Friday 29 May 2009

Yule at the Court of Maeve

I just found one of my poems was posted on a certain wellknown neo-nazi website - posted by a member as if it was one of their own, no accreditation to the author, and no permission to post it. Not only a breach of copyright but theft. Although part of me is grateful that the nasty little moronic bigots didn't put my name on their filthy site.
Just so we're clear, nothing would ever induce me to prostitute my work by connecting it in any way with the mindless, one-brain-cell-between-them cretins that espouse neo-nazism. I hereby reclaim my poem, one of my favourites to add insult to injury and bad cess to the bigots - they are incapable of understanding the heritage of honour and integrity it evokes.

Yule at the court of Maeve

I left the city
and traveled through the plains
and found the forest
of Warriors, among the forts of the

The Warrior Queen, Maeve of the Sidhe
beloved of the Hunter and
favourite, blessed daughter of the Morrigan
greeted me.
I vowed never to return to
the corruption of the free.

I fished on the shores of the Atlantic;
I have prayed on the Mountain of
Late autumn now finds me dwelling
deep in the forest, with those
who escaped, like me.
I have no suits and no favours.
I walk in bare feet with the deer.

In the winter, I will pack my pelts
and furs, make me a gurney and load it.
I will pull it to the Court of the Tribes of the West.
I will unload it at the feet of Maeve
and beg her receive her daughter, and
I already know the pleasure I will see, in my mothers’ eyes.

I will pass Yule there and stay until
No more will I measure time by the glossy calendar of man. I will await
the spring with a glad heart,
and then ,
when the mountains shed their covers
and the green rushes re-appear,
I will gather my bow and my dagger
and once more, to the Hunt again.


Tuesday 26 May 2009

Enclosed Orders

Religious orders responsible for abusing children in institutions want to deal directly with victims rather than reopen the controversial 2002 indemnity deal.
This morning director general of the Conference of Religious of Ireland (Cori) Marie Ann O’Connor said the 18 congregations’ would prefer to “deal directly and to use all in their powers to channel whatever resources directly to the former residents” rather than reopen the terms of the deal.


Enclosed Orders

We would like
she said,
to be sure the money
deosn't swell the coffers
of the government
but we can see how it best serves
Them being the victims
details too horrific to repeat
civilised minds don't want to know
for goodness sake, how distasteful

We want it clear
when we say no
we're not saying no
(wonderful new phrase)
it's not a blocking mechanism
the redress fund will not best serve
- us.
Us being the ones who stood by
put our clothe above the child
beat and starved and touched
it wasn't only us, you know

Lets keep a lid on all this
keep some perspective
retain some dignity (not like them)
hold onto our assets; if you take
the away we'll pull the plug
it'll be catastrophic.
Indeed, imagine it - an Ireland
bereft of holy orders.
What a thought.
Yeah, best let
us decide what's right for them.


Saturday 23 May 2009

Out of the Corner of My Eye

Out of the corner of my eye
something moves.
It's nothing he says, nothing -
everyone's eyes play tricks.

he pours a glass, dark red
rustling behing me
it's a good year, full bodied
and licks his lips.

I shift in my chair, listening -
shadows crawl.
Taste this, just a sip
Cloying, too sweet

Breath on my neck, stirring
(hackles rising)
touch like cold meat on skin
(teeth baring)

Out of sight, Out of mind
he never learnt
He shouldn't have tried it on
not with me.


Wednesday 20 May 2009

Is This Not Blasphemy?

My very own Poetry Challenge - feel free to join in :)
Pick a news story; as current as possible (same day as reading this notice if possible) and write a poem about it.
Include the link to the news story too.
please feel free to leave a comment on this blog linking to your own poem!

OSCE argues against blasphemy law
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 17:08
Europe's top security and human rights watchdog has urged Ireland not to preserve blasphemous libel as a crime.

The OSCE said this would flout international free speech covenants.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said earlier this month that he would seek to amend the law that provides prison sentences for blasphemous libel, but could not abolish it altogether without a referendum to change the constitution.

I choose this newstory because imo the mere idea of blasphemy laws in a civilised democracy is absolutely unacceptable.

Is this Not Blasphemy?

The words in my mouth
are as sacred to me
as communion wafers.
They are the body and
the blood and the spirit
of me. You would rip them
out and trample them.
Is this not Blasphemy?

My freedom is the holy
incarnation of my being;
my mind in consiousness,
formed in the image of
the sacred and divine.
Take away my rights
and you will defile me;
Is this not Blasphemy?

Your right, to your opinion
is my article of faith; you
would deprive me of mine
and see no irony. That
we should all speak
as we see fit, is my dogma.
When you deny this
is that not Blasphemy?

Maybe your gods can be
threatened; so weak they
need protection, coddled
in the cradle of law. Mine
reside in my heart, safe
in the strength of my own
conviction, immutable.
They know not Blasphemy.


Tuesday 19 May 2009

Public hearing into revised Corrib route News reports: 

An Bord Pleanála is to hold a public hearing into a revised onshore pipeline route for the Corrib gas project in north Mayo.

The application is being made by Shell E&P Ireland, which is also seeking a compulsory acquisition order to gain access to private lands.

The hearing into the revised onshore pipeline route will get under way in Belmullet this morning and is expected to last for several weeks

Shell is seeking planning permission to lay 9.2km of pipeline to connect to an offshore line which will transport gas to the Corrib refinery in Bellanaboy.

The original route was exempted from planning permission nine years ago but when work began in 2005 locals objected on health and safety grounds.

The new route is a minimum of 140m from occupied housing. Up to 80 submissions are expected to be heard by An Bord Pleanála in the coming weeks.

Objections have been lodged by local residents' groups and environmentalists.

This is a much deserved ray of hope for the Corrib protesters; while the story has faded slightly from public view on May 9th 2009 80 protesters occupied the site of the Shell Glengad beach site, near Belmullet Co Mayo in order to remove perimeter fencing (Irish Times Saturday, May 9, 2009). One protester, Willie Corduff lodged himself under a truck in order to passively protest; he was later removed by force and injured by Shell security personel, according to eyewitness reports posted on various online support groups.

The fencing was erected by Shell at Glengad beach without planning permission; what muddies the water slightly is that entire Shell proposed route for the gas pipeline was originally exempted from planning permission (without reference to the public). However this exemption applied only to the route, according to protesters and not to individual erections and works.

On May 14th what has been described as a "daring protest" protesters mounted tripod structures to halt the works at Glengad, proving that the fight was far from over. The protest group Shell to Sea have repeatedly asked for the Corrib Gas to be processed at sea; this is standard practice and generally considered to have less environmental impact and fewer health and safety implications.

 For their part Shell claim that "the safety and security of our employees, our contractors and the communities in which we operate is the number one priority for the Corrib gas partners." On the subject of environmental impact the company states "As a result of the screening studies, it was concluded that the preferred development scenario for the Corrib field was a subsea system tied back to a processing terminal onshore" (

Whatever the right of it, the fact remains that a handful of community activists have suceeded in sending the matter back to An Bord Pleanala (the board in Ireland that deals with development and planning.) This is no mean feat in itself.

Tags: | | | | | | | | | |


Saturday 16 May 2009

The Perils of Publishing Poetry


The Perils of Publishing Poetry

The Perils of Publishing Poetry

see larger image

uploaded by GerCMByrne

I founded a poetry site in 2000, the Pagan Poetry Pages, to provide a space for poets whose influences and interests were non-conformist. With a loose brief of "poetry reflecting our interest in spirutal and metaphysical themes" we quickly grew to include poets who were not Pagan but deeply spiritual in their writing and Pagans who never wrote about their spirituality. In the end the PPP, as it is affectionately known, evolved into a place where good poetry was all that mattered; the need to express and the desire to share that expression was paramount.

Then recently, we decided to add another "P" to the PPP - "publications." The creation of an anthology of our poets  has been a long-cherished project; finally we found the right combination of poets and editors and it began to take shape. Simone LA Hogan, my co-editor brought invaluable skills both technical and aesthetic while the talented American poet, Kevin V. Moore, brought an eagle eye to the project considering not only the submitted poems but catching many an evil typo as he went. The result is a book we are all, justly, proud of but the journey to this point has been both instructive and challenging. For anyone hoping to self publish, there are some pitfalls and pratfalls ahead!

The first and most obvious challenge for us was to gather the poetry; we had submissions from current members but decided to include new works as well. This opened up the site to new members and encouraged a fresh input into both the proposed anthology and the members' forum. Once we had chosen poems - and made the copyright and legal position clear to each contributor - we were then faced with a formidable amount of formatting and design.

For the author publishing a novel, the formatting may not present as great an obstacle; but fitting dozens of poems into a suitable number of pages prooved too much for me! After 3 weeks of laborious "copy and pasting" Simone stepped in, and in three days had the bulk of the work done. Another couple of days and she had whipped it into a pretty shape and added illustrations. I turned my attention to the covers a job I think I managed rather well; but I now know that any future attempt on my part to publish a book will start with making someone else do the formatting!

Our next challenge was the rather boring but necessary task of proof reading. I cannot recommend highly enough that you share this task among many pairs of eyes. Even with three of us feverishly reading we still caught a few errors later on. It won't be the end of the world if one slips by - I have read many a published text with the odd mistake - but respect for the reader demands that you do your best to remove them all.

We choose to invest in ISBN numbers; the Nielsen Agency is the place to start if you are in Ireland or the UK. They come in blocks of ten and we saw it as an investment in our future projects; as it turns out it is a huge asset in promoting the book and getting it into mainstream bookshops. In the weeks since our official launch date, May 1st 2009, we have received orders from book wholesalers in the UK as well as independent retailers. ISBN are necessary if you wish to see your book take off.

We made a few mistakes as we blundered along; we underpriced our work at first and had to have the list price changed by Nielson and Amazon. When I say "we" honesty compels me to admit it was I, really. We learned that postage can be much higher than we fondly imagined. We also learned that a self published book can be hard to market.

You need to be proactive, and think creatively, when trying to promote your self published work; think of forums, websites, networks or writers, who might be interested. Try small retailers and bookstores and offer them sale or return. If publishing on Cafepress or Lulu consider buying ten at a time to have on hand, to distibute locally. Try everything - some things will work, others are more effort than reward. But you learn from every mistake.

Publishing the anthology was an amazing experience and one that has convinced me that for poets in particular, there really are not enough outlets for their work. As a result once we have recovered from Pagan Paeans  we plan on publishing Kevin V Moore's collection of poems on New England; followed by a collection of essays and a second anthology. There are few monetary incentives to do so; poetry will never make you rich. But the pleasure our first offering has given poet and reader alike may well be the best reward of all.

Words are written to be read!

Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | |



The Prompt is to write a poem on a Spring theme


Slight touch of green life
the first blush of bud

the seedlings sprout
before the ides of March

the rain falls in fat tears
the sky clears to egg blue

the air smells of earth
the light changes daily

the season rushes forward
the sap rises high


Friday 15 May 2009

Bealtine Edition of the PPP

Bealtine Edition is now available....including the results of the Pagan Paeans Launch Competition!
Also register to enjoy the member's section - post poems, read, give/get feedback, join debates and enter poetry competitions


Thursday 14 May 2009

Don't You Dare

Prompt : Take the phrase "Don't you (blank)," fill in the blank with a word or words, and make that the title of your poem. Then, write a poem using that title.

Don’t you dare.

Don’t you dare –
I didn’t. I daren’t.
I wish I was braver.
I wish I could jump
From planes.

Don’t you dare –
I never told them
What I thought
I kept the peace

Don’t you dare –
I am not reckless
I am the voice of reason
I am the
cowardly lion


Wednesday 13 May 2009

So we decided to .....

Another from the poetry challenge: write a poem using the prompt..."So we decided to go..."

So we decided to……

So we decided to go
Despite misgivings
Like, it was free beer
And although we didn’t much like
The look of them
Well, it was free beer

They were largely harmless
Huge shaggy youths
With gangly limbs and
Awkward. We stood to one side
And laughed a bit
Just among ourselves

I danced to Morrissey
And tried to look cool
And then someone
put on a song I’ve never been able
to recall. Something
about a child.

I remember the beginning
And the end, but not
The bits in between,
And I thought at one point – wow.
That’s a song
I wish I could sing.

I knew then I was
Getting too drunk
The room spun and
Someone pulled me into the hall
To tell me
They were lonely.

We’re all lonely
I said. We’re all alone
You’re not special.
I am never that cruel when sober.
I fell over limbs
Sprawled from the stairs.

You found me then
and held out a hand.
I’m starving, you said
And this is a crap party, isn’t it?
So we decided
To go.


Saturday 9 May 2009

Poetic Challenge : The Problem with You

See Writer's Digest blog Poetic Aside for details of prompts for each challenge: I am not doing them properly in order at all, but picking them up as they strike me. I am a bad participant :)

This challenge was entitled "the problem with..." It resonated greatly with me for personal reasons.

The Problem with You

She has a list. I jest you not
All the things that - in her opinion
I do wrong, say wrong, think wrong
am wrong
she can list them.

I am half flattered. A lot of thought
went into this. I am fully dismayed
she has sifted, thought, compiled, arranged
and delivered
a verdict on me.

She is a friend. I must remember this
Or make her suffer; I know her buttons
too and can remove that smile. The problem
with me is
I don't back down.


Poetic Challenge

Many thanks to poet Maureen Duffy-Boose for alerting me and getting me involved in this. It's great fun and while I won't do it everyday (I am far too lazy!) I certainly will be attempting it on a regular basis over the next month.

Writer's Digest blog Poetic Asides is challenging poets to write on a variety of themes (prompts posted by them on the blog)

Yesterday I did :

A poem on something missing

I keep finding reminders
of things I can no longer recall
I cannot even remember
what the reminder meant at all

When I find things now
I have to rack my brain
when did I lose it and
what on earth was it for, again?