Saturday 31 March 2007

Inky Girl! this is the best thing ever....

Some of the funniest cartoons ever, especially if you're a writer :D check it out, but do yourself a favour - don't go look at it til you have a spare half hour or more because you'll get addicted in nano-seconds and end up reading for hours.


Swans and Chimney Stacks

(Swans sail out into the morning sunlight at the Dockside)

Only in Dublin
would two swans
crossing the docks
greet you in March

Light reflecting
refracting the image
of urban life
and city living

hazy sun and
smokey stacks
a tall ship mast
and two wild swans

Welcome to my city
21st century

Welcome to my city
Viking terrority
mystical land
mysterious port.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Wednesday 28 March 2007


Originally uploaded by charlesbyrnemusic.
I find inspiration in various things; in the light as it hits the water on a cold spring morning in March; in the juxtaposition of nature and urban development; in the cold clear air. Senses are important to me - feelings can beome tastes and smells and thoughts can manifest as sights and sounds.
Walking through the city I never fail to marvel at the beauty of the place, its energy. I cannot nuderstand the blindness of poets who can write about spring buds in emadows but neglect the panoramic majesty of a city.


Tuesday 27 March 2007


Originally uploaded by charlesbyrnemusic.
A gull pauses on the edge of the newly created waterside plaza in the early morning, march 2007

Against dappled light
on water's edge;
between the world of men
and that of wing and wind
walking a line


Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Do not awaken slumbering beasts;

They are guarding secrets

Deeper than you know.

Do not provoke their interest

or you will flee

before the reddened eye and bared teeth.

Sleeping Dogs guard the gates of hel

and feast upon the arrogant or unwary soul -

Who fears not the past, is a fool.
Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Saturday 24 March 2007

Sheep Create New Poems.........Wooly headed grants committees

Woolly writing creates new poetry

A North East writer has been given a grant of £2,000 to use sheep to create random poems, which also utilise the deepest workings of the universe.
The money has been provided by Northern Arts for Valerie Laws to create a new form of "random" literature.
A North East writer has been given a grant of £2,000 to use sheep to create random poems, which also utilise the deepest workings of the universe.
The money has been provided by Northern Arts for Valerie Laws to create a new form of "random" literature.

Shoot me now.


Friday 23 March 2007

Smoke Rings

Smoke rings

In haste
smells and sounds are punctuation
to the sermon.
Drifting lights, like
smoke, smudge the
in haste.

And You stand,
Your hand upon my shoulder.
I inhale your scent and almost weep
for fresh spring mornings and the taste of autumn-
You have taken me from the bustle,
You have restored that most bittersweet of senses-
You have stirred in me the embers of lost hope
And in remembrance I burn incense,
for You
have kissed me from my drugged sleep
And in faith
for You,
I leap.


Thursday 22 March 2007

The Madness of The Woman

The Madness of The Woman

You see black
I see a spectrum of invisability
the myriad shades of the dark rainbow
like the spread of raven's wing
under the yellow mellowness of an Autumn Moon

You see rain
I see diamonds of potential crashing
soft tears of heaven salty with life
worlds contained within, the moment of creation
plummeting toward earth to burst open into growth

You see mountains
I see the slumbering form of beauty
curvaceous limbs caressed in silken folds
breasts marked by the fall and rise of shadows
ropes of silver rivers binding Her to us

You hear the wind
I hear the Song that called us into being
undulating notes of power, secret cadences
voices lifted, speeches spun, preayer uttered
all human history and earth's in one voice

You see only what you want to see
I see all there is to be seen
You think the world can be reduced to numbers
and you call me mad?

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Wednesday 21 March 2007

On a road, in Wicklow

Originally uploaded by charlesbyrnemusic.
This is what I love
driving along we meet nature
fufilling her destiny
despite us.


Tuesday 20 March 2007

The Bridegroom

Recent events (getting engaged) and a chat with a fellow poet and soon to be bother-in-law reminded me of another short story - well, very short story, rather more like a fragment - that I wrote. This was last year, and like many stories came to me more or less complete leaving me only the task of trying to get it out and into words before it simply vanished. Usually I lose the race; occasionally I manage to keep up and very rarely I win. I'll leave it to ye to decide which where this particular story is concerned....I am reasonably happy with it myself.

The Bridegroom

His name is heavy in her mouth, not yet bitter but a little sour with unfamiliar syllables. She listens as her elders speak, turning the name over and over until it makes some sort of rhythm in her head. She pulls at the grass under hand, squating on the edge of the circle, head on one side. She keeps as silent as she can, in case they see her and send her away. It is her future they are deciding, she reasons, it is not fair to exclude her.

If her voice cannot be heard, then she could at least make use of her ears. However she knows that if her mother's eye alights on her that argument will hold no water and she'll be sent away to sit with her cousins and be silent.His name is thrown from mouth to mouth, now lightly and now with weight; sometimes attached to a "yes" and sometimes to a "no".

Her heart beats faster with each opinion advanced: she likes the way her grandfather shakes his head. He thinks she is over young and that a match made so early may be repented. Events can change, he says sagely. Everyone nods at this. She shudders at her Aunt, who is forceful and has a name for persausion. Her Aunt talks about family ties and property, about good matches and cows, linking marriage and livestock in the same breadth. His name is bartered against the future, a hostage to the winds of time and change - will there be years of good crops and regular rains? will they still need his people as friends and allies?

Old eyes peer into the possiblities: old hands try to feel the shape of things to come. Her own name flutters here and there, but almost apologetically, as if her role in it all was faintly embarrassing. As if security and prosperity should not be purchased with such a little thing as she.His name is said at last with finality. At the beginning other names had been mentioned, peppering the discussion as counterpoints to the main theme.

Now only his name, a recitative, the motif of the day, sounds from every lip in turn. Her skin prickles and she feels cold. His name is now linked to hers. A name she can barely pronounce. Her own name, once so light and airy, prettier than her sisters' names, a joyful name - now has an anchor tying it to earth. Her name used to soar like a small bird, or flutter inevery passing breeze like a ribband. Now his name catches it, holds it down, lends feet of clay to her happiness.

She creeps away, to sit alone.


Thursday 15 March 2007

British Book Awards

The british book awards are taking votes for various favourite authors in different categories: popular fiction rewarded by the public. You can vote for authors as diverse as Ian Rankin, Terry Pratchett and Marian Keyes, so go over and speak up for your favourite book or writer whether its light hearted fiction or serious literature.

I've never got the elitest fear of popularity. Marian Keyes writes better books than many a clever, literary pretender. Terry Pratchett has created a whole new world, one which frankly surpasses this reality in almost every point :). While we need "serious" writers, the John Boyne and Iain Pears we also need those who teach us something while we smile and escape. I've learnt more life lessons from Rachel's Holiday and Granny Weatherwax than from all the clever heartless prose I've read over the years..


in morning mist

Originally uploaded by charlesbyrnemusic.

In morning mist
and just before the day
awakens fully to the noise of man
stand on the brink
of some windswept shore
and think of me.

Stand and whisper
the name you called me
when you and I were heavy with sleep
and sated, in our bed
and in that moment
call me to you.

I will come,
in the kiss of wind
or the sudden flight of gull
I will never refuse to answer your summons
if I have to fly
from the world beyond.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Wednesday 14 March 2007




was the spear shaft
spiked in my soft flesh
with anger and with fear
and I first heard the word

after were many spikes
Cranogs and fences,
ramparts and causeways
pinpricks that tore
perforated the completeness
of my soul
and many voices shouted

soon after
deep scars
gashes across the face of me
a million hands all grabbing
all tearing
all shouting

All using part of me
my sacred communion
throwing me like offal to pigs
drawing lines through my
all building boundaries
all enslaving me
all claiming me,

I contemplate
spinning out of orbit
into the ice-cold rind of space
into the red-heat of a burning sun
into the wasteland of eternity
and when their shouts have silenced
point at the endlessness of time
and tell them


©Geraldine Morrkens Byrne


Tuesday 13 March 2007

A riddle for today

Happiness is not a cuban cigar

not today

Happiness is Belgian Chocolate

and diamonds on a left hand;

Can you hand me happiness?

I doubt it

but I wear it on my hand. That

is my riddle for today.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Thursday 8 March 2007

From the Secret Diary of a Capitalist

From the secret diary of a

The girl on the bus
looked normal
’til she fixed her eyes on mine
and solemnly assured me
that the end was nigh. So
with a sigh and a
muttered excuse
I once again changed seats.

This is why I drive. The
much maligned isolation
the experts beg us all to overcome -
within my jaundiced heart I find it a
sweet boon and comfort.
Why throw myself upon the mercy
of the world
or seek comfort in the kindness of

Yes, strangeness. It’s odd to want to climb across
the seats,
reach out clammy hands to touch the
of others. Daytime pundits of a warped
charity, back off, you living dead.
Armed with every half baked theory of Armageddon
and the reason why
Aliens want sex with earth women.
News flash, kids, I don’t care.

I want my car back. I want
to sink into cushioned seats
and listen to my radio
and change gears with reckless
glee – and pass these sad people
at bus stops on rainy days-
oh, and guzzle petrol and emit
and generally be me.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Wednesday 7 March 2007

Cliona by the Shore

This is a poem in the FilĂ­ tradition; the code within it is accessible to anyone with the time to read a few sagas and perhaps have a look through the Key of Solomon: it's one I never bother explaining. People seem to find their own meaning in it; the meaning it has for me is intensely personal which makes it amusing that in its obscurity it seems to be one poem others find universal!
Available in the Where the Hazel Falls Anthology

Cliona by the Shore

I let myself in
with the key of the kings and
wrapped red ribbons
around my poor head.
‘I thought you were dead’ said
my mother.

I fired up at this and she waved me aside
‘I merely remark’ was her only reply

I heard on the news that the Temple had
I am aghast at their simple faith
And men search their words
For slivers of meanings
shards and remnants
of a truth they will hate
‘you came home too late’, says my mother

The debt I repaid is burning a hole in my pocket
For the cruelty of martyrs is mercy.

The wet grass smelt sweetly
Giving me courage
I willfully left there
and drove to the ocean
but none of the fishermen
put out to sea.
‘Are you leaving me? ’ asks my mother

I smiled in return and released her to fade.
For I am the prophet of beauty decayed.

We dwell by the shore now
And bless the white thimble
The rue grows around us
like weeds on a grave and the favour still warms us
in cottage or cave
‘We’ll save the world later’, my wise mother says.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


There Are Scratches Now

There are Scratches Now was inspired by a friend's fractured relationship with her mother. Growing up in the shadow of a woman who was beautiful and famous but devoid of warmth left its mark on my friend but her escape from that burden was calmly and couragously undertaken. She found life and creativity in imperfection, in embracing the mess and chaos of life rather than the sterile preservation of self so beloved of her progenitor.
To me this poem is not simply about that, but about the excape we all make as adults in order to mature; the movement from reliance on others' experience to the creation of our own, and the inherrent risk therein, that we will screw up and fall down and abandon perfection for fluidity, atrophy for movement.

There are scratches now,
tiny imperfections,
like the laughter lines of a supermodel.
Mere creases, hints of age.

The mirror you so carefully polished
that we as children coveted like gold-
the one you hid away in a black silk wrap-
it’s out now and used.

I feel I should apologize .
Your shade, long departed, haunts me
each time I see childish hands
brandish it in glee.

It meant so much to you.
Don’t get me wrong,
it meant to me, a multitude
as well.

It was you, your beauty,
reflected in a prism.
It was forbidden, the out–of–reach,
The untouchability of you.

I have given it away,
To your enemies, the young.
I have thrown it into the arena
to live or break, as it will

They have no respect,
Kids nowadays.
They are not easily impressed
By shine and glint.

Yes, it has scatches now
And tiny imperfections.
They were gained in the service
Of life.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Tuesday 6 March 2007

Night Chorus

This poem was inspired by nights in Roundwood, Wicklow; watchng the crows and rooks perform their nightly ritual, the "black breasted flight" of dusk.
When searching for a metaphor to represent that emotional moment, the laying to rest, the cycle that drives us forward, night to dawn, this image, burnt into my mind over incalcuable summer evenings took over.
As it did, it carried the poem into some areas of its own
The gravel paths of the interlopers/ darkened by the cloud of dark wings/ stirred by the shadow of the future /The reminder that death precedes life/

Currently available in Where The Hazel Falls
Anthology of Modern Irish Verse, Electric Publications

Night Chorus

Across the last plains
under leaden skies,
the ground peat-brown beneath;
Turf cutters pausing to point
at the summers last black-breasted flight,
across the dark eddies and whirlpools,
the silver line of the river beneath;
Over the wild heathers of the stone hills
from the Cairns of the west
to the graves of the silent east.
A black sunset, the death of a new day remarked.

Shrill and defiant in calling
the passage of the long evening mourned.
The gravel paths of the interlopers,
darkened by the cloud of dark wings,
stirred by the shadow of the future.
The reminder that death precedes life,
The smoke of the fires rising slowly;
the wheel of the wing on the turn.
The veil drawing over the midlands,
the song of the night slowly silenced,
the call of the dusk borne away.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Saturday 3 March 2007

Behind Me, The Lights of the City

Behind me the lights of the city: (story)

Behind me the lights of the city: before me the brooding blue-grey shape of the Little Sugarloaf. In a way I was trapped.

Once out of the sprawling metropolis, away from the outlying industrial estates and brutal housing schemes, the mega-malls and cinema-complexes, as the road begins to wind and climb, a spiral path of enchantment into forests older than the oldest cobble on the Trinity quad – there am I in my innocence, climbing into the hills; clawing my way from the grey and the concrete, my own county fading behind me to a carpet of fallen stars. And before me in my mind a soft verdant country lush in it’s welcoming. But how to get to this soft green heart: untrammelled by the grey ribbon, the thread of mundanity binding me to the daylight.

Hurry! Dusk is falling, twilight dying, night approaching. What do I do, where do I go? If I stay on this road I hit Stepaside next, out of the county and on to Enniskerry. Next stop Sally’s Gap. Sally’s Gap is a wilderness too far for me tonight. The endless rolling hills and the far-reaching vista across the great plain of Ireland holds no charms when coupled with a dark night and a road barely wide enough for one car.

No, I want to stop: I want to get off this damn road. I want to walk in a forest at dusk smelling the wild garlic and Star-of-David. I want to listen to the last flight of the rooks, towards their nests, that evening transgression warning the innocent and the pure to retreat before the wild and free. I turn in a daze only half realizing the sign “ Coille” – forest. The car crunches over gravel, tires making a satisfying and definite bite into the earth. The deserted car park, all woodchip and faux rustic fence complete with stile fashioned from barbed wire, a wound in still green wood that oozes as it bears your weight, was too still, too much part of the world of man. I park in haste, and before common sense and memories of serial killer warnings could rear their ugly head.

I climb the ugly stile acutely aware of my ungainly lack of agility, feeling the earthen pull of my body, a lack of grace adding to every other woe. The path is woodchip with undertones of mud, but there is a smell of wild garlic. The air is cool and damp but the day has been just warm enough for it to have the true freshness of summer. Some to my left the rooks set off their harsh song immeasurably comforting in the near complete gloom. The midges are biting just a little and the pine trees – the whole face of Wicklow is bearded with pine forests – sway and rustle. I become acutely aware of the undergrowth. Majestic swirls of fern studded with heather: and plants so wild they cannot be flowers any more, they have to be herbs. The foxglove, hand in hand with ground ivy- and all of it home to the small defenceless creatures the rest of the animal world call lunch. All of it alive and stirring and growing and living and dying, with or without my attention.

On impulse I plunge off the track, like a diver parting dark waters with my arms. It is a mistake, I think frantically, after a very few minutes. Tree trunk on elbow, thorn on bare skin, insect in nostril, eyes blurring with tears, but still I push. Push frantically as midwife to my own progress. Anger rises as I struggle, tears of frustration now, hands stinging from a thousand tiny daggers; every plant in the forest having a dig.
My arms ache now, really ache. I begin to feel suffocated, that little voice of sanity in my head screaming “why are you here? This is insane!” My suffering soul makes a mental note to track down that voice and strangle it. There seems no end to this tangle of tree and bracken, and no way even of telling where I was going. I would have to turn around fight my way back. There was no point continuing, it was a failure. I had plunged, hoping that something would happen. I had closed my eyes, opened my mouth and waited to see what the gods would send me. A mouthful of midges it seemed. I would go back. I’d be better off in front of the telly with a large vodka than this.

What did you expect, the little voice of sanity chided. You’re in the middle of nowhere, plunging through undergrowth fighting with a forest. If your car isn’t on bricks in the car park by the time you get back you can count yourself lucky.

I stop and steady myself against a rough trunk, my face sweating and my breath ragged. My hair had long before escaped and made the most of its contact with nature. Shards of pine palm and baby conifers added unwonted volume while steady backcombing against a succession of branches had created a Byzantine intricacy of form. My clothes are stuck to me, stained and an odour of sweat and endeavour punctured the mask of deodorant and anti-perspirant I wear like a second skin. Being smelly ahs always been a fear of mine, body odours reviled like hairy armpits or stubby nails.

The tree trunk was strong and broad and I lay against it my legs shaking with tiredness. The darkness was almost complete now especially this far into the forest away from the track. The smells rise from the forest floor. I close my eyes but my eyelids feel like gossamer curtains: I can still see through them, see the dark greenness the shifting branches. I hear the very turning of a blade of grass. I am reaching out of my self, I feel the darkest softest caress, the world is spinning and I am laying giddy watching infinity and space whirl past. There is no sense of claustrophobia now, the warm press of the forest, the sense of being burrowed into the heart of a nest is comforting, encompassing. I realize just how far deep in I have wormed, like a child trying to return to womb. This reminds me of my grief but it is a detached thought, it is a question, it is a whisper and it is answered.

I come back to myself, blinking in surprise. Have I fallen asleep? Every knot on the rough bark is digging a separate hole in my back, I feel wring out, flattened, but not unpleasantly so: I feel the way I felt as a child after a day of adventure and play, tired to the bone but satisfied. I find my way out of the dense forest growth, not the way I came in incidentally – the forest has already closed around the traces of my battling progress inwards. It opens itself easily to me now I want to leave, and I push through to the path with relative ease.

The car is still on four wheels, the engine turns over, there is no sign of the serial killer urban legend warns haunts these mountains. I drive around for a while stopping when I see the lights of more than one house and turning away from the lights. In the end this pattern brings me to the motorway and I find myself speeding back towards the lights, down into the carpet of stars.


Friday 2 March 2007

Virtual Betrayal

Another poem inspired by the bitchcraft of online communities. In December 2005, a group of erstwhile friends betrayed not only a those of us who were unsuspecting victims of their paranoia/conspiracy theories but they tried to destroy a project on which we had all worked.

This project was about honour and truth - an irony not lost on those of us faced with a bitter fight for its survival. Those who set out to destroy it were literally the ones who had done least to create it. A few techie types who had contributed in spurts at the beginning but pretty soon left it all to one person to do; a professional victim who had a habit of creating havoc in every group that made the mistake of allowing her to join; and a very bitter woman whose contribution from the beginning was zilch, but who was so ego-driven she considered her mere presence to be a bonus for which we should all be grateful.

Out of this morass of personalities and backstabbings, one thing managed to emerge intact (if a little sharper than previously) and that was a sense of humour. This doggerel was inspired by the sheer unrelenting shrillness and vitriol leveled at us by people so firmly in the wrong, they approached quantum wrongness! It was an exercise in lunacy, hypocrisy, lies and bullying - but it was also the occasion for a round of seriously demented poems and limericks that often reduced us to fits of laughter when we should have been in tears. It was an extraordinary experience for many reasons; but my favourite is that it reaffirmed something I long believed ie that the human condition is essentially a ridiculous one and laughing at oneself is a fundemental requirement for sanity.

It attempts to not only mock the sheer madness of attaching such importance to virtual realiy, but the false position in which we placed ourselves, by allowing it to happen. I often look back over the little lines of verse and prose we loyal few exchanged in those days, while erstwhile mates trounced our names from one end of the net to another - and it never fails to make me smile; I warm my memory with those little snippets.

Virtual betrayal

Knickers! I say rudely
Damn and Blast; and other less
printable sobriquets

They are such fools
I rant. They think it's
all real.

This is virtual betrayal;
a virtual blade between
real shoulder blades

This is cyber-hurt
although I must admit
to shedding (real) tears

I am above it all,
I do assure you
They cannot touch me.

Except - I did think of them
as friends...

But enough of that!
I won't tell
if you don't?

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Thursday 1 March 2007

Panic? No.

A poem I have very mixed feelings about. I don't consider it one of my more elegant efforts, I occasionally consider it a bad poem, but it has one merit - it was written in blood. It is pure albeit purely personal emotion, even after all these years reading it still makes me sad. It's the lament of a woman dating an alcoholic, whose unreliability was notorious. It's honest at least; although as I say it's not one I particularly admire.

Panic? No.

Panic? No.
Unease; a queasy swell of uncertainty and discontent;
heart beats faster, hard to concentrate,
fidgeting and fretting.

Panic would tighten its grip
till discomfort becomes physical pain.
This is less than that,
but bad enough.

Panic is for 3 am when no more taxis
turn off the main road past my window.
At that hour there are few excuses
left and hard enough to lie even to myself.

But a thought is left
that the next taxi will be the one
despite a dull realisation
that this is unlikely before dawn.

No, this is unease;
the cautioning voice that warns
you will be gone for this night.
Where are your promises now?

Could you really lie so falsely
(a rhetorical question, no answer necessary.)
I adopt reasonble tones even in my head -
where are you when you are supposed to meet me?

I call this rude (I mean torture)
and thoughtless(which means scourge)
ah the insincerity at the back of that
I knew, the moment you rang and warned of delays.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne