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Seamus Cashman


Dublin, Ireland

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The Mystery


Seamus Cashman

Who is the wind
if not I, asked Amerghin of the wind.
For answer he heard white rushes
on a dark night, whisper;
his long beard kissed blue eyes
and warmed oakgrained cheeks.
When the wind died, he said
Who is the silence
if not I.
In the stillness was no reply.

In the twentieth century
after christ's death (before that
was amerghin)
I sat upon a rock in connemara
and listened.
There was laughter in the wind
and the waves' excitement
ebbed to innocence upon the sand.
And beyond the waves

beyond the wind
a wanton stillness still remained.
My mind forsook contained the echo
Who is the wind
if not I
if not I
if not I

A Straw in the Wind


Seamus Cashman

The day of wind
is no day for thatch.
And what day is without wind?

I watched him straddle our skyline
communicate with our world
in grunts and grumbles

and comb golden straw
for our protection.

He was long ago.
All to remember is:
a man above the rafters called 'thatcher'
a priest's familiarities
the touching of knotted rushes
by the eaves; a house impassive
to the wind's futility -

I remember, too, thatcher's woink for me
as the cock crew.
And thinking that i knew,
like a straw inthe wind,
it passed me by.



Seamus Cashman

She is my body
lording on sealrock
tasting salt
cupped in my palm.

She is my soul
sapling on riverbank
nourishing dreams
supped from my hand

She is my song.
Blackbirds join her singing
and her words:
'This is my love.'

There is No Night...


Seamus Cashman

There is no night
- only purple cloud
and tattered heather
and a white mane flying the contours
of an exultant wind.

There are no stars
- only cold eyes
casting images through fingers
bonded to the landscape.

dark cloud, dark land;
a patch of sky between; a crazy horse; expectant man.

Among the Idols


Seamus Cashman

We sit here among the idols
feeding words into the flood

Once I kissed an infidel
and drew sweet sweet blood.

You rode at anchor Kibo's scree
I took a hand to cross its rim

O spirits tidal-sifting jetsam
discard me, release him.

seagulls noising herringboats
will chaw my slop.

Oh - you shall join the idols
my painted mask, my prop.

The Carnival


Seamus Cashman

And you said no.
On the crowded gangway
I stared as jugglers juggled
- prettily, no more -
and mime people masked impassively
our loves; and jacketting their steps

passed by.
Nothing to talk about.
Let us talk then, Or,
was that a calculated lance
purifying infected thought, a guage
from one who could surrender everything?

So many ways of saying...
And I said come.
I closed the hallowed door
and watched unnoticed a disrobing
still, silent for an audience
now in place. Unrolling white
longfingered gloves and latex skulls;
removing grease and pancake, white and black
and carmine red and silver spots
with dampened sponges, soap and water,
gently, then more robust until towelled dry
I saw secret faces in the glass see me.
And when I looked again
you were gone.
I only wanted to hear your words
to read between the lines; to know.
Not to live forever in those shadow folds
that curve and intertwine our mimers' faces
and find no carnival.
And you said no.

Child Asleep


Seamus Cashman

Those words I heard addressed to me were never spoken.
I have tasted all the shadows
in your hair.
I waited by the stairs to follow
thinking I could sense your calling
asking me to come.

When I ventured later on
to hug goodnight
You were smilingly asleep.

Once, halfway up the stairs
I hesitated on the fifth step;
a disconcerted realising that there is no centre.
My fiftieth birthday still someways away.

A wedge of torn wallpaper creviced by the next generation
lay poorly camouflaged to my experienced eye.
Proclaiming as the stoned slabs of Inismor
that cliff armoured plateaus sea to sky,
an aged skin ripened to be shed
to joy, relief, discovery; all
unencumbered by the bridles fo the past.
Those soils have loosened to the wind
their flavours and their juices and their seeds;
they have absorbed and polished stone,
and they no longer serve.

Is this the future cast,
the place to come,
the land to be, the fullness
generations cannot see?

And five more steps to go for me:
I taste the vibrance of this air
I have rememberances to share
and all those dreams still shadowed in the lair
of our unventured ways
awaiting centres to unfold and hold me.

And yes, I can see
the very top step of this stairs.

Flying a Kite


Seamus Cashman

Flying a kite with you on the green green grass of home.
Do you remember your instant energetic joy
when I ask if you liked kites?

Last night my dream was filled
with the kind of romance
that I had though long channeled
into song and otherworld nostalgia.
An aria for one forgotten love
now surfacing discreetely through your image
to stir my bone.

Last night I rose like christ ascending from deep sleep
to slip untrammelled through the speeding skies above
and in a world of primary clarities
and found below your girl-like figure dancing
singing, slowly skipping on a broad green meadow-field
with undulating undetermined margins. In one upstretched hand
a string on which your beauty hovered high beside me
as a kite on glorious spreading wings, firm-set upon the wind.
I moved beside your gossamer to touch its colours with my palm
and as my soul sped by it paused to rest upon its glowing seals
and butterflies and peacock discs and chinese-dragoned spine.

I thought it was my soul's sin weight upon you that brought us down
in waft and wave and waft until your kite with me upon it
reached you on the ground, and in your arm
I found its strong and gory string
full wound about your palm
and in your eyes the searching silver I must mine.

Nor had I ever thought that there could be a kite so beautiful
that it would joy my soul in sleep and leave my morning
high on dreams.

Homage to a Dead Jellyfish


Seamus Cashman

'Would anybody call you Beautiful?' I asked a dead jellyfish on a cold
morning - Saturday - in January, halfway along Portmarnock beach.

The opening sky rose behind Ireland's Eye, turning chunkiness into 2d
blackness, flattened halfway out at sea.

High overhead a pair of cloud-9 clouds perched lowly in the yellowing
silence, hovering, uncertain. No wind. Nowhere else to go.
Quite suddenly, a glowing rim of intense ochre peered above the island hub.
I raised my arm to time its levitation.

Two minutes and five seconds saw this halo-hallowed-shimmer clear
the island spine, free of earth and resurrected.
I never thought the universe could move so fast.

Now that was Beautiful.
And the dead Jellyfish hadn't noticed. It was dead of course
I toe'd it over to discover underneath.

A rudimentary tentacle or something in its middle.
And mouth-like orifices by the rim conducting star-form musclature
to a barely opaque gut. For feeding?

I humped it back again and washed the crystal dome with wave.
Then squat and watched and saw what I had missed before - its
mauves and violets blushing four domed-patterns to the rim.

My soul fixed on the creature's heavy immobility, hoping for some sign
that could not come. My finger traced its boundaries in the sand.

A shadow rose beside me to the dunes. I strode to fill my walk
watching its distortions ripple on the beach.

'Poor Jellyfish,' it sighed aloud,
and gave me smiles, and looked up at the clouds.

The Mask


Seamus Cashman

Relentlessy, I search,
my hold-all sporting innocence,
for the mask I cannot find.
A mask for my magnificance
to wear in paradise.

I see it now, this super gear
the shadow of a lion
eating sugared almonds
effigies of Nero and Napoleon
Christ beside some Cross
a woman wearing eardrop emeralds
with golden skin and eyes
of blue enamel, silver painted pupae
on each cheek, death's head moth her mouth.
I lose her face distracted by demanding breasts
and fingertouch .... and so it is I see.

There are passages within each eye
leading to extraordinary arches of the mind.
I season both, my eyes
absorbing bloodrimmed catacombs within;
enveloped, drawn, I spiral
arms and feet full stretched
to chartered ecstasy.

Here is destiny - just near my touch, so near...
and through its sphinctered arch
a half soul I have chaffed,
- busy busy -
with some casual certitude;
and here beneath this glorious triumph
to some brute man
a gentle energy I well remember -
one foolishly abandoned - aah!
We seldom solemnise our truth.

I see my woman reft in two, rising from those caves
my left eye finding in her right-eyed cavern
the severed right-hand side, and in her left,
a matching severed left.
My eyes could not reformdisjointed body
with disjointed soul, and in my agony
I turned away.

If I could place each semi-vision
to the trim, beyond the margins
of my life, could she and I survive
such pages of design unedited?
Perhaps I should divide and set my severed shapes
upon the verso . . . and recreate a pair of balanced souls.

My passion dissipates and as I ride in envy
with her ecstasy her eyes and mine disintegrate
and I am left alone watching an unlit candle
set in ornamental horn, and a basket of bread.

My great mask is here and it fills my dread
with simple fear. What if it won't come off?
The putting on seems not to be the question.
The now; to do; to be;
How consequences terrify
So close to paradise, so close to hell.

A Daddy Bewildered


Seamus Cashman

We think our children
wonders of this universe
and lose our awesome selves
in service of their beauties.

They pinch each tear before it forms
and drain each courage dry
with laughter, style and childer-ness.
They makes us bulge with pride
at their varieties.

Daughter - son
Son - daughter
How I love you
unknown to all myself!

You seed my drills
and harrow down my angers -
But still, my loves, be still:
I have another question...

How can I love you
more than me?

For me,
your past is all now.
For you,
I am your history.