets.
The rose hung her flowers low so the iris turned her blades.
Both, just like any rainbow, all the stronger for the rain.

The garden's moral compass had yet to wave in style
but the gladioli felt the loss of one of their own kind.

Before the season perished, before the month had even changed,
they'd be seen paying their respects where the tulip bulbs were laid.

(Explanation: On 12th June 2016, a tragedy occurred at Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Florida in the US, where a shooting left fifty people dead. Jo Cox was tragically shot and stabbed to death on 16th June in England, UK. And yet another tragedy, yet another shooting, on 28th June, left  more than 40 people dead at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Turkey.) 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Dry Land

At the end of the rains we took our places
seemingly irreverent to the near sacred
act of being outside for pleasure.
The children, kneeling to plant sticks and feathers,
discarded their hats on dry land.
I sat as if this was normal weather
and forgot all that had passed.

Room for their assertions and their lightning feet
so they seemed muffled on being freed
from the incessant indoors for months on end.
As they retraced the paths and bends
I didn't know who they were,
indeed they didn't know themselves,
and at last it was time to remember.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

My Frogs

When my frogs were leaving,
I thought it no big deal,
they're only frogs and even
then they weren't real.
No croaking noises in the night
I was void and uninspired.
Everything went quiet
and very, very tired.
No need to maintain
the marshes or the reeds
and I used the sharpest blade
to cut the grass and kill the seeds.
For a long time on my hill
nothing grew at all
while I stayed very, very still
in order not to fall.
Then health out-weighted,
by a teaspoon,
the ill that had pervaded.
And by that tiny silver moon
I heard my heart's old melody
wrench me 'til I turned
and saw the very best of me,
my army, had returned.

(Explanation: For over two years I've been sick with, to put it both mildly and politely, a digestive problem. I was diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disorder only in the last week and already I feel the positive impact of the treatment. In order to get through the days I had to discard anything that wasn't directly involved in my survival or that of my children. Everything drained me. Now, after all this time, I'm so happy to see these 'frills' coming back into my life and being able to enjoy them. I know there's a long road ahead and that it's forever but I'm going to enjoy feeling well again, it's something I thought would never happen.
Today is May 1st, traditionally the first day of Summer. Here in Co. Waterford it is a miserable day.......but perfect for frogs!)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Ireland's Brave

Stamping feet and gleaming buttons,
standing neat for bugle summons.
Medals, badges, flags displayed
when Ireland celebrates her brave.

Silence near and giddy young ones,
violent means of  history's reruns.
Brass band bound by bowed berets
when Ireland celebrates her brave.

Speakers keep and gathered listen,
Sunday street set for revision.
A half-mast moment, proud and grave
when Ireland celebrates her brave.

(Explanation: On Easter Monday (28/03/2016) we marked the centenary of Ireland's Easter Rising. However, today, 24/04/2016, is the calendar centenary. I really enjoyed watching the Dublin celebrations on TV at Easter and loved the ceremony in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford today.)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

A Vain Sparrowhawk

The corvids screech and tear,
there's war in the skies
and fear in the air.
The sparrowhawk flies,
a bolt from the blue,
a carrion slain,
wild flapping ensues.
Talons bared,
he triggers a black flight:
Magpies, rooks and hooded crows.
A silent glider hangs high,
a beady eye on the scene below.
The murder removed,
civilisation restored.
And now there are two
left holding the fort.
Elimination of caws,
will there be a cull
of a vain sparrowhawk
by the greater black-backed gull?

If the jackdaws are hushed
and full clipped at the wing
then the swans of Erasmus
would loud their song sing.

(Explanation: Recently, the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria was retaken from the so-called Islamic State. Apparently, Bashar al-Assad, Syria's President, is getting all the credit for this eventhough it seems he is just the frontman for the Russian troops in this case. The mood of displaced Syrians appears to be one of distrust.)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Eat Cake

Is it too much to expect that they will all play fair,
the newly chosen elect select together in daycare?
Made safe from strangers, their every whim is catered for,
they are fed, watered and kept at the right temperature.
These toddlers have the mandate of the nation
but prefer an eat cake interpretation.
They sulk and bawl at not getting their very own way,
skulking past the calls for change that they made.

This elite likes comforters and dodging tax.
They spend their days musing on conundrums
like the destination of the owl and the pussycat.
One pinches the other, gnashing his gums,
no "shake hands, brother", the other pinches back.
They have jobs to do but are better at tantrums,
refusing to eat their vegetables and their hats.
Their bedtime routine is surer than their sums.

The real world crashes with the advance of injustice
while the spoilt brats of Europe prance in their privilege,
shoving their little fists into pots of grubby politics
and then snivelling when they are covered in it.
We can toast our hundred years' anniversary
by noting those things which have not altered:
gold rattles don't soothe the anointed in the nursery
and a woman can still not choose a safe abortion.

(Explanation: On Easter Monday (28/03/2016), we will mark the centenary of Ireland's Easter Rising (24/04/1916), the rebellion that was the beginning of Ireland's struggle for separation from British Rule. 
Ireland held a general election on 26th February. Those elected are in the process of not being able to agree with each other and are also actively back-tracking on the pre-election promises they made.)

Monday, 1 February 2016

Bow Strings

I'm at home with my children.
I'm a stay-at-home mother.
I cook and I clean, one more than the other.
And one far better, I'd much rather clean,
it's all take-aways once they're over 18.

I'm at home with my children.
I home-educate them.
Some sewing, some singing and curriculum trends.
Some times tables rules, some flags of the world,
a lot of being schooled by two little girls

I'm at home with my children.
That's how I answer.
I don't say I'm a dancer of the sean-nós leaning,
(I'm quite alright but my aunt is a demon).
I don't say that I write, that I play the piano,
I don't say that I sing, (but I'm no soprano).
I don't say that I practice spontaneous paces
by trying new things on a regular basis.
I don't say that I train myself in dialects,
I don't say that I paint, (nothing too complex).
I don't say I do paid work when I can:
I edit, I teach, I'm a scribe for exams.
I don't say I'm the actuary and president.
I manage this factory to the last cent.
I don't say that I meditate in circadian flow.
I don't say I've a thing for opera, you know.
I don't say that I've closed in an area by trees
because I hope to be, someday, a keeper of bees.

I'm at home with my children.
I'm not short of talents.
Despite what you think I've a life that's well-balanced.
There's not much in my wallet, I've rarely a bean.
But to be quite honest, I'm living my dream.
We don't borrow and we don't travel far,
so we've little to show but what's there is ours.
Why you're so concerned, I just don't know,
My strings are all mine and they're on my bow.
And I am a total believer in taking my time
towards any achievement I might have in mind.
I never rush, I don't see the sense,
I've been served well enough by taking small steps.
(But that may be a side effect of the fact
that I'm often tired, I'm a taker of naps.)

Modesty's not one of my delusions,
but my time is the rarest
so I've made a conclusion:
I don't want to share it
fielding your queries about my ambition:
I told you, I am at home with my children.