Touching Grass

Touch Grass they say these days: step away from the computer and get in touch with the real world that is beginning  to grow outside. And what knows more about touching grass than a corncrake?

Sometimes, as with a wildflower meadow, all you can do is prepare the ground and wait to see what turns up.

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Corncrake

A corncrake haunts our meadow still
pale summer nights
his eye alert
his call rasping at sleep
breaking into dreams
from dusk till dawn
from here from there
where tangled grasses
sway in flower
cock’s foot, timothy, sweet vernal. (more…)

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Tell Me a Story

Writing is an art that is perhaps ten thousand years old, but the art of storytelling is much, much older. Humans have been been telling stories from the very beginning – perhaps from before there was anyone who we would recognise as human.

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Wraparound Cardigan

Unhook it in the hall,
ease the front door closed and breathe.

Raise my arms and I am winged.
Right tip – left shoulder,

pin it fast; then the other.
Deep folds drape to my navel. (more…)

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Boxopera

BOXOPERA manifests the claustrophobia of the pandemic through the writings and paintings of local people; a time of being corralled into small spaces where only imagination and creativity offered entry into wider vistas. Within these small spaces the operas of real life unfolded. The name of the installation was inspired by Benedict Kiely’s book Proxopera, set amidst the Troubles, in which the main character himself is in a situation which is antithetical to all he believes in. (more…)

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Rainy Day Books

The old people used to talk of the Big Snow of 1947 when the snow fell in February and lay until June, burying houses and bringing everything to a complete stand-still. In 2020 we could see Covid coming like a great storm bringing a silence like a snowfall, confining us to the house, safe in the knowledge that no one would expect us to go anywhere or do anything. (more…)

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Left Behind

Aside from poorly aged belongings
Unwanted and dust covered
I leave you my stories
The postcards of my inner vacations

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Bloody Friday 1972

We raked the hay in Edenmore.
My Belfast Aunts and I
Each straw from the ditches saved
A winter’s cowcud store.
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Reclamation

The bees are not twelve hours gone and already
Admirals have claimed their stands to worship the sun.
Willowherb fluff drifts across where their hives once stood,
their Buddleia bush — where they loved to swarm,
swarms with butterflies who suck nectar uncontested. (more…)

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The Back Field, Loughan

He dug in silence
Except for the rattle and wheeze
Of the upcoming sticky spit
Which he exacted with precision
From the right corner of his mouth (more…)

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Waiting for the Cavalry

She cradles you in breathless prayer as
You rage inside a godless place.
“There now, my baby.”
She ladles love
Across your old man’s face. (more…)

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What the Bee Sees

A photographer friend does the unusual
He takes photos of flowers from the perspective of a bee
He dives deep inside, beyond the colourful bud
The surrounding leaves, to see the inner heart of a flower (more…)

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In Google Meadow


I glimpse a corncrake on screen, hover
my cursor over the office worker plumage,
brown with subtle beige hints; (more…)

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Among Books

Within these walls are books galore
far more than you can ever own or read
or even see the need that they should be.

Relax, unwind.
Books do not mind if you should pass them by

Yet sometimes, through the corner of your eye
a title speaks to you, calls out its name. (more…)

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Library

the feel of the book
the turn of the page
the holding of words (more…)

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The Old Graveyard

On Sundays
When we were children
And the weather was good
My father and mother
Dressed in their Sunday Best
Would take us for a walk
From our home in Mill Street
To the Back Lough. (more…)

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