Thursday 3 September 2015

I see #Aylan #refugeecrisis #eu #ireland

I dressed my son for school today
I thought of Aylan
I thought, as I wrote my child's name on his jumper
Is this how they would identify him
In the salt tears of the sea
If we were at war
If we fled?

My youngest lies in bed
Just as Aylan lies on the beach
But mine is safe
Because we won a lottery before birth
Born on the right patch of spinning rock
At the right time
In the right skin.

One hundred and sixty years earlier
I would crowd my children onto coffin ships
Ignore the taunts of dirty irish
Scrabble for work or scraps
or beg or steal or walk with bleeding feet
And they would tut at the state of us
The starving irish.

In the veins of my children runs the blood
Of a mother who saved her two year old
From famine and death
By doing these things
And worse
When I close my eyes
I see Aylan
But he has the face of my own child

(If you share this please also note there are practical things you can do -

Thank you)


Saturday 18 July 2015

Another Angry Black Woman Speaks.....#feminism #SandraBland #SayHerName

I'm white, Irish, privileged and middle class, educated and while I'll never be rich I've never suffered true poverty. That is my disclaimer, because whenever anyone writes about someone else's experience, someone else's point of view, they risk bringing a patronizing layer of filter to the issue. I can't say I know what it is to be a woman in a developing country, or to have a disability . I know what it's like to experience racism but I don't know what it's like to experience daily racism, at first glance, in a million insidious ways. It's not my place to speak for black women; my sisters in feminism share many experiences with me that we can freely explore but I will never know how it feels to be them any more than they can say they "know" what it was to be Irish in Britain in the 80s. It's not my place to pretend I do.

But a lovely friend shared her frustration at the following and unruly poetry made itself in my head and I wrote it down and now I rely on her charity, and yours, to allow it stand, with the above in mind.

Inspired by Kazi

Another Angry Black Woman Speaks And Makes Us All Uncomfortable

She pauses.
Don’t think I’m being aggressive, it’s not that -
I’m not saying you are the same, I’m not -
Just that – one more person dead for being Black
In the wrong place, at the wrong time? How can that happen?
And yes I know not all police/white/insert your demographic
Are like that, I know you’ve never done it,
But it’s hard to read and watch and fear and think
What the hell is going on? And then
When I talk to white friends, I see them stiffen
Instead of listen, And it’s the body language,
 the expression
The veiled reception of my words that says
Oh no, another (she’s such a, so very much a)
I can see it coming
“..Another Angry Black Woman.”

She stops, and sighs. I know, I say tentatively
Well, obviously I don’t know, but I can glimpse
If a woman talks at all, passion is hysteria
Emphasis is aggression
Strong words are criticism/harsh/giving out
The dreaded
“going on and on about it” -
And I can see, from over here, how that is amplified
For non white, or poor, or gay
And our friends agree, oh my god yes
They say,
I can totally see your point.

We move on,
The topic tactfully, skilfully changed
Lighter moods prevail, we rail no more at fate.
But later, I get a call / text/ pm
“omfg what did you make of that?
Why was she going on about it to us?
I’ve never been racist! I don’t see colour, you know that!!
She made us all uncomfortable, and after you left
We were all talking, you know the way
She used to be a laugh but don’t you think…
I don’t like to say it
But hasn’t she become…”
And the words are unsung, hung by hesitation
But I hear them so loudly they scream.

“another angry black woman," that's what they mean


Saturday 16 May 2015

See Me #YesEquality #straightupforequality #MarRef

In hope that May 22nd brings us a new outlook.


See me, says Mary
Born and bred in a rural town
daughter of fields and grey stone walls
See me, for I am a vote
I am a choice, I am a new day dawning

See me, says John
Under the glow of a street lamp
Son of the city, the pavement and street
See me, for I am a vote
I am the future, I am the morning reborn

See me, says Dolores
I may be old, but I can remember
I have seen changes you can't imagine
I am the past, but before I go
the future is mine to secure for the young

See me, See me, for we have decided
never again to close our eyes
never pretend that our friends or our neighbours
should live as we do, should live in the dark
should live without love, invisible hearts

SEE ME. For I am an ally
and I will not let you silence them again
those you ignore, I will acknowledge
those you silence, I will shout out their names
you should see me coming, for I am a vote.


Friday 17 April 2015

This Poem Has No Planning Permission

This poem is constructed
and without
planning permission.

It advocates a YES vote.
I asked no permission.
The artist can advocate what he wants
and so can I

And I add, without permission
an extension
The bully is not oppressed
when we make him stop bullying
Giving others equal rights
does not oppress you

This poem has no planning permission
This poem is a YES vote


Wednesday 18 February 2015

By your presence

For Paula, for endless kindness

You will ask, or be asked someday
What good have you done?
What purpose, in this shifting world
What weight did you place upon the scales ?

You cannot answer for yourself
You'll never guess the moments
Only others can tell the tale
Of acts and omissions filed in your name

But like golden coins they'll pile;
Solid, worthy, generous, tangible,
Each one with a testament affixed
And each of these will start with this

By your presence -  three glorious words.
By your presence, we were comforted
By your presence, we were fed
And burdens lifted, hard times eased

By your presence - tangled threads unbound,
Problems solved and time reclaimed
Tea and biscuits, time and thought
And always laughter, always some moments joy.

There will be volumes written and declared.
Each one of a kindness kindly given
Each one shining in the deepening dark
A line of light to lead you home.

You, you wear this lightly as you go
But by your presence are you known


Sunday 15 February 2015

Vote Early Vote Often (a poem about @YesEquality15 and #FiMeIrl)

I do not see, what makes me
more worthy to be wed
than Annie and Jacyntha
or Maurice to his Fred?

I posses no greater intellect
Nor higher moral ground
No secret way to perfect love
Have I or my ilk found.

We row and fight and hurt and bleed
And break and tear assunder
We heal the same, we love the same
And when we're six feet under

We'll all make bones, we'll all make dust
And twill be hard to say -
Which of us was wed or not
And who  was straight or gay

So while we live and breath we draw
And the sun yet shines above
Let us all be equal in one thing -
The beauty of our love.

If your heart holds within
one single spark of joy
It matters not what fans the flame
The sight of girl or boy.

All that counts is if that face
Brings solace to your life
And if you long to call that name
Husband mine, or Wife.

So may fifteen we all must join
To vote for all our sakes
Vote early and vote often for
The difference marriage makes

Vote yes, dear readers !


Tuesday 10 February 2015

Late Coffee

You were there.
In the smile when someone
(Could have been me.
Wore the plastic gown -
a mournful clown.
You were there.
In the moment you insisted
On sitting up
On getting out of bed
That old defiance, that bold man.
You were there.
In the pallid light
Over late night coffee
In the echo of other times
In brighter places.
You were there.
In the glint of an eye
When we discussed the state
of the Irish nation
after the Black Prince, and you nodded.
You were still there
When I left.
You were still there.


Wednesday 7 January 2015

Grand Canal Square In March #poetry #irishpoetry #Dublin #ireland

Grand Canal Square in March

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.

(Photo taken March 2007 GCS Dublin, on the way from my husband's ( then fiancé) apartment to work.)