Poetry

(for Helen) There was nothing strange about that overnight stop in Singleton, New South Wales, a wagon-train ride from Sydney, where you and Warren welcomed two pilgrims from the far country, except it was a one-horse town no-one had heard of, and except, after a night of drenching rain, the street was parched as Laramie, […]

Boon companions

by Sys-Admin

(for John Coyle) You can see them still, shadows of the men my father might have met sixty long years ago among the snug and smoky parlours of Dublin pubs. He chose not to. Other servants, civil or not, of the state they were in found solace, chance companions and some cheer amid the porter, […]

What do women want?

by Sys-Admin

Everyone says you’re the perfect couple. The rest of us get by after a fashion, muddling through marriages not made in heaven, each day unmade by an unkind gesture, slighting children, and lies that bind into the years that yawn ahead. But yours was the one that worked, and still reproaches us for all we’re […]

The homing pigeon

by Sys-Admin

I am an embarrassment to my profession. I seek a kind of liberty. My instincts overpower my training. Released each time from bondage, I listen dutifully, obediently, my eyes riveted on my destination. But once out of cage, of hand, of sight, I fly free. Look, they have instructed me, make for Putney (or Donegal, […]

Love’s energy spent, the room assumes a new texture. Come to the window, look, it is raining. Five starlings crystallise the lawn, wet plumage on fire. Rising, they wheel, blurs of insolence, towards the trees. A rainbow frames the sky, streaked with gold and all the colours you could name, my love. Stars emerge. How […]

There will be a lovely quiet on our farm, so hushed we will hear the grass growing as we saunter down through the cornfield, make love by the stream where the salmon leap. Oh, we’ll be happy, the two of us, shouldering home the silence in the evening sun. The mad and lazy days will […]

God smiled again

by Sys-Admin

At last we slept, and in the morning rose to clear the debris. I licked my wounds. It’s just we love not wisely but too well, you pleaded, and recalled that afterwards we sought redemption, framed by the fire inside a kindly room. We purged our guilt, you said. I almost screamed. I never wanted […]

Heytesbury Lane

by Sys-Admin

Waking at night I hear a pig squeal. My room is low-ceilinged with half-moon windows. Outside the front door there is a courtyard. On summer mornings I can trap the sun. Sometimes at night, though, I wake to hear the pitiable scream of a trapped pig. It is difficult to believe I am not having […]

Heytesbury Lane

by Sys-Admin

Waking at night I hear a pig squeal. My room is low-ceilinged with half-moon windows. Outside the front door there is a courtyard. On summer mornings I can trap the sun. Sometimes at night, though, I wake to hear the pitiable scream of a trapped pig. It is difficult to believe I am not having […]

Margaret in Helvick

by Sys-Admin

(in memory of Margaret Kennedy) I was on the road, just below the brow of the headland, when I heard you call. Another dinner, another May evening. Now, though, I slow each moment to the crawl of images we shrug off at the time: Joe in the nearby meadow making hay, the sun skewed westward […]