Wednesday 21 September 2016

When Things Were Better, In the Good Old Days

I'm increasingly sick of the blather about the good old days. Apparently, there were no murders, no problems, no hate crimes - nothing to make CIS white people uncomfortable. 

When Things Were Better, In the Good Old Days

I remember he says
the respected actor with his trademark grimace
the good old days.

Do you? Really?
These would be the days when women were silent
not uppity, emancipated.

Nice quiet women, 
who didn't report pesky things like domestic violence
in those halcyon times.

Nice mothers at home
using prescription pills and booze in lonely boredom
in that past idyll.

Lets celebrate, eh?
The days when being white was not so problematic
and people knew their place

Good-natured banter
and people could take a joke against themselves 
and a lynching or three.

Happy days of fun
When jobs for white men were assured and everyone else
did the dirty work.

When using words
like weapons, piercing souls and destroying futures
wasn't such a big deal.

When being gay
or trans or different or visible or soft or effeminate
could get you killed.

When adults screamed
abuse and hatred at a little girl walking to school
surrounded by FBI agents.

When the Church
in Ireland, and beyond, put women in their place
quite literally

Put them in their place,
a Magdalen laundry where they rotted for a lifetime
in those gentler times.

Ah tell me more
about political correctness gone mad in these post feminist days
while I puke. 


Thursday 23 June 2016

Gods and Radicals "A Beautiful Resistance:Fire" Edition is out now #poetry #poems #writing #literature #feminism

Delighted to see that Gods and Radicals Journal "A Beautiful Resistance: Fire" is out now; and very excited to be included in this excellent body of work with my poem "Eriu Addresses the False Kings" a rosc in the druidic tradition against the (failed) proposed demonstration by a notorious misogynist, rape-advocating, group. 
Please support this excellent publication, at the website below:


Tuesday 26 April 2016

Puddles! #picturebook for #kids available now on #kindle!

I am delighted to announce that Puddles! is now available on Kindle. You can download Austin Lysaght's beautiful illustrations direct to your device and enjoy reading the tale of rainy days and increasingly big puddles to your little ones anywhere at all. They'll enjoy the lovely pictures, and the cheerful story, while learning about colours, sizes, etc.

Download here for only $2.99/£2.10 


Thursday 4 February 2016

Eiru Speaks to the False Kings #rosc #ireland #poetry #feminism #misogyny

As the False Kings attempt to impose themselves on the people Eriu moves from Her seat, to address the assembled crowd.

False speaker, false leader, false man
Born of a woman, unworthy of the honour
Debased by your rejection of Her womb, Her heart
Enemy to half the world
Apostate to the other
Liar and spreader of lies, like mould and decay
Dead among men, unborn among women
Unclean among the pure of spirit
Firenne rejects you
You are false and therefore unable to exist
You are the three marks on a king’s cheek
Your ramparts fall before the anger of the Druids
And the Wise Women will make bread from the fire
Of your roof,
The earth rises against you
The stones and bones and blood of the land
Reject you and your band
Be they born of the land, they are undone
Found them shelter in this land, they are undone
If they visit this land, they are undone
The birds of the air, the food of the earth
The spirit of life, the Tuatha  and their homes
The Tiarna and their laws, the Tír and its being
Turn from you, deny you, fast against you
The root of your name shall be poisoned in the ground
your stem shall be blighted and the ground salted against you
Your tongues fall silent, your limbs weakened, your fruit die untasted on the branch

And you shall be unmourned in the hour of your fall.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Thursday 28 January 2016

The Host of Morrigan Marches Again #poetry#ireland #pagan #deity #humour

For Lora O'Brien - mostly in jest....

The Host of Morrigan Marches Again

The recruitment drive was quietly done;
stealthy (by design)
signs were set, and entrails yielded omens.

Some of those conscripted in
didn't even know they were
til orders came and uniforms were donned.

"Onwards!" cried their leader
sword drawn, and battle eye a-gleam.
"Um, what's the plan?" one Private asked.

"I have a dream, " the curt reply. And
no one asked again, for who can argue
with the power of a well placed aisling?

She will be pleased, when She sees
the standards flying and the cauldrons
set again over flames -

the felling of great trees no longer
acceptable, the ranks improvised 
with government papers and utility bills -

and the red gold of the setting sun
over the smooth undulations of the land
sets fire to visions of a Nation's pride.

The Host of An Morrigu marches once again
though wanders might better describe
some of its progress towards the field of carnage

while some dance and sing and others still
sharpen pens and draw ink like blood
from their own veins.

Still they are a war-band, and they will fight
whatever weapons they choose
in this world or the others.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


Thursday 14 January 2016

The Gods of Weather #shortstory #writing #ireland #dublin

Happy new year and many apologies for being MIA recently but life sometimes takes over.
Lots of hopefully interesting things coming up in 2016 but to kick off the new year here is a short story I wrote about 15 years ago. Collating and editing a decade or more of writing in preparation for my collection, publishing later this year, I came across this and remembered how much I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it. 

The Gods of Weather (Dublin Stories)

The gods of weather are fighting it out above the city today. The contest sparked by a row over the glorious spring weather, sponsored in a fit of generosity by Dagda the great Father whose special interest in crops seems to have prompted him to provide the nearest thing to a summer we've seen in five years. Albeit in April.
 But on the other side we have Manannán, undisputed king of the sea, ruler of the western wave and traditional ruler of Dublin, ably assisted by Anna Livia Herself, the great Liffey lover of Manannán.   
"Oh, Anna, " He sighs in the wind, the seagulls driven inwards to the city to act as a chorus to His love poems; "Oh Anna, 'tis too dry, too still, too quiet."

Anna Livia, basking in the unaccustomed warmth and sunshine, rouses Herself with a guilty start, and tries to look as busy as possible. Manannán calls again sadly "O! Anna, sweet Livia, Where are the wild winds of April, the showers of sweet rain, the rainbows the ark like a virgins promise from land to heaven? Where are the last great storms of winter, my last crashing waves against the shore?"

Anna caresses the land as She passes, not wishing to reply, not wishing to fight, wishing only to surrender Herself to the waiting arms of Her lover. But She knows enough to know He'll sulk if She doesn't say something, so She murmurs her sympathy and watches the sunlight through the trees as She croons.

The Dagda smiles down and with a flick of a lazy wrist adjusts the clouds, little wispy summer clouds, hard to conjure out of nowhere in April, soft clouds that adorn the pale blue sky. "come now, Manannán ," His voice is like laughter on the wind, like ice-cream in a pink bowl. "it's been almost ten years since they had a good summer!"
"Who?" Manannán is puzzled. The gods? the Sheep? the fish? The ants?"

"The children," Dagda says casting an indulgent eye over Grafton Street, his favourite street although He knows he should really have chosen Kildare street, for the Politics or one of the Gracious Georgian Squares for a bit of class. 
What can He say? He likes Brown Thomas' and Monsoon. He likes the young women in flighty minis and the boys in trousers that remind Him vaguely of harem pants He saw once on holiday. He quite likes the buskers except the ones who play Van Morrison. He wishes He'd never thought to give "Van the Man" an interest in music - He'd thought maybe the boy would take up the fiddle or even be a music journalist. He really hadn't meant Van Morrison.
But the ones playing Allison Moyet were pretty good. He liked the little colourful stalls and he really liked the smell of coffee from Bewleys, and the little winding streets off Grafton street, they were pretty damn fine if He said so Himself. 
He frowns momentarily: that cheeky Viking upstart taking credit for His winding streets...but no, He smiles again and the sun reappears, the sudden cool shadow cast over the city lifting like gossamer in a summer breeze.

 He'd proven his point, and now all was well with the world: And the spring having gone down so well with the kids, He had big plans for the summer, long hazy days, hot afternoons, impossibly blue skies. It had been ages, ages, since He'd pulled out all the stops.

Manannán growled softly.
"I've told you before, it shouldn't matter what they think" He spread His arms and the waves rose against the shore beating against the rocks in ceaseless rebellion. He tossed His head and the rain spat against the cobbles and assaulted the window panes in venomous sprays.
"Don't be so hard!" Dagda chides. Anna Livia stirs Herself, jealous for Her lovers sake, quick to take offence on His behalf, "Don't you speak to Him like that!" she hisses, undulating in her bed like a lustful snake. And as Manannán stirs the air She raises herself to meet him, baring Her beautiful shoulders and breasts and swelling above the tight marble lines of Her city clothes. "Look" Manannán says proudly. "look. I am the Sea, I am life to these little men. I am the last refuge of the first creatures. I am the loins from which they crawled mewling and gasping, amphibious monsters no one else would tolerate. I fed them, I bore them, but what am I if I listen to them! I am the Sea. I am the Ocean. I am Implacable, Unbridled, Unpredictable. I must roar out the last of my winter blues, I must stretch myself against two continents. I miss the wind, where is my wind?"

At this the four winds hear the call of their master and in their haste to reach His side, alarmed by the rising note of anger and frustration in His voice, collide in mid air and the clouds swirl in confusion, Anna Livia eddies and flows in a whirlpool of movement and the Great Dagda himself is momentarily thrown off balance, a thing He hates. He glares at Manannán and with a click of His fingers restores the clear sky and the sun, the city looking skyward in surprise at the sudden spate of rain and wind, and the as-sudden restoration of glorious unseasonable heat.

"Don't you dare!" Dagda snarls. "It's taken me three months to plan this spring."
Manannan gives a mocking little mince. "Ooooooh, three whole months! I've only been at this game a few hundred thousand years, myself. I suppose you think they'll be grateful do you? think they'll be planning a feast like the old days? Oooh, dear Dagda, thank you for the decent weather and could you keep it dry for the bank holiday? At least I still get the occasional offering, Old Boy and do you know why? because I don't pander to them, me. They respect me."

Dagda turns his dark eyes upon the defiant Manannán, the indomitable Sea-lord, who stares into those dark stars without a trace of fear or awe. Anna Livia thrills with excitement....a storm, a storm...perhaps even some lightening. Already the rain begins to fall softly at first then in great teardrops splashing dark against the pastels and tans of the fashion conscious. It takes all of the Father's concentration to hold the spring together: the rain and cold howling in the outer darkness, banished but resentful, probing for a weak moment so they can roar back into town, take over once more, play with the citizens as they were used to do. Hold off, threaten, hold off, threaten, wait for it, wait for it, she's got a new hairdo, he's not wearing a jacket, wait for it, NOW! rain at will!
Dagda swears in annoyance and throws a small blast of anger at the Sea-Lord. "Now look what you made me do, " he grumbles, "It'll take all afternoon to round them up again. You've ruined today."

Manannán roars in pure anger, dwarfing the Dagda's kindly grumbling or the bitter spite of the rain and cold, summoning up the memories of great storms, hurricanes, tidal waves, continental shift, shark-fins at night, icebergs scraping against iron, lifeboats floating forlornly. "I am Manannán Mac Lir, King of the Sea. I will not cease to roar so that they may have a picnic on my beaches!"

The winds regroup and spin in harmony around His head, a halo of wiry sprites, cheeks puffing and huffing with the desire to blow and wail. The fish settle nervously on the sea bottom, the sharks of the Atlantic take a sharp left away from the west coast, the three headed mutant fish colony of the Irish sea dance their mad dance of glee, too stupid and too crazed to know when to hide.
The sky grows dark. The winds rise. The city holds its breath, staring at the sky anxiously, willing the weather to stay good, just few more days, o don't break now, don't let us down!
And the sweet sound of the Mother Danaan soothes the air, her voice like honey pouring from a silver spoon. "be quiet" she sighs, and raises her head from its slumbers. Her hair spread like red-gold across the Dublin Mountains, her profile raised to the stars, noble in its matronly beauty. She smiles and the sun forces its way through the gathering storm, shining its rainbow across her brow, His love for Her in every hue. She winks at Him, her oldest friend and admirer and then looks reproachfully at the quarreling Gods.
"I was having a nap"

Dagda looks sheepishly at His feet and Manannán almost bites off his own tongue in His haste to excuse Himself. His wife Fand smiles up at Danaan, enjoying Her husband's moment of embarrassment. 
"Hush, now" Danaan says, languid and redolent. "Dagda, I agree with you. The children deserve a little good weather. but Manannán must do as He pleases at sea. He has always ruled the sea."

Her voice caresses the city like the smell of chips at dusk, when you're hungry and tired from the play of long summer day, like the memory of childhood, like the feel of warm sand between your toes. The rain dies down, fades in the face of Her wish, and the Sun makes His triumphant return to the loud applause of the citizens. "I hear, " She smiles at the Sealord, "I hear there is room for a storm out in the Atlantic. I did enjoy that storm you did there last November. I always think they look so much better out there, out in the open. I can really appreciate the subtleties of your craft when I can see the whole storm on the big screen, you know?"
Manannán brightens perceptibly. "We-ell," He says diffidently "I might as well get a bit of practice in, I suppose" He turns his chariot and raises His whip but pauses to ask somewhat suspiciously "You will be watching now, won't you?"
Danaan smiles their special secret smile...."Of course I will." and Manannán races happily across the waves. "Humpph" Dagda settles himself again, to look at the city. "I suppose I had better try to get this sorted....a whole day ruined though. Pity." Danaan leans gently across His shoulder and looks at the little city, now slightly bedraggled, the puddles gleaming like jewels in the smug rays of the reinstated afternoon Sun.

"No, I think it looks nice. You should do another sunset, last night's was beautiful." The Dagda grinned involuntarily. "I wondered if you'd noticed!" He exclaims. "It was quite some job getting that orange-red shade at this time of year, I can tell you. And the Shaded Violets and Indigoes took hours to perfect!"
"Lovely" Danaan says hastily, "Well, one just like it then!"
"Oh, yes, okay," She looks at the great shoulders of Her kindly husband, His earnest good nature showing in every line as He poured over the city streets, trying to catch at the perfect shade of afternoon to suit its mood. His beloved Dublin, his Crossing at the Ford, His Baile Atha Cliath. She smiled at Him, the helpless affection of ten thousand years.
"Here" she says plucking it from her perfect brow and handing to Him. "You can have my rainbow."

copyright Geraldine Moorkens Byrne 2001