Secrets from the Secret Well by Stephen Moran (Kindle, 2023)
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
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
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.
A MONTH OF SUNDAYS
The only time I'm with you is when you're not here.
Oh never let me see you, let's never meet again.
I can live for eternity on a dismal weekend
But time goes too fast in heaven.
Photo: Graffiti, The Broadway, North Harrow. More about this on Twitter
CANARY DREAM #4
in a sun-room
try to put it
in a cage
in the air
and out the window
From Day of the Flying Leaves (2021)
Photo: A story I wrote about Kenny the canary was published in Bird Times (US) in 2002. It subsequently appeared in The London Silence (2004).
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.
SHTISEL SAID IT ALL
Nobody's dead, it's okay.
The people who made you
are in you. And those you knew,
whose folks were in them too,
came into you as well.
And the crowd of you mingled
into the crowd of them,
Late arrivals ringing, appeared
and oh the reunions,
the smiles, the sorrys,
and the laughter.
Photo: The Bohemian Society, Dublin. My grandfather Peter Moran is seen in profile, seated on the right. I don’t know who the others are or the date, possibly late 1930s.
LAST DAY, FINAL REDUCTIONS
Wake up to
A bubble in my ear.
And in my other ear.
A gap under the door.
The idea of a mouse exhausts me.
My attitude is no good.
My skin is no good.
My history is no good.
My character is no good.
My personality is no good.
My behaviour is no good.
My poetry is no good.
I am no good.
Make a note.
Photo: Mothercare store closed (Harrow, June 2022). Handwritten signs on the windows say “Last Day” and “Final reduction” .
THE WEIGHT OF WORDS
The number of all the raindrops that ever fell on England
raised to all the snowflakes that ever fell on Japan
that number of words,
would not outweigh a pinch of wild cotton
as would make a pillow
for a fairy.
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