Irish poets learn to trade.
I felt and felt, vestigial horns,
I couldn’t hear the isolated vocals,
though I witnessed them,
I was listening, and listening needs more than hearing.
I was that soldier.
I stood among the barricades of myself,
day in day out. I took the stripes that no-one earned.
The lyrical I, the empirical me.
they build the walls, they snub and sneer,
I say I, not I performance, but I on paper,
and their hate rises, like water above the flood defenses
of vulnerable homes, lyrical I questions,
asks for better, sardonic platitudes exude from inside
the inner circle, the theology of oppression, exclusion,
masked as inclusion, freedom for all outside their wall.
The poacher turns ruthless gamekeeper, keeper of the keys,
and you, yes, you, all rise up, follow like lambs to the slaughter,
in hope of crumbs from the top table, the sicker of sick,
the lesser of able. Murdoch said reach out and take it. And they have.
Irish Election February 2016
God bless them, god bless them and
the inside pocket of their own trousers.
God bless us for turning out, and staying at home.
God bless the farmers, god bless the GAA,
God bless all of the Healy- Raes.
God bless Michael Lowry, the widow’s dowry,
didn’t he get the hole fixed in the road?
Isn’t he, aren’t they, one of ours, one of our own?
And doesn’t the parish, the village, the town,
the city, the country, the globe, the universe,
begin and end at O’Flaherty’s, McCauleys,
the two roads, and the crossroads,
all pumping the parish pump, and isn’t Father Fucker
such a lovely priest, and didn’t he teach all the kids to swim?
And isn’t it lovely altogether of a Friday night to be in Kelly’s and a lock in,
and the pool table ours for the night because we are the local lads
and the out-of-towners will end up bloodied and in the ditch
if they dare to interfere, and isn’t Jamesie the right bucko altogether
and didn’t yer wan, the whoor, have to go to England to have it done,
and return in disgrace while he struts about the place with a smirk and a pint?
And Josie, the soft one, didn’t we give him the rare old time
and when he hung himself from the nearest tree
didn’t we put on our suits and go to the funeral mass
and after try to pull the slag back from the tan
and show her exactly what we thought,
show her how it ought to be done
and then go back to our homes, go back to the wife,
sorely drunk and bellies full of the importance of ourselves,
in the land of ourselves, in the microcosm of the Jurassic age,
to sleep and dream, or do and die in the land that time,
progress, kindness, empathy, compassion,
goodness and enlightenment, forgot?
And, and, and, these are all still questions? Right?
Holding on, fragile as china,
the bull kept from the shop
by strands of virtual nothings
whispered sweet among ourselves.
This is love, this is it,
this is what we have,
degrees of ourselves,
the second or third best we will settle for
because outside this is the dark place,
the lonely harbour,
the cold bench
with nothing but
the terrifying sound
of what might have been.
N, is for no change.
Couldn’t see the puncture wounds,
her heart outside the Trocadero
beat less, stopped.
She is dead
I am still breathing
this is exit only,
no-one managed escape,
no siphoned-off prophets,
honed-in on empiricism,
solipsism. Pilgrims make
no progress, vultures took,
made, swallowed, regurgitated,
we licked our wounds,
bound our feathers, tarred our traces,
kites in the blue skies,
Lap us up,
be our friends,
we seek home,
we got lost on a dark night,
a dark day, a dark hour,
the darkest life.
When we can,
we eat, we sleep, we dream.
When you really see us,
we are you
Peadar is a poet and photographer from Co Wicklow in Ireland. He co-edits PB magazine with his wife Collette. They work in a shed high in the hills have a team of well-trained Wicklow goats to help them. Peadar’s first collection ‘Jewel’ was the best-selling title on the Salmon website. He hopes to become rich and famous with his second collection ‘The Death of Poetry’ due out later this year.