Saturday, April 28, 2007


Yield you say,
to me, yield soul
and intellect and thought.
I cannot. Generations
bid me stand, withhold
remain aloof and intact.

You want me to
sink into the mire of belief
unthinking, quiescent,
flacid of mind
laid out at your pleasure
revelling in surrender.

I demand consort, equality
divine responsiblity
sporting and sparing
a hunt for reality among
the illusions and lies
that is my heaven.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne



The fire burned low, so that it was only embers in the hearth, and still we sat side by side. It was our wedding night: outside our new home, neighbours still whooped and hollered; games were played, the men were rough on Poitín and the women flushed with envy and desire. And still we sat, like wax dolls in our finery, my dress like a shroud around my feet, tripping me up if I walked, pulling me down to earth so that my whole body felt filled with mortality. If I glanced at you – not often in my shyness – your hand was always at your collar, strangling you into respectability.

The time drifted by and still we sat. Limbs trembled from exhaustion and anticipation while eyes sought refuge in the sinking flame. You coughed nervously. I thought with relief you were about to break the awful silence with some ready jest, the kind of smiling tease that had made me first look at you. Instead you shifted in your seat and sank back into taciturn reproof.

Where was my Jamie, where was my man? When we walked in lanes in summer, you picked dog roses and put them in my hair. Let others sneer at our lover’s clichés – I pressed them that night and tried not to hope that your handsome laughing face meant more than to turn my head, that your words, so quick so witty, meant more than fools gold. Where was my laughing boy, who carried me over a stream in winter, strong arms around my waist, swinging me over mud and laughing at me fright? Had he run away, frightened by this stern man with shuttered eyes and hands that were so still, resting on his knees as if in church? My Jamie would not sit in silence.

I stared into the fire and remembered; long hot summer days, your hand in mine, dry skin rough calloused by work; your voice rising in excitement. How many fields, how soon and for how long, the cow from O’Ryans, the money your father left you. I let the words wash over me, only dimly aware of their meaning, these words in this place, spoken between man and woman. Your home, your mother's plans, your prospects - oh! You laid them out before me like a cloth of gold, like rippling fields of corn in August. My heart took flight when I realised the grave nature of your talk, that I was divine in your eyes and beloved.

Now we sat like mourners, in the night: bound by enchantment and rooted to the cold flagstones. Did you look at me and marvel, at the cold composed line of mouth and the pallor of my cheek? What did you think, then, of the girl you called your little bird? Did I look like matron of the parish, impossible to imagine in mirth or in anything but disapproval?

The fire stirred and the crumbling coals settled. Far out in the night an owl called and the wind sighed gently through the eaves. The candle guttered and you stared at it - you turned your head and tilted it towards the shuttered windows, as if you were listening for some sign, some token that would reconcile us to ourselves. Whatever the object, it worked - you turned to me with a face suddenly relaxed in the dying light the first glimmer of a smile creasing the corners of your eyes. Without warning the blood rushed to my cheeks, and tears to my eyes. You reached across and softly touched your finger to my lips. I caught your hand and clung to it. The dark fell at last as without a word, the silence of our vigil was broken.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Library Thing - New site

Check out this wonderful and addictive site

my own list is It's going to take a loooong time to catalogue my books but hey it's a new hobby....

One can also feed to a blog, see below.

Thoroughly enjoyable!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Contest

Part of a series on friendship, this poem may seem oblique in its refernces but it has a very simple premise, that moment of triumph over someone who traditionally has played the dominant role. Sometimes this can be innocent, often less so - we have mixed feelings towards those friends we allow into our lives but with whom we have fraught or resentful relationships.
That soft underbelly of friendship, the slightly unhealthy range of emotions in particualr in long term relationships with others, who hald keys to parts of ourselves and remember us at times we might prefer to forget....that is the unifying theme of the Frienship poems.

The Contest

At last I have won;
My wits against yours
my worth weighed,
yours found wanting.

Over dramatic? yes
but oh so sweet -
a victory plucked
from your defeat.

Old friend, forgive
me my gloating tone.
Remember I have tasted
ashes for you, alone.

I have waited eons
to rise once above you
to be the sole voice
soaring, sounding true.

I am petty, I know
but old friend, you often
broke my heart
time without end.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Presents of Mind

This is a poem I wrote for my niece and nephews; it was inspired by the reaction of these canny little people when Aunty managed to give them presents not entirely approved of by Mammy. Yes, they got the sensible clothes presents but they also could rely on at least one "bold" present, something they wanted that was flashy, plastic and a complete waste of money. Except of course that it was money very well spent, when I saw their faces....

Presents of Minds

I bought wrapping paper from the street sellers,
the best stuff, cheap and bright;
for I remember Christmas mornings,
peering in the early half-dark-
the light reflecting off the tinseled wrap;
so that right away I knew the provenance of the gift,
that someone young and lively, with no parental claims
(who could care less if the gift were educational
who would rather die than buy functional)
had bought that garish glitzy useless precious
plastic packaged piece of commercial tat
my mother wouldn’t buy on principle and
my heart would swell with joy and I would bless her name
as, now my sister has become the mother,
her children breath prayers of thanks
whenever wrapping paper holds its sway,
For Aunts and all they stand for.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Thursday, April 19, 2007



Standing stones, standing like stone
carved in stone,
You are patience, endless endurance
hard as granite,
I have stood in your shadow and cursed
you are silent,
I have blessed you for your dark shade
you are nuetral,
I wonder what it is awaits you,
as the years pass,

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by charlesbyrnemusic.
Lovely plump friendly ducks....strolling around grand canal square this morning. I managed to take a series of photos, this one being the closest they'd let me get. It's s sight that makes me happy of a morning! between the ducks and the swans I'm going to miss that area later in the year when we move....


Friday, April 13, 2007

Sweet, I kiss your lips

Sweet, I kiss your lips;
it is a way to say those words
the words we say so often
but cannot say enough.

Sweet I kiss your lips
to transfer from my heart to yours
the feeling that you bring
of joy and love.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sunshine in April...

Is there anything more encouraging than sunshine in April? It's just late enough in the year to make us all think we'll have a lovely summer and early enough not to panic about spare tyres and wobbly bits.
One of the many sources of inspiration I have, and one of the most important is our heritage and history. Another, on a personal and less cerebral note, are my friends and family and last Easter Sunday I managed to combine both. Three of us made a trip to the Rock of Dunamaise near Portlaoise:

Beautiful place, seen at its best on such a lovely afternoon. We sat on some rocks and discussed the 1916 Rising, Countess Markievich and what we'd do if we won the lottery. Two people extremely dear to me, and a sublime afternoon - days like that are lucky and blessed.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by charlesbyrnemusic.

Glorious morning! when sunlight
illuminates and informs, the rebirth
of bloom and leaf.

Like fire, this yellow warms my soul
gladdens my heart while quickening the blood -
Spring rising fast.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Poetry News...New Widget and New Flickr Group

I've added a widget to the sidebar, as featured on Blogger buzz: it'll show up to date poetry and writing news from around the world! check out today's stories....
I've found a great group on Flickr Poetry and Pictures International : it's dedicated to something i have been experimenting with this year, image poetry or as one of the discussions on the group has it "phoetry" or "poem -photos" or "poem pictures" - excellent stuff!
There are some incredible images and some wonderful poems and both are well worth exploring, inspiration awaits you. It did take me about four attempts to figure out how to use the group properly but they rather nicely forgave my bungling and pointed me in the right direction.
If nothing else, I find writing poetry to images sparks the imagination, and makes exercises in poetry writing a lot more enjoyable.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007



Light and dark at play
across the dappled water
I hear the frost break
underfoot, like glass.

Horned and hooved, pawing
at the frozen ground, antlered.
Lowering crown, challenging,
playfully I think. A forest Pan.

Breath suspended in tendrils on
icy air; we stare transfixed.

Reluctantly, you turn from me
relinquish me, to the gathering dusk.
Darkened skies pass across the plains
and rain turns to snow in the forests.

All trace gone except in my minds eye
and the grand look of your own.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne