Tuesday, 20 October 2015

'In Ballyroe.'

'In Ballyroe.'

'In Ballyroe', poem.

Another published poem of reflection, 'In Ballyroe.'

In Ballyroe

Kilfinane, Co. Limerick
In Ballyroe I look at a roadside fence
below a lawned rise and rounded ship’s-bridge windows. 
Up the way other houses are snug to the verge
or ride the outwaves of the Ballyhoura hills—
down, a stream thins on between brows of marshgrass
which bind or loosen the south Limerick damp.
The town then, announced by a Church of Ireland wall
much-fettled, a finger post that says ‘House of Music’
and points to a martyr’s iron tears.

Before I was born I came from here
but I lived in places of soot,
of cold that unmakes the pulse,
in brown forever Sunday places
with curtains bunched in window gaps
and gates without sure catches.  I entertained
moon- and frying-pan faces, unlaughed lips,
huckstering eyes, voices that promised the length of the road
then ghosted away at a bend.

All the while, I guess, the church wall
breathed birdsong, the finger post urged music
on black windows, dogs with appointments
at town-end bins, the An Post van tight-circling
from Noonan’s pumps and coal.

I look again far up, far down.  A starling initiates
the mobbing of a roof.  Light flashes through my years,
dim or blinding, as in a drunken storm,
as in a message fizzed from wire to wire
that hides the odd pick of sense
in lengths and widths of a language
that has never found its country or its breath.

Monday, 19 October 2015

My novels The Mercury Annual and Pilgrims at the White Horizon are both available on Amazon, along with my poetry collections Batmans Hill, South Staffs and The Girl from Midfoxfields Good reads (to filch the title from another site).

Sunday, 18 October 2015

'The Red Fault Lamp', William Plomer
An Apollo mission poem (the Apollo 11 mission forms the background to 'Bikes', below).  This is more of an oddity than anything in Bowie's song. I don't know if it's in Plomer's Collected Poems. I found it in London Magazine: 25 Years, 1961-1985, edited by Alan Ross: a wonderful miscellany of contributors including Auden, Larkin, Nadine Gordimer, William Trevor and Keith Vaughan. Plomer's poem is in his handwriting.
The red fault lamp
in the zero reset push-button
is lit on one axis, look,
and it still stays lit
after fault setting, after checking
it still stays lit:
where do we go from here?

Another thing I don't know
is where should the x and y
oscilloscope input leads be connected
if a check is needed
of the optics signal waveform?
Look at the red fault lamp,
it still stays lit.

Somewhere something is wrong,
as it usually is;
after checking, after re-setting
who would ever have thought
the mean little red fault lamp
would still stay lit?
My third question: no answer.

From back there no answer,
nor likely to be now we're this far out
with the moon small as a nut.
I knew a girl went through life
as born, with only one tit,
and here we are, three nuts in space
with our red fault lamp still lit.
'Inishbofin, Co. Galway, from the Ferry.'  By my cousin, photographer Vince Conlon.

A poem from my new collection

Here is a poem from my new 2015 collection, Come To Pass.



Swans chaperone their majesty,
haul sun-shells in their wake,
tune the grace of entrance
through invisible arches.

Moorhens fare out to willow islands,
warm the farers of the coming year
on lying-in beds
hulled miraculous from dross and switch.

At the edge,
black apples vibrate into coots
who skip and zag
like gabardine men dodging rain,
who topple in, tiny drunks
assured that each fall has its pillow.

Their splashes
rouse the lake to its dimensions,
thread bank to bank
in echoes like a secret name
told once and tucked away
as a feather might fold
in a swan’s colossal shade
when the miles drum into its heart,
when it spreads upon the screes of wind
and beats down the world.

Hello Everyone,
This is my winning poem in the 2015 Buzzwords Cheltenham Poetry competition  
July 1969.  For M.E, 1953-2014
We stood smack in the middle of summer,
felt the minutes, hours, days flow down our skin.
A crazy bunch of miles above, some man
was set to trampoline about the moon
and get himself misheard by history.
The sun was our manor.  We swung our bikes
along its beams, its paths and cut-throughs, out
across the molten ways of housing schemes,
where peace begged for a chance from open doors
and windows sang of pinball wizardry.
No freedom for the man up on the moon,
no change of gear or bush-grassed gulley.  He
was parked before the world, a black-white moth
netted with one wing twitching.  We roared on.
He jumped stiff-legged, a toddler testing beds.
We slicked our tyres with ancient oil.  He coped
as best he could with ice-white silence, left
a flag to be unloved by July breeze.

Did we feel autumn in our bones as we
rode home, hear time complaining at the snow?
Course not: we’d been bowling over fire,
chasing sun-spots like rooks.  Our transmissions
were simple as a breath, joy to muscle
to speed to joy to muscle—the right stuff.
Meanwhile, beyond the day, the moon man tried
to get back up a ladder as unsound
as those our dads ascended, bulb in hand,
mithering of expense and foreign tat,
while far below our mothers gripped the rungs
and tuned their minds’ dial elsewhere, to their times
of joy, of speed and fire, endless sun.
For further information, please go to
and the link 'News.'
or  http://buzzwordspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/