Different War

Falls Road. Barbed wire walls. Barred windows

An ’80’s paint-flaked door swings to and fro,
creaking in night stillness (more…)



Do not ask me what it was like over there,
My deeds, such as they were, are not the stuff of pride.
Fighting in the trenches was a brutal affair,
Our small triumphs unworthy of those who died.



A Wonderful Experience

During the First World War the staff members of Belfast Public Libraries who enlisted in regiments of the British Army remained employees of the library on half pay if they corresponded regularly with the Chief Librarian, Mr Elliott, and his assistant, Mr Goldsbrough. (more…)


Frank’s Letter

(with interjections by Cathy Donnell as Resa and John Monaghan as Frank)

My dear Cousin Resa

Frank: What side of the bush did yon rose spring from?

Just a p.c. to acknowledge your welcome letter received some weeks ago.

Resa: Feels like a lifetime. (more…)


Mrs Corey’s Lament

Here I am walkin’ the roads again cryin’ me eyes out. But I just can’t stay in the house since I got the news about Pat. He’s everywhere in there. If I sit at the kitchen table there he is, six years old again and askin’ me, “Ma’ can I have more of the cake?” Or, “Can I go out with Jimmy to play football?” (more…)


Coming Home

Trimble’s Horse was a squadron of cavalry raised for the UVF by the then owner of the Impartial Reporter. When the Great War broke out, many of these farmers and tradesmen joined either the Inniskilling Dragoons or the North Irish Horse.  Those assigned to the Western Front served in the trenches for most of the War, but in the closing months some rode again. (more…)


Wilder Mind

The decade 1912-1922 brought many changes and whilst there is a justified focus on the horrors of the First World War, there were other socio-political phenomena like the Woman’s Suffrage movement. The circumstances of the war brought into sharper focus the role of women in our society and was a turning-point on the road towards greater gender equality.

I was surprised, intrigued and delighted as a poet to receive this voice and it is a great pleasure to paint in this little historic detail and to share it with my friends.’ (more…)


The Band of Blind and Buggered


First in line, as I have some vision
…slightly blurred.

I am well used to the dark as a miner.
(Must find a way to live like this.)
At least I can still sing.

Oh God. What a needless war. (more…)


It was my Birthday Today

As a collector of military antiques for almost fifty years, I am fascinated by the personal items associated with conflicts of the past that come into my ownership.While uniforms, rifles and bayonets may represent the face of War, it is often the small personal possessions that have been handed down to family members from the past that tell the real story of war and loss. (more…)



You know, I never learned to shoot worth half a damn
but I could tote a bucket with the best.
The Flanders mud was firm to me beside Fermanagh glaur,
and in my hands those canvas buckets
rested light and easy as the feed for calves. (more…)