Friday 26 October 2007

"Vive le Roi" in spanish!

How lovely!
Two beautiful languages, and intriguing for a poet to read words she wrote, in a language she cannot speak, but can recognise the rythm, feel the sense behind the words....


Thursday 25 October 2007

At work, My Grandfather

This is the eulogy for my grandfather I wrote many years ago; strictly speaking I don't consider it Juevenilia but it comes chronilogically around this time so I've included it. The first four lines are the Epithet writeen for him by Fr Herman Nolan CP and are inscribed on his gravestone.

At Work, My Grandfather.

Scent of Incense, Glue and Varnish Cease;
Perfect O Lord, thye instrument of Peace.
Fr Herman Nolan CP

I saw my Grandfather at work,
bent. He was old by then
and whitehaired, my father
dark and upright.

I watched the old man
handle wood like it was
his lover; all his tenderness
and poetry in the making

of a single rib - to
play Eve, I suppose
to some Violin.
He had Pianist's hands

like a lady's at the tips
but hard and calloused
at the palm. He used to
work, in the fields at

Summer and at Autumn
and he had cleared land
himself and stood shirtless
in the sun

And worked through the rain.


Now he was where he had belonged
in his own father's place;
his craft he plied, to my child's
eyes, with consumate grace.

I smelt the incense
and he told me the glue
was jelly - that was the story
I have always remembered.

The image of him frail
in gone from my mind;
of his time with us in sickness
i remember only that

mammy and I once cleaned his room
and I sat on the stairs
and cried, when they said
he had gone, and meant "died."

But I remember
I saw my grandfather at work
in a room, surrounded by
shavings, and the smell of wood and glue.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Thursday 18 October 2007

Vive le Roi

Oh dear, oh dear oh dear..............

Vive le Roi

Four stone walls of thought
and one lock
without a key
that's all it takes to imprison me
and my own thoughts a host of
which reside, like kings
inside my head
and the all white cheerleaders
jump jump high
vive le roi
the enlightenment is dead.


Tuesday 16 October 2007

Beauty at Dusk

The room is stilled
dimmed by evening light through
shuttered blinds
A perfect evening, summer spring
treees laced with early leaves
bright fields, sunlight on windowglass
an empty room
and silence

the brightness of the dusk is
blinding - more glaring than noon in dust
and the silence splinters with shrill throated birds
and distant laughter
til the laughter and the song seem silent too
part of the peace that oppresses this room

the beauty is too perfect
too real for me
it has too much force
a coat of light and long shadows
Exotic; it intrudes.

geraldine moorkens byrne


Saturday 13 October 2007


This was written about a friend in college who went from being pleasantly spikey in first year to bitter and hard in third. By the time I signed up for my postgrad, she was a loose canon creating havoc with people's emotions. Too young at the time to fully understand her behaviour or the insecurities that fuelled it, I realized reading this that I had nevertheless understood somewhat. I often wonder what became of her, I suspect she subsided from dangerous to petty as time wore on though I hope she got some happiness out of life. The title wasn't an insult by the way!


She's tired of reminders that life
could be worse
She's sick
of well intentioned pushes
of being propelled, unwilling
t'ward the grassy verges

Her dumbness
mutes her cries of pain
(because I cannot hear I do not care)
Screaming inside her head, she stubbornly
down the gravel raods
she shudders at the lengths ahead
I hear
they die sometimes of starvation

I wonder how far she got
nursing angry standards
bitter ideals
I wonder did she ever find her past.


Friday 12 October 2007


Lately he has thought of past moments
of childhood's stolen hours
of sneaking past the guardians of his age and sex
and holding to the innocence he felt once
was worth the loss

But if his heart should wander
where will it go?
What is there for its sweet enduring hurt?
What went before, is gone, was never reached and is no
and all paths returning stand in silence-


Thursday 11 October 2007

The Trouble with Clouds

I acutally remember writing this one. In the "new" library at UCD, 1987, studying for exams. I even know what I was thinking about when I wrote it! Of all the ones I found this is one I quite welcome though!

The Trouble with Clouds

If flat clouds, like airships, hover broad
in the air,
should fall
and touch the earth,
which would melt?

Would I care?
do you?

It seems to me more pertinent han the budget
more necessary near than May and
all it brings
to know which clouds the angels sit on.
If I look away from the trees, will they stop
growing and will their leaves wither?
are they fodder for my brain or am I
manure for their souls?
Both. (I think)

Ah Lear! Come in out of the rain.
If every word is wrung from a poet's head
does that make them true?
Accuracy is next to godliness. I thought
you knew.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne 1987


Tuesday 9 October 2007

Juvenilia, As Promised

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about the literary term. For other uses, see Juvenilia (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with
Juvenilia is a term applied to literary or artistic works produced by an author during his or her youth.
The term was first recorded in 1622 in
George Wither's poetry collection Ivvenilia. Later, other notable poets, such as John Dryden and Alfred Lord Tennyson came to use the term for collections of their early poetry.

As promised the beginning of the Juvenilia collection

Your Touch

The warm smell of
sleep and heat
surrounds me with your
quilt, your bed
my hair spread like down
across your pillow
and drowsy senses