Friday 23 March 2012


First published as part of a calendar in 1993 to celebrate the reopening of the Music shop in Stephen's Street (Charles Byrne Musik Instrumente, est 1870)


As each note trembles
rises, quivers, dies,
so seasons turn -
and after sunrise, dusk and night
as bright to dark
as year will follow year
and out of Winter's dark embrace
comes earth in all its Summer's grace;
as out of one man's lonely hours
a cathedral built of Music towers
and from the pile of broken quills
a poetess her stanza spills;
as out of childhood's broken dreams
the adult learns what freedom means -
in every night, one evening star
so travellers see home from afar
and from their errors men grow wise
as from the ashes, Phoenix rise.


Wednesday 7 March 2012

Bród, a poem.... #bródclub #Irish

RTE have a great initiative going at the moment thanks to Bernard Dunne

The idea is to get 100,00 Irish people who like me, have some Irish but rarely use it, to start using it again. Dig it out, root through your memory and sprinkle a cúpla focail through your conversations and texts and facebook status updates throughout the day.

I can read Irish fairly well but my spoken Irish is horribly rusty and my grammar was non existent (thanks, school!) til I did a Gael Linn course a few years ago. I still have terrible grammar but thanks to the excellent course I now know what I should be doing to re-learn the rotten Irish we were taught in school and make it better. I kept telling myself that all I need is the time, but you know what? I'll never have the time. So I am taking up the Bród challenge, not putting it off any longer and trying to reawaken then Irish I have and hopefully make it better as I go.

This inspired the poem below. My readers know that many of the forms and structures of my poems come from the Irish, from poems and poetry half remembered, and poetic forms that intrigued me far more than their English counterparts. So I owe a debt of gratitude to my langauge.


I searched through the foclóir of my life
Looking for my roots, mo Teach, mo Tuath is mo Tir
And found some little treasures I’d forgotten
Little seoda
buried here and there.
I found my bród hidden under layers
Of fear, of criticism and of failure.
I found mo grá in sound and form that flowed.
And in the words of poets long departed,
Found mo teanga náisiúnta
– still great and open-hearted.