This got nowhere in the Munster Lit “Fool for Poetry” chapbook contest. So “as is my wont” I hereby publish it myself. Many of the poems are in the back pages on this blog, as was specifically allowed in the rules for the competition. There are also a few new ones.
Photo: Sunburst over the grotto of the apparitions to the right of and beneath the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Lourdes, viewed almost in silhouette from the middle of a nearby bridge on the river Gave de Pau
One passionfruit, 99p from the greengrocer on the corner. It has an unprepossessing shell-like skin, mottled brown turning purplish when ripe, as here.
Featured image: the same fruit cut open, spectacularly colourful interior spilling out seeds coated in liquid pulp in shades of amber or mustard. The soft inner peel is a pastel rosé wine colour under a thin white inner layer.
Alternative caption: “Look what I nearly stepped in!”
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF MEANING?
“He’s got no faloorum, fol-diddle-dol-day
Maids when you’re young, never wed an old man”
Meaning is like faloorum.
Life has no meaning, old men no faloorum.
He's lacking in meaning fol-diddle-dol-day.
He's got no faloorum, he's meaningless too-rum,
Maids when you're young never ask an old man.
♪ If there’s no meaning no meaning has meaning. ♪
So all is fine because life has no meaning
and nothing has meaning, not meaning itself.
It’s no loss for life to be lacking in something
that has no meaning when lack of a meaning
is the lack of a nothing, by definition,
and the lack of a nothing is no lack at all.
Photos: Billboards apparently advertising Day of the Flying Leaves and New Short Stories 12
I mostly follow behind the kids as their father leads us over grass and bumpy paths in the countryside. We’re on an outing to somewhere. The small boy, knee-high to me, grows tired and stops. “Do you want me to give you a piggyback?” As he’s getting on, I hope I can remember how to do this. He’s actually taller than I thought, something like eleven year-old, can’t really get settled on. Then he’s gone altogether. I’m saying the boy is nowhere to be seen but they have disappeared around the edge of a hill. When I turn left by the hill, it’s our destination- a small sunny cove. The open water is far off to the right and featureless. Here the water is only ankle-deep, clear and floored with colourful stones. The family are on the small beach across the water, along with other groups already there. There is no other way, so I call over to my friend, “Am I supposed to walk across with bare feet?” He answers, “Yes, both of them.” I’m amused and think to myself, this is an excellent example of subtle humour.
Photo: A view across Kilkeran Lake with the surface reflecting mirror-like the blue sky, white clouds and rushes. On the far side there are farm fields with hedgerows and a homestead in the distance. (West Cork, 2001?)
EVERYONE IN THE STREET IS A GHOST
An elderly mother of ghosts
traipses the soggy winter path,
the lumpy concrete
of Shakespeare's stage,
In a side street,
ghosts walk alone in anoraks,
all going home from shops
they passed by without buying,
faceless to each other's backs.
Photo: Crowds of people, Piccadilly Circus, Christmas 2018, blurred night scene with glaring lights and pallid illuminated buildings
I AM WORDS
A room empty but for a teletype machine, sporadically producing words.
There's more in the words than there is in the room.
There's more in the words than there is in me.
There's nothing in me but words.
I am words.
Photo: Greenford Road this evening at lighting up time. Cars parked, leaving, passing by with their red tail lights, delivery bikes, shops, street furniture, lamppost lit up, litter, cloudy sky, people in the distance further down the path almost silhouettes etc.
It was a very good night. Apologies for overrunning the time. Thanks to everyone who came and to Katy Darby and Claire Lacey for bringing the stories to life. Couldn’t have done any of it without the support of Liars’ League and Brent Libraries.
EVERY TIME IS THE LAST EVER
"We know not the hour"
How many more times will I walk downstairs
and what last things have I already seen?
The day before the night, the last round of the clock.
The year I went home, never to see Dublin again.
Our last Christmas dinner: that was it, no leftovers.
L’chaim! When we met in the pub in twenty-eighteen,
We shared those last embraces before the pandemic.
And the last poem I ever wrote, well is this it?
Photo: Bathmat towel with a random thread that looks like the number 78 on it.
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