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Hay Machine


Dublin, Ireland

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The Essential Hazel Lavery


Hay Machine

Hazel sweetheart
not just any honey bee
what they resented was the way
you penetrated life
because that was men's work

Evening herald
Casement's comforter
you made Cromwell's place
and that was God's work

Alas Hazel
simple Irish girl
you drove Michael Collins to Downing Street
he came to you first after the signing
that was your work

Through all this time Hazel
your spirit summons lovers
and at least you knew yourself
that you were no ordinary woman

Lovely Hazel in the afterworld
I pray you are restored
to the artist's studio
where he painted you
arm around Alice
to console forever his loves at night
in the dark gallery

Dearest Hazel
(wish it was yesterday)
it is not finished

A Tennis Party


Hay Machine

From a painting, A Tennis Party by John Lavery 1886, Aberdeen Art Gallery

Oil on board
eighteen eighty five
John Lavery plans a gentle painting
to test an image living in his heart
an impression
a sporting social moment
a commentary on the age
this single frame
its poise
the echo of the ball
still audible as a sweet soft noise

A tennis court
bordered with a white waist-high wooden rail
veiled in chicken wire
a high mesh at one end
to catch the wayward ball
the setting is a private park
the high broadleaf trees around
tell the time
early August

The oil on board draws
long dark shadows of evening
the grass is yellow and turf-brown
and in the light shade of the trees
a white five-bar wooden gate is open
simply inviting

A mixed-doubles game
caught in a high tennis moment
a beautiful flowing backhand plays the ball
receiver anticipating in flight
the narrow waist hinging such memorable delight
a man in athletic tweeds
runs crosscourt at full stretch

Around the wooden perimeter
a gallery of friends
some familiar challengers in waiting
a red post supports the net
an arched privet hedge marks
a gateway to a less playful world
This moving impression
an experiment on board
a practice match
caught at a precise time
the soft echo of the ball
hanging in the grassy air

In eighteen eighty six
John Lavery stands back
casting his critical eye on the finished canvas
brush-in-hand fouled with oily greens
palette of opals brown and powdery white
the canvas brighter than the practice board
gone the shadowy eclipse of the trees
but it is the same moment of fulfilment

The gallery on the far side of the court is seated
matrons and patrons
uncles and aunts
a stylish pose reclining in the early August air
the grass in spots revealing summerís wear

Why did he paint this feminine moment
why did it mark his heart with such precision
and who are they and who is she
and who at this remove to say are we

She stirred his heart
won this moment
in the history of fine art
it still holds a precious thrill
her partner sidelined
her mother watches seated in the wicker chair
a niece queuing patiently with pony hair

A challenger a suitor
smoking waiting in the wings
racket at the ready to suggest his shrewd intent
added to the canvas
an addition since the practice game
to add balance to the painting

The extended family enjoys
the climax of a friendly game
a celebration of their civilised age
and for the heart
a white flamingo in an open cage

Dun Laoghaire


Hay Machine

Church spires bells and seawead smells
granite piers and grandeur
from Mellifont to Scotsman's bay
the empress and her sidekick stay
in bed and breakfasts
peeling tall and regal
where rock birds dry their oily wings
and poodles do their dirty things
where bunting flies from pole to pole to eagle

Classical victorian and plainer window shapes
their curtains shutters awnings blinds
and dusty draylon drapes
the People's park with tulip beds
its fountains with their cupid heads
the softer sound of tennis at Clarinda
Dun Laoghaire with your weathered face
contented town with seaside grace
you gild and frame our plain lives
quite sublimely



Hay Machine

Delicate pure-fingered
fern-sweet bell
story of sadness
the nocturne to tell

Poland for dreamers
waking at night
plagued by reality's
red-poker'd light

Frederic Chopin
finest romance
lightness of Heaven
shortness of dance

President Arthur Griffith


Hay Machine

Great great grandfather
of a long lost land
grey herringbone'd coat
with a black velvet band

Mine-seam of decency
brave stroke of pen
leader of leaders
most thoughtful of men

Poor Arthur Griffith
with one pair of shoes
all things to live for
and no time to lose

Besieged in his office
and slept in a press
wrapped in a coat
he just couldn't undress

He died on a landing
I visit this place
no marker reminds us
of Arthur no trace

A cenotaph stone
with a flame-tip of gold
he shares with his General
their greatness be told

Hay Machine


Hay Machine

Between his finger and his thumb
the poet Seamus Heaney versed
where you and I used keyboard chalk
his shortened pen on page impressed

Under his balcony
the slither of an uncoiling snake
he looks up
nearly airport time

his mother pegs the washing to her plastic washing line
masted on great grey-green poles
her laundry basket ruddered on her hip
the diamond grassy clearing out the back
her refuge and her ship

Between her cinder and her son
a squat hen rests

Homer Simpson


Hay Machine

Curvaceous yellowman
carrier of defective Simpson gene
donut and jelloman
roundbellied selfishness-machine

More than just a carikture
of pen and writer's shape
Homer strokes a part of us
that wounded open gape

He reassures and heals the victim
lurking in our souls
lifelike dissappointment
never reaching any goals

Homer gentle alien
full with wanting soul
three fingers slapped accross your head
D'OH! first cousin of Bob Dole

Moya Llewelyn Davies


Hay Machine

Moya for Melissa Llewelyn Davies

Steeped naturally in her Gaelic ways
love of all things Irish foremost
imagine splendid sheen of hair and orchid eye
dipped in tragedy
as though Gods thought to test to the limit
her endurance and ability

Beloved her mother and four siblings died that day
poisoned on a family picnic
the periwinkles at Seapoint
that night they perished where they lay
poor man O'Connor
Joyce in Ulysses could only say

In London Moya was the fruit of Irish social round
in dance and song and literature she found
friends some comfort from her loved ones lost
and one night Sam Maguire his name on silver cup
introduced her to the lover of her life
Michael Collins notwithstanding she was Crompton's wife

In Furry Park Killester her castle still resides
in nineteen twenty two its lands ran down to Clontarf's tides
with Crompton still King's Counsel and a pillar of the realm
in Dublin Moya opened house to revolution's men
Michael Collins pictured broker-dressed in Crompton's coat and hat
peddled through his checkpoints and that was simply that

Heart-drawn and lonesome Celt
busy ghost-writing for old soldiers
Muiris O'Sullivan's Blasket island tale
she took from ancient Irish and gave it English sail
Moya's name recorded here and elsewhere swept away
officially denied pragmatic history took its sway

It's said she had two children with her Irish General dear
and both revealed in latter years this truth
when Signe Toksvig came to tea in Dublin's Furry Park
her diaried observation was another timely spark
it lit a candle in the straw-thatched roof of retrospective thought
made a fire with roar and heat in flames her image wrought

Moya has a story left to tell
her image in a gallery must hang as well
magnificent lamp alight above the door
up to twenty windows
through this curtained light
to celebrate our store

Nursing Home


Hay Machine

Semi-circle of cheap chairs
upholstered in maroon nylon
their wooden arms touching
worn piano last tuned
the year of the congress

Admissions sister admits nothing
except the dry stained atmosphere
she can't deny
the dead and buried better-off
than these yellow ones impaled
on rubber mats
drying out
like geraniums

Statue mounted grimly on a dusty plywood shelf
plastic bucket mop and dirty tea-stained heavy delph
dried crooked yellow flowers with paper wire-supported stems
decorate the geriatric landfill

A lot of Balls


Hay Machine

Molecules are drawn together tight
In metals stones and glasses
These balls are free to roam and bend
In petals bones and gasses
When neutrons and their protons wed
Electrons dance around their bed
And happy families as should
Revolve around each neighbourhood

All substance then is made from spheres
Relentless spinning; what one hears
Inner space must sharp reflect
Its outer cousin (theory wrecked)
And Pluto spins around our Sun
And Mars resembles Earth
Venus Uranus (Jupiter too)
Saturn Pluto Neptune Stew

I travelled in a tiny craft
Through many earthly soups
And out the window all I saw
Were balls in many different groups
In chalk there's not much hydrogen
And dry the cocktail tastes
The diamond's carbon balls are caught
Eternal symmetry there wrought

I found in water patterns plain
Two hydrogen and one again
A tiresome journey I admit
But kinder than my flight through shit
I thought while from the craft I stared
A pattern simple had emerged
Spinning balls are universal
Science set for sharp reversal

Worse was yet to manifest
The heart was pounding in its breast
In orbit high above near Heaven
It was twenty five past seven
The window through I saw quite clearly
Galaxies all woven (nearly)
In a shape I thought for sure
Infinite and all manure ?

What beast what size excretes such scale ?
the pond its duck the seas their whale
And if the creature is a girl
then God be praised where is the male ?
I travelled further out past time
past sense and colour prose and rhyme
I saw as far ahead in space
As I had travelled to this place
And after each horizon cleared
the line it made was clearly sphered

I went out further past the point
where anything itself exists
where death resides and boils its brew
where cold heat burned and ice-blades grew
I looked around and thanked the stars
That you were there
My earthly Mars

Bertie Cullen Post-war Chemist


Hay Machine

Considering there was only iodine before the war
he was more than contented in his new etherworld
with William the grinning assistant
(must have been chewing the free samples)
terrazzo floors and hardwood doors
closed for lunch
cabinets filled with patent cures
bottles boxes tins and tubes for using
with rolls of lint and cotton wool to swab the orange oozing
separated by royal blue tissue-paper
the likes of which had no other purpose
jars stuffed with orange and black sugar-barleys
Zambuc TCP iodine metholated spirits
nit-combs soap parafin and sun-glasses

the sheer promise of it all and the exotic
sachets of Loxene shampoo
sticky plaster on a small tin roll
(within a tin)
pink and blue curlers
hair dryers
toothbrushes nail-varnish Nivia and lipstick
pink shell-shaped purses with nail-files and tweezers
Johnson's baby powder
hot water bottles
and gallons of Benilyn
for all the Winter wheezers

He must have been an optimist
who did he think would ever buy that miniature camera
(rep with the Czech agency had a few good days
idealist hardened now to leaner ways)
bought a bike
and I'd say he had a drum of stuff out back in bulk
for curing scabies
bottles teats Liga-biscuits
nappies pins and clips and plastic pants
for all the post-war babies

And to crown it all
his chrome-rimmed marbled grey-blue iron-pedestalled weighing scales
there was nothing like it

Wee Problem


Hay Machine

In men about the age of fifty the prostate starts to grow
they tend to know not much about it
(when again it might be said)
there's not an awful lot to know
the almond with its own agenda sprouts and starts to show
how the greatest of them all have fallen prey
to the biggest (little) silent almond-shaped unseen troublemaker of our day

It's function is to make the juice that carries semen off
and after adolescent's surge it settles down to just that job
be praised the internet its diagrams fAQ's and theme'd home pages
the little bastard kills more men than all the world war rages

It lies concealed in mid-crotch hiding in the centre of the gusset
when in aging men the almond starts to grow we don't discuss it
it crimps the urinary tubing and torments the bladder so
doing this and two things further all at once you ought to know
creating bursting pre-dawn urge and unfulfilling urine flow
and after bleary stagger to the bathroom pray believe it
the hose now dented forms a blockage all your grunting won't relieve it

The second thing its reputation suffers from
if cancer strikes its too late to remove it
notwithstanding that investigations must be undertaken
to diagnose or otherwise disprove it
with rubber glove and grim sinuey neck
your doctor has to visit it via the rectum
his index finger probing like a diesel-powered caterpillar
the fact alone the prostate in this manner grows
is probably the single reason that
you've never seen your family doctor
suck his thumb or ever stick his finger up or next or near his nose

Your bladder plays a neat and timely role
responding to benign this mid-life growing toll
it gathers up some extra squeeze and traps it in behind the pelvic door
(energy from all the grunt and grimace I suppose that you expend on bathroom floor)
all of this a timeworn tapestry of self deception and depreciation
distracting you until the fateful day they pull your little almond friend
a most undignified and painful tragic end
under general anesthetic out through the smallest penis hole
nature's perfect balance lays the price of all life's pleasure on your wrinkled scrotum pole

Slemish Road


Hay Machine

(in loving memory of Eileen Browne)

Burke and Neary built them small
along the short straight road to the graveyard wall
where Oxmantown and Castleknock
came to meet at Mooney's lock
there to breed a freckled flock
of white-skinned Christian and compliant stock

Number seventeen
crucible of dreams
my mother's loom
all of us spun by her hand
and love-woven



Hay Machine

When bad news lands and eats your gilt veneer
we play the voyeur with your panic and your fear
it's not our turn to kiss a decomposing friend
or graveyard dressed experience inevitable end

Candidate with silk rosette on first election night
family friends advisers threre in public woven tight
juices flow and fill the eye where now there is a drought
reward and pleasure must be cherished when they are about

All the great ones dead and fallen slipped from finest hours
nature life and competition's cruel destructive powers
giving birth that moment is the essence of this world
in time disease and genes will twist the straightest epic curled
all that we can do is pray and act distinguished part
bow out before they cut your hide rip-out your precious heart
or cancer strikes and hope descends
your skin dries-up your shoulder bends
they find your DNA near cashier's till
with intellect alone strike back invent the next day's drill

All living things fall low and have an end
the raindrop falling from its meadow perch allows the grass unbend
continue nervous-one perform and take your light
it might be evening but it's long before your dreaded breathless night

Mrs Bradley


Hay Machine

Her dry hairy chin
her most prominent feature
she moved like a silkworm
remarkable creature

Roundshouldered from shopping
and fat from its eating
toothless and tired
but there's no public seating

Carlisle Pier


Hay Machine

Part I

Outward Voyages

November train from Westland Row its oily doors present
last in a line of hungry souls dressed in a tweed lament
marbled cardboard case in hand an Afton plume and scent
Arigna's seams to yield no more no more his shoulder bent
grey all the colours in his heart and dry his every tear
since icecap melt his name endured set now to disappear

Picture folded twice within his wallet made from hide
his mother dressed in black with shawl his father stands beside
behind a whitewashed cabin there a sweathouse on the right
his silent life recorded by the lakes without delight

In Keadue in Roscommon living off the beaten track
blind Carolan the harper lived but that brings nothing back
there still live Noones the Mntons gone did Noonans disappear
the mailboat sounds its horns like doom this night on Carlisle's pier

A ticket bought in Sligo for the train to Camden town
with money under mattress stored since Parnell fought the crown
the uncrowned king this platform rode and Griffith in his wake
where Kitty ran in winter coat for Michael's lonesome sake

George the fourth his father gone to Heaven's harbour gate
arrives in Kingstown (bears his name) and not a day too late
a thousand years before him mighty Laoghaire built a throne
but the plinth on balls commemorates the madman's son alone

This bitter cold November night I hear a lone gull scream
a million souls and more have lived this nightmare Irish dream
dragged from a lime-washed home to sail a cold despondent sea
thrown to the navvy queues that stretch as far as Brightlingsea

November train from Westland Row its oily doors present
a miner from Arigna there who could not pay his rent
he knows a man from Leitrim living well in Camden town
who wrote to say he'd keep him until something comes around

Joyce and Beckett paid the price of small rejecting minds
and sailed for good from Carlisle's deck and left their place behind
somewhere in his Exiles Joyce observes what exiles learn
they pay a heavy ransom toll if ever they return

In this rolling land of green with mists and Celtic folklore tales
a Polish poet once remarked with measured weighing scales
notwithstanding charm and calm the emerald island chokes
from dense effects of all this mist its people sightless folks

November train from Westland Row its oily doors present
the poor that would always be with us if we didn't Carlisle-invent
flushed from our time with the salty brine of England's Irish sea
under the care-less half-filled eye in the fog no one can see

We didn't know nor understand nor what could we otherwise do
Arigna's time had come and gone and that was that for you
we had a life with comforts deep our children tennis-trained
while you with blackened crease of face in mine-pit still remained

We did not see you underground on all-fours dripping wet
we saw a lithographic screen of Welshmen no one met
out of sight and out of mind in misery condemned
electrified our post-war lives means justified the end

November train from Westland Row its oily doors present
nature's perfect balance sheet in sand and in cement
Carlisle's outstretched tongue prepares its contents there to spit
an innocent in dowry tweeds engrained with carbon's grit

Part II


Could Carlisle Pier re-engineered receive and kiss with care
and house who come with open arms and comfort their despair
I think when Joyce and Gogarty were first upon their tower
they struggled with our native flaw this cruel destructive power

From up upon the turret high Buck Mulligan could see
the Anglo-Irish Carlisle pier though short effectively
it welcomed King and Empress Queen to their western kingdom come
they walked its decks and strode ashore when instincts said to run

November Dart from Westland Row its sliding doors present
a thousand souls with tickets bought to enter Carlisle's tent
the percussionist from the orchestra is pacing on the pier
soprano drinking milkless tea her thrush's throat to clear

The seats are filling steadily the houselights through its sails
on purple royal and yellow masts so bright the moonlight pales
conductor enters from the left to rousing cheer'd applause
with baton tap and toss of hair relaunches Carlisle's cause

Around its many seaside decks and open promenade
the Carlisle Pier resembles more a cruise ship serenade
its passengers are all who want to sail the Heaven's seas
remembering those who came before in dark November breeze

November train from Westland Row its oily doors present
last in a line of hungry ghosts dressed in a tweed lament
marbled cardboard case in hand an Afton plume and scent
Arigna's seams to yield no more no more his shoulder bent
he sees the corner turned at last his destination near
at peace and right our meeting place historic Carlisle Pier

Portrait of a Nocturne


Hay Machine

(No.2 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2)

His palette some pale hand
to mix these drips of life upon
of George Sand
stroke of brush his own caress
dipping into hollows
the contours of her dress

Juice of Autumn peach
chilled in evening air
its own gentle urgency
knowing but not kneeling to despair

When words have failed to paint this scene
it's time to close a listening eye
to drink from out this spring
and sleep cradled in his dream

Moore Street


Hay Machine

The air creamy with root vapours
the short street heaving with fruitcarts
store-high troves of apples and cabbage strew
where Plunkett's open doors stifle the juicy clouds
with the stank of hung beef and giblet puddings

One-ended street with fishy strains
stallers aged with weather'd hides and tweed coat stains
flowers in buckets stuffed to overflowing
dogs and children living in the underprams
three pence each love the bananas

Scraping the End of the Barrel


Hay Machine

Thick juice-dried sediment
dark-stuck to oaken floor
boiled smell of worm-grave
cat-flap to despair and hunger's door

The soul whose child is hope
can navigate and move the limbs
destroy and undermine in killing love
commits no greater sins

When drum is apple-full
its round sweet floor is bless'd
when gluttoned life is run
then black and graveyard-dressed

5 Cromwell Place


Hay Machine

The most important 'Irish' building in London

John Lavery going around with his head in paintpots
it burned a red heat within
that day he crossed the Brompton road to look at number five
perfect for his Eileen and his art
from the outside its low proportions on the street
book-end studio in the Regency style
and when he crossed the threshold he knew
though distracted with small-talk in the flagstoned hall
he could not take his eye off the spiral wind of stair
its wooden rail a beanstalk to the giant's room
the artist's studio

He could not know though artists have such sight
the inestimable importance and that his choice could be so right
John with a frame for laying railway sleepers
brought together Hazel and his clientele elite
and oiled an Irish treaty on Cromwell's Regent street
with hindsight he could ever not have known
Michael Collins would knock and climb one day upon this artist's throne
and all at number five would be discreet
table their difficulties and do what must be done
in this clearing house for obscurities
our history at number five upstairs
in the artist's studio would be complete

Hazel spun her web at Cromwell Place
and wrapped her silken threads around the house
Lloyd George Churchill Collins Griffith Birkinhead and Gogarty
inestimable use incalculable importance
some human drama has to have its way
gave the useless ones the slip
no spy at number five although they intermingled everywhere
and that's the reason why they did the deal through his betroth
Hazel wonderous hostess
living off the Brompton Road

Fifty Something


Hay Machine

Red fuschia hanging still abundant
fog dripping in the light-strained wet
the hedgerows all around by Ventry
spelling end of Summertime
but not quite yet

Aware that Summertime has got to yield
while Winter patiently awaits on greying strands
but not far now the last of fuschia's days
memories and treasures from a youthful past
retraced in life's lonesome and immortal ways

Digital Empire


Hay Machine

Our thoughts confined to narrow bands
Victoria Regina
her empire gone from peak to ruin
but Uncle Sam is meaner

Egyptian Greek and Roman worlds
lie jilted in the desert
Britannia ruled but rules no more
by any standard measured

What brings these empires to an end
foundations deep and splendid
the boldness of their venturers
so hard to comprehend it

The current order leaves the World
to think it independent
whereas it functions only if
George Washington defends it

They never landed on our shores
nor sounded an invasion
but waved electrons through our space
in gradual persuasion

Michael Jackson stole our young
and William Gates the elders
rock and roll and chewing gum
their grinders and their welders

America our motherland
where hyphens join the races
except the black and Spanish hoards
with whom we won't swop places

I saw one day a sign display
a crooked Hollywood
and hovered there in hovercraft
a joke it looked but no one laughed

What empire next that Stalin's dead
and Mao Tse Tung a moron
each one of us an emperor
ourselves to pour the scorn on

The Little Red Post Box


Hay Machine

(for Margaret O'Shea from Ventry)

Aintree dressed
in straight top hat
and crimson vest
stood classically
on spit and polish spat
with marching orders
set by royal decree
cut out for splendid cast iron soldiery

In Saorstat green
the fusiliers
look less than ceremonious
their decorated chests
and trim
like plastic-leaf'd begonias

Georgian Edwardian
Victoria's invention
in side-door green
cut Chaplin-jibbed
like Cosgrave's own reflection

Post Box imagery abounds
money-boxes miniatures
Christmas cards with signitures
snow-capped and robin-topped
to church bell chimes
from horsedrawn times
from char-a-bancs and jaunting cars
to labels stuck on chutney jars

With two mouths open
fattened and joined at the hip
like siamese
one for local post
its other side for overseas

Thomas Bodkin where are you
your skill and taste now needed
to table the artistic motion
repaint them red
let's say
if nothing else as a devotion
to your red rose friend
now that from the money's watermark
our daily link to her achievement
and that important time
is set to end

Reality isn't Everything


Hay Machine

Jimmy Cook is torched with a head full of mathematics
frying algebra like chopped onions
so that he cannot sleep until a resolution is uncoiled
a value for the moment found for X

I told him how I lived my life
(and according to my present wife)
that everything I do and say
is only partly hinged on what is termed reality

Find a value for X such that
all other variables are equal to zero
it must be zero too although I see he said
relativity itself at present is stood upon its head
and time might not exist the lot defying gravity as well
as we have come to sheepishly accept it

Happiness I did contend was sometimes equal like the rest to zero
reality a bottle from whose care a drink of promise is decanted
can smash or carried to a dump lie desolate and never be enchanted
whereas a friend who screeches with a wildness on your flying carpet
holding upwards its edges for cornering around life's golden onion domes
holds the secret to a life filled at least to just above the plimsoll
and when wine spills into the path of a runaway delight
life's labour time gravity itself finds a value for X
that is not equal to zero

Sir John and Lady Hazel Lavery


Hay Machine

To look and walk where the artists walked
the words of those with whom they talked
to kiss the thoughts that they have thought
what am I bid for their palette

To pay a hundred visits to the artist's shrine
each time learning more the dreaming more sublime
intense though it might seem to be the pleasure is a sleep
filled with vivid moments studded like the star-filled deep

Over the ultimate edge of the blade which with his craft he cut
glide on the tides of feeling there binding the screws to the nut
features and fabric draped on the sitter shrouded in private gaze
taken a message from out of the heart a statement from out of the age

High is the concept of gallery the artist's church of prayer
each moment that his canvas with his painted strokes hangs there
precious in a way like time itself with loved ones spent
preserving artist's treasures there without the risk of rent

Reliving history the ageless intellect at play
a refuge in his painting and in the artist's studio
those eyes looking down the gallery aisle
doing more from their Heaven than we do

You Would Want to be Mad


Hay Machine

In algebra it can be fully proved
that this is this and that it can't be moved
but who would want a life fulfilled with dreams
corrected with straight lines the laws of land its seams

I for one prefer the landscape rough
with sheer of cliff and roar of watery stuff
to drink the wine until the conversation spills
over into subjects where the poet gets his thrills

A Poem for Grown-Ups


Hay Machine

The conflict rage of loves and rights
of high-heeled maids
in seam-filled tights
their right of passage
here assured
lipstick smeared
the skirt coutured

The style and scent of Lolabrigida
engineered flesh
draped in silver silk taffeta
hair in a candyfloss heap on her head
moves on stiletto
and nothing is said
except in the nostrils of women and men
who think of her juices
and promise of them

Beautiful Lady Marilyn Monroe
from your silver-haired head
to your apricot toe
filling that dress like a salmon its skin
fruit from the painting
and luscious within
carved by the Gods
to your Heavenly breast
wrapped in your vestments
the mistress undressed



Hay Machine

Only son carries alone the burden
and the culture of his parents
Victor (late of United Dominions Trust)
and the late Elizabeth (Elza) Crosswaithe

When the tide went out
in Greystones in the nineteen fifties
history and empire screamed in dreamlike silence
gravel-weeder velvet-kneeler Book of Common Prayer
it's over

Bags packed servant thanked
croquet hockey-sticks cricket sets
and hickory-shafted golf clubs
taken from the garage
draped over deckchairs by the gate
and when they made their bundled bone-sounds
they brought to life in mute colour
summer afternoons
when the Wimbledon-green side door opened and closed
to the footsteps of close family friends

Where willow cherry and rhododendron sweep
neat-mown gardens in Glenageary
they are waiting for the mail boat

Ice Pop


Hay Machine

Thick juicy orange ice pop in a bag and perched upon a stick
thin brittle chocolate cover on the top you'd love to bite but choose to lick
reluctant paper wrapper frozen stiff
peel remaining paper stalagmites (as if)

Raise the sweetest melting orange frost
slurp with curling tongue and sucking lips so none is lost
the sun-warmed dribbling juicy orange drips
underneath the gusset near the orange icepop sticks

Wide open mouth closed tight to clasp the tantalising top
pull the chocolate cap count two then crack the crispy crop
all the world eclipsed by torrent orange flavour'd streams
time and climaxed thirst quenched far beyond their wildest dreams

Slow smaller shrinking sweeter centre stump
slipping up the stick in one soft lip-sucked lump
here she comes
the moment just before complete fulfilment's lick
the final orange moist bit dripping slowly down along the orange icepop stick



Hay Machine

Peter Dempsey
one of Wexford's quiet sons
master at chewing Summer grass after tea
on a warm bank along the road past Warren's
with its apple trees and promise
down to the beach at Ballymoney

Peter Dempsey
never tied to standing order
his native-self reclined
on one elbow for the Summer bayders
and God knows what he did for his disorder
during the long Winters
on that damp bed
in the Forge there with his father

Peter Dempsey
hand to Pat O'Connor with the boat
the pirate looking cross-eye
in the twine-tied overcoat
and they rowed out in the evening
from the second beach's mooring
(after grass was cut and new potato eaten)
their heavy wooden oars rolling on the sea

Peter Dempsey
drowned one night he couldn't swim
he must be buried
in Kiltennel churchyard him
and whatever else he's doing
he has ample grass for chewing
in this peaceful place (his gorge)
beside his Forge

Why Sleeping Dogs


Hay Machine

The Spaniel in us all is every single bit as bad
as the knee-jerk Jeckle barking at his Hyde
what is this trait the mark of Homer Simpson we possess
concealed in cocker's wardrobe at impressive home address
the thing that drives the lover to prepare the sharpened axe
as behaviour passes through the norm and shatters former cracks

It's the nature in our nature
the cave within our homes
the lusting in our bodies
and the craving in our bones

Happiness isn't Everything


Hay Machine

Drip drop stop
to the beetroot in vinegar
time is an outside thing
delivering a mighty sting

Photograph album
exhibits razor-slices
of treasured time in lotion
tranquillity recollected in emotion

That crunch when
the front tooth is pliered
painfully from its socket
is time itself don't mock it

The vacuum pump
can create a nothingness
and move time in space
from one point to another place

The Prison cell takes life away
and those who know its coldness
call the experience sublime
in its smallest fraction simply time

Lost love is a hole that never fills
or forgets with a substitute to ease its ache
the value of the shortest lovelife
expressed in terms of all this give and take

Sailing to Suburbia


Hay Machine

A man and woman confront on a couch
she with agenda he with a slouch
sideways he answers the questions she asks
pressing remotely remotely the tasks
cleaning the what do you call it he hears
yes in a minute when she disappears
feet on the table for coffee designed
propped on her cushions beneath his behind

In his head are the noises that men understand
gas in his torso that needs to expand
heat in his socks where the toes are entwined
visions and lust drive him out of his mind
will you or won't you she asks with an edge
what he says sideways her patience to dredge
will you help me to tidy the garage tonight
I would if I could but I can't there's no light

Will you do it to-morrow or Saturday week
the year after next or assistance I'll seek
from a boy up the road with a leaning for toil
I must have assistance if blood's not to boil
will you open the window or empty the bin
is there any activity isn't a sin
I tell you she said in a voice soft as rain
with a life to live over I'd hate you again

What did you say he said sideways again
there's something on later and more later then
what's for my dinner and bring me a beer
your answer to questions like these I must hear
from the deeps of her heart she draws answers her own
my leaving is something I cannot postpone
I'd kiss you but frankly there's salt on my lips
he bids her adieu through a mouthful of crisps

She gathers a bundle of things in black bags
a phone and a lipstick a comb her tampax
tears for herself for being stupid she feels
in a pageant of lovers in fairytale fields
one day he would come on a stallion sublime
the prince of her childhood if that is a crime
I'm going I'm leaving in blinding attack
he pressed the remote but it would not playback

Fantasie Impromptu


Hay Machine

(Determination in C Sharp Minor)

white water rapids
and thumping heart beats
in the torrent of life
a dialogue
between knowledge
and feeling
this is right

stepping stones
into the calms
the dialogue resuming
questions answers questions questions
he had to feel unloved
to write like that
his soul
the child of which was love

I am always chasing rainbows
the lyric in the melody
a resolution for now
calms to rapids
accusing from hurt
you said you loved me
but I am always chasing rainbows
and awakening

Christmas Day 1999


Hay Machine

Hardly clever
there are no boundaries
art history and human endeavour
no fence
except the barb
rolled out
in our defence
the negative prerogative
all we cannot do

The dividend of time
is choice
the option of old age
a range
from love to rage

On the wide prairies
of the mind
every thought can graze
no need for beast to wait
for farmer or his wife
to open gate

Determination is a dream
filling from the intellect
better let to roam
forwards and backwards
until it finds itself
and human endeavour

Mirra Mirra on the Wall


Hay Machine

(for Gooay Bonga)

Hitchcock's measured intrigue
and monochrome'd decency
hits eerie times
where the suspense
is Barbie-zoned

In the shaving mirra
out of the blue
a relentless stalking mimic
shaves and keeps the straightest face
although it's Barbie-zoned

During Samhain
the door opened to the other side
interconnecting to the shee world
as passions roamed
and Fionn kept his head

The one thing I admire about his lot
his daughter
splendid just like mine
she talks a lot
shaving now a four-way dialogue

Bless my soul
he came on holidays with us
and brought his family along
if that itself is not effrontery
he booked the same hotel and every time
we sang he sang the self-same song

he booked a room the same as ours
and in the Mirra
I could see them brush their teeth
and naked use the showers

If I could places change with him
I'd not be standing-order tied
my daughter wouldn't have to go to school
and not arriving late
shee wouldn't have to speak in phrases lied



Hay Machine

It is not what it seems
the frosty whiter light of the Moon
refridgerated blanket of the night
woven of cold moonbeams

The blood-warming orange of the day
its heat and passion burning from within
bounced at night off the barren orbitor
for no benefit its light coldly sucked clean

Beneath all science there is art
and the squirrell also has to play his little furry part
his blood-rush urges and his native skill display
intimate knowledge of our collective lunacy

Proposed Commonwealth


Hay Machine

Perish the thought
why don't they join ours
but realistically
it shouldn't have that jingoistic ring
more appropriate
a right instead of might association-thing

There's no point trying to compete
with Microsoft the internet
and the U.S. military machine
but the intellectual content
the spirit and the moral piece
the music party conversation
humour wit and thoughtfulness
even the politic the literary dramatic and show-business bit
might just as well
and maybe better even sometimes be
an Irish or a Kazak common wealth outfit

It doesn't have to physically reside
except where people gather in its name
no flag nor emblem designates its cause
no lawyer bishop king nor academic
chairs its way or waits for its applause
it only has one rule of membership admission
no force allowed but no one needs permission

But then again
reflect on ordinary life
no point to reinvent the schpiel
when what we need is no more bloody strife
this commonwealth exists
within the lives of nearly every living soul
each moment filled to overflowing with potential glee
and everything that glows or grows a grip
for everone who holds that key

Permanent History


Hay Machine

Light shine of star
a million light years later
from this sun long dead
caught in the beholder's eye
a perfect image

Stone-cutter's yard Kilmainham
third day of May
nineteen sixteen
three thirty in the morning
first light projects
an arc of perfect image

Beal na mBlath
twenty second day of August
nineteen twenty two
eight ten in the evening
twilight projects
an arc of perfect image

A well-aimed thought travels
faster than immortal light
intersecting perfect images
where truth resides
perfectly preserved out there
in perfect timelessness

Anglo-Irish Ireland


Hay Machine

Dublin's brick-lined Georgian Squares
canals and port and thoroughfares
Grattan's place in College Green
Gandon's bookend buildings
lustrous lived-in houses
necklaced in between

Guinness and their homes near Porterstown
a thousand country houses some without renown
Norman castles in ivy sunset dressed
landscape crafted kissed and worked
nature light architect and artist blessed

Swift Wilde Shaw Yeats and Lavery
their very names wrought from imagery
so much of what we have to call inheritance
our finest cocktail
the roused peasant burned
deliver us from this inclination
and our determined ignorance

Michael Collins


Hay Machine

Once in a hundred years or so it seems
a genius comes along
and plaits the lifelines of a nation
very often short-lived lives
full of ordinary moments and reserve
and in their times
more often than they do
they do not get the hearing they deserve

Lately we are learning more to know you
your stature did rise up and is the monument
that marks the land you loved (and may yet know you)
portrayed forever looking sideways and thinking ahead
reconciled your hallmark was your decency
spring-fed God-given soldier
surrounded by your own it's said
and each one vested in the end

Once in a thousand years or so it seems
your genius came along
identified the vein and kicked it hard
your short-lived life
full of ordinary moments and reserve
although in your time finally outflanked
fitting that your plinth is shared alone with Arthur Griffith
the worthy one who did not undermine you

The Truth the Hole in the Truth


Hay Machine

(so help me Bob)

I want to know said the learned chair
what happened that night in the bank
this room is drained by law's decree
of every drain of empathy

I must make a jigsaw from fragments of speech
look at your faces for traces of bleach
what matters is not what has happened to you
but all that went on when the moonlight was true

What were you doing in dirt to your knees
when the moths were out dancing on mid-Summer breeze
your colleague the weak one his plump and your fright
when the constable turned-on his issue flashlight

I was drunk your good Lordship on privilege gin
I cannot remember unable to sin
I often wake up in unusual place
my wife and my fam'ly are used to disgrace

This evidence points if it evidence be
that you must have had hand in this grim mist'ery
so I sentence you now to a lifetime of doubt
your linnen besoiled with its shirt hanging out

Executive Stress


Hay Machine

Using the brain as a breakpad
to resist the course of others
continuing an independent path
instead of that
laid out by mothers

The seeming endless flow
of other people's themes
takes its wearing toll slowly
like the wear
and tear you get on denim jeans

The spongy breakpad wears
right through to the rivet
past a final weafer layer
taken now
that which once it giveth

Learn to lance with broken shield
and armour holed from waring
teach your horse to dance and dive
wine for pouring

Wicklow Woods Music Amphitheatre


Hay Machine

Out in the open
the Londonderry Air
in Wicklow's heartland
where a soft blanket of resonance
is finery for the soul
now Frederic Weatherly's sister
has sent the blind piper's music from Boston
to complete that perfect whole

Ancient time
preserved in Ireland's lyrical stream
its heroic line dissected
by St Patrick's capture
whose straighter routes
had banished all the coiling curves
and stemmed more widespread rapture

Children out in the open air
on Parnell's hillside
cascading down to Avon's waters
where Heaven's gift of harmony
is the antidote to all our other worldly woes
our higher passions soothed by the falls
and sheltered all around by steadfast forest walls

Sweet vale you held our children for a Summer's day
and of all the things this earth can do
your soft embrace is more than we had prayed for
together now we warmer sweeter be
where mother music is forever safe and home
though Parnell heard the Air before the author's words
we are full circle now in Avondale
with all his singing birds

William Petty - Decent Dublinman


Hay Machine

William Petty

The Baron Wycombe
The second Earl of Shelburne
The Marquis of Lansdowne
His Majesty's aide-de-camp
Member for Chipping Wycombe
The Secretary of State for the Southern Department
Home Secretary
The Prime Minister of England
was a Dublin man
born and bred

He granted independence to America
a founder of the East India Company
his people established Kenmare
a decent Dublin man
(if ever there was one)

Gogarty thought Russell had it right
there is a time to fall back General
from the worst extremes
of herded wolves

The Real Taoiseach


Hay Machine

Ireland is abusive
a haven for abusers
full to the gunnels
with malcontents
and sour-graped accusers

And why wouldn't he
son of a gun
Michael Collins considered Sean Haughey
his smoothest gun-runner

This sour culture of ours
whiskey-soaked and full of dours
and the small-minded
needed to be kick-started
Charlie had the grasp
ready on his own
for all the conflict
and the many-sided task

When Berisford commissioned Gandon
to do the Custom House
he asked him as a nixer
to be quiet like a mouse
(and throw in Abbeville)
reminder if we needed one
some things in Ireland never change
and most things never will

Like Lady Hazel Lavery
in her nineteen thirties confinement
as one of the few
crafted in the heroic tradition
patiently await your Bodkin

A Cat


Hay Machine

She climbed the gate
with constant eye
prowling upwards towards the sky
Heavenly reward entrapped
a seagull feather spinning flapped

The quill now useless like a broken pen
in disbelief the hunter freezes when
encouraged by a brazen gust
released and lifeless dust to dust
and she now helpless
sees it free unfurl
and fly untimely from its wrought-iron curl

The scornful disbelief that she reserves
for prey so swift it flies beyond her claw
the lifeless feather dangles higher
mocking fate and teasing almost jeering at her jaw
the heartfelt sinking feeling we endure
when disappointing news reveals its thaw
in Genesis the bird was born to fly
its pain projected inward by the eye

She turns her head
towards the gravel ground
sharpened by the climb in silent sight no sound
her nature quite fulfilled by the strategy alone
proud of her capacity
motionless upon this gilded throne

In Russia


Hay Machine

In Russia there is something vivid in the people's air
towers of understanding taller than despair
an archipelago of dreaming souls
patiently still paying history's and its culture's tolls

Life and Death


Hay Machine

Soon I'll have a thistle
growing from my navel
and through its roots
will feel forever
the lick of the wind



Hay Machine

That crack of antler bone its sound a distant whirr
a prelude to a trust and understanding
that I sincerely hope can now occur
for you were right and I was wrong
and if by my admission and expressed apology
your patience is secured for higher reason's sake
then I apologise with unreserv'd ease
to further seek your ear and catch your eye
and be assured at least for now
that one half great half humble rhymester can reply
in civil terms
and on a righteous case
make good offence I may have caused
and start herein to right that written wrong
my faith ambition and dare I even say my knowledge known
that we might even grow
to jointly write some day
in memory of Frederick Weatherly
a worthy Anglo-Irish song

Old Age


Hay Machine

His skin will not unfurl
because of his great age
He views the flesh of youth
with all his hate and rage

The Empty Poet


Hay Machine

Oh time we live in
so unkind thou art
tender moments torn
heart and soul apart

Oh slime we live in
our unburied dead
music is industrial
love a lump of lead

Oh crime we live in
stolen everything
principle a snigger
nothing interesting

Oh mime we live in
the nightmare dream
important the appearance
it matters what may seem

Oh time we live in
there is nothing left to say
last swing of pendulum
the devil's had his way

The Soldier's Song


Hay Machine

An army officer in Dublin in nineteen sixty two
earning extra mulah square-bashing school children
generally well-disposed and clean-trimmed in white
speaks candidly of the merits of hygiene and sanitation

When it rained an empty corrugated barn was opened-up
within on concrete floor the nine-year-olds were regimented
all in equilibrium until the commandant singled one child out
sentenced to run around the barn in punishment

The child whose soul had children too
ran with rattlingstick and would not stop
clambering beating a drum-rattling clankity clank clank
and would not stop despite the soldier's cries

A trooper dispatched to intercept the runaway
eventually brings the mortifying siege to a close
and the soldier says to think that butter would not melt
the child statuesque the officer's defeat and rout complete

Another Visit to 5 Cromwell Place


Hay Machine

(the Artist's Studio)

It still feels good the very thought of it
the journey and arrival all have heat in them
then the pillared portico appears
and Hazel's door and threshold
where so many down the years
simply did not want to stop themselves
and the moment before fulfilment
the earthly sound of swinging oak
the flagstoned hall
the ante room
the winding stair

If stone on stone can hold a spirit soul
as graveyard seems to keep the lifeless bone
the passions and the art in Cromwell Place
present themselves so that you never feel alone
light of heavens from the garden and the street
before the war the roof was one glass sheet
the studio the whole top floor
spirit-filled with sitters and the artist draped
palette grasped and canvas stretched
the rounded mantle
the plaster high
the winding stair

It feels good the very thought of it
the history and the art still warming
I do not care to leave this moving place
but there are other things to do
and other art to face
the bookend form
the sweetest street
the winding stair

Ireland - A Paradise Lost


Hay Machine

Thick attitude with lumps
like badly made porridge left standing
allergic to facts criticism and truth
unconcerned with the past
or buried by too much of it

Full to the brim with empty extravagance
thoughtful the fruits of reflection forgotten
inquisitive acquisitive secretive and dead-eyed
ploughmen spreading river-killing poison
waiting for the undertaker's cheque



Hay Machine

The single ant enlarged
so that with bulging eyes open dripping jaw and hairy skinless legs
it terrifies the homely town
each step taken
crushes cars crumbles pavements and breaks the cobbled street
it shakes the buildings mangles girders brings them down to rubble-dust
destruction like Hiroshima

Plucking little women with headscarves skyward
in their tiny stilletoes
belted coats and lipstick
up the empire state
for a last stand
embracing the antenna

The poet with his magnifying pen
reeks havoc with the situation when
with the speed of thought
he summons up a thousand diamond-studded horses
from the Kremlin basement
and consumes them all (bar one)
to fill a hole
in a passing moment

Jack Sands


Hay Machine

Silver whiskers decorate the chin
of the gas company furnace stoker
(who walks to work so early)
they are rarely ever seen
he returns at seven
a blackened giant
with his lopsided gait
shooting stammered
ack-ack greetings
to all-commers

Matty with the Anglia
blessed with all the brains
lives in far off Skerries
where he generally remains
bee-hive Bree with poodle fifi
keeps the house and makes the tea
for Peter Sands
he with the dwindling tool kit
living all his life quietly
by the graveyard wall

Go down to Peter Sands
and ask him for a coal chisel a spirit level
a clawhammer and a sharp bandsaw
up the plastic strip politely
laid along the hall carpet neatly
there to catch Jack's soot

Jack Sands shovel hands gentle giant
landmark in the navvy-jacket
the gasometer you filled is gone
and so are you

Christmas Drinks


Hay Machine

Christmas drinks how wonderful of course we'd love to come
gin and tonic absolutely this year we're at home
stop cut that out it's very nice they thought of us again
especially since you never ever ever speak to them

Gin and tonic number eight the fat one looks fantastic
Christmas comes but once a year and if I had a lighthouse
I'd whistle and sing should those acquaintance be forgot
thanks cheers yeah sure (fart) let the dog see the rabbit

There you are it's all a game (my coat's upstairs the same again)
excesses this year might remind them
don't invite them drink will blind them
ashes tapped and carpet stain
dropped canapes and insult rain
next year precious pray remind me
If they are coming don't invite me



Hay Machine

Terms of his reference jargony bleat
dull insecure and obedient neat
questions whose answers already are known
recommend helima-coptery zone

Introductory splumyupp roundovaly do
historicly nobody ev-ery clue
neverthelessity apathy emmmmmmmm
gravity lavity sanity themmmm

Backgroundery nineteenandseventy one
a hundred percentery downwardly dumb
notwhat the government lackie did do
what he did not diddle might diddle you

Matrix the table in chaptery two
highlights the trouble at Dublin zoo
open the cages and turn on the tap
more of this dreary unreadable crap

Executive summary which way to turn
whatever consultant advises we burn
exploratry trip to palmbeachery clime
swim with the swimmers in tropical slime

Scrap the report and commission another
give the assignment this time to his brother
tell him we're looking for something like this
mine is a Jameson I'm on the piss

Finally something is now implementable
later but better than never regretable
axing the program in its whole entirity
consultant confirms the wise Minister's piety

Sons of their fathers who used to stack hay
wasting their lives for a diem per day
misfits adrift on a barge full of time
reopning the chestnutty Harcourt Street line



Hay Machine

The Summer bedroom curtain
billowing occasionally
good for health and outlook
late on Saturday morning
the cool breeze on the ears
drawing up a current
of duvet feather warmth

Open landing window vent
spills the night nitrogen breath and sweat-air out
in a minute all the open space is cleared
but she's thorough
and she thinks as well
about imbedded stinks that smell
and it takes half the day
to blow the carpet and the mattress must away
until the next night

Blackrock Baths


Hay Machine

Once upon an ordinary day
in August nineteen sixty four
a stream of excitement
got off the green bus from College Green
at Blackrock Baths
and snaked its way with ragged towel and faded togs
over the footbridge by the railway line
where the bronzed and timeworn handrail
tasted cold and bittersour

Fresh whitwashed walls in the east sea breeze
chilled the tropical promise
and the sure clunk of the turnstile
presented a light and air-filled otherworld
The grand proportions of the pools
the high board towering like Eiffel's in the corner
and the wet concrete
was soft and footwarm under the grandstand

Swimming from the steps in tight and urgent arcs
swallowing the brine and slowly drowning
in the open afternoon sea-grave
drowned altogether but for Neptune's hand and sympathy

Goose-chilled in the evening main street shadow
The upstairs bus seats homely warm
and the keepers of great carousels of high chatter
for each swimming soul a different day at Blackrock Baths
and every ordinary day by Leyland's faithful workhorse engine sound
familiar like the projector hummm....eeeummm
showing a different reel of film
back in Phibsborough and Cabra and beyond

Killiney Beach


Hay Machine

Deep emerald stone set liquid in the early Summer sunlight

kissing the gravel shore with foaming mouth and boisterous delight

Killiney beach presents the bay and curving shore

a prayer from here to Bray and key to heaven's door

The Hill above the cliffs has seen the times reveal

what lower instincts treat as nature's litter there to steal

beg yourself to take the time and feed upon its gifts

before your sands descend and your situation shifts

All Politics Local


Hay Machine

No matter what way the wind is
the outside world blows in from the east
only as far as Charlestown
and on the raised bogs
between there and Kiltamagh
the care and skill of one man
is written in steel and concrete
and in letters a mile long

So soft spoken but not like Donegal
with the tension of an uncoiled spring
and everywhere
whispered words of breaking news
has his back to the sea
has the unfortunate Seamus Hughes

Cooper-Flynn might win
but the boys are out at night
with black markers bought in Manchester
knocking out her two front teeth
on those expensive plastic posters
her fah-ther bought her
and Himself
walking even taller

PJ has his work cut out
and Michael Ring should be all right
but you see
Moffett has a circle to drive around at night
whereas poor Seamus Hughes has his back to the sea
do you see?

And I'll tell you
it's not looking good for Higgins
because Kenny is well-liked and his fah-ther of course
(held in such esteem)
as Enda shadow-boxes old friends in the street
and slaps backs at Knock Airport
not a teacher now a Statesman
careful fellow
takes a pint
and believes that language is the essential difference
he'll be all right
and that's that



Hay Machine

(All sing)

Tan tomb err go-oh
Sa cra meh hen tomb

Lord hear us

Hold up the sacred golden thing we dare not see
and measured-ring the altar's jingling bells
shake the burning incense urn
until the coughing congregation smells
smothered genuflecting deep in clouds of holiness

The naves and marbled atrium
under highest copper dome
behind the wooden pulpit stairs
and sideways-facing wooden throne
the alter rails and red-oil light the velvet cushioned chairs
where bishops in their mitres sit
without their congregation's cares

Confession boxes
curtain-trimmed and framed in chiselled ash
and dry as dry can be within
compared with varnished outer sash
when sinners trapped within this holy web
whisper juicy secrets from their loins
they moisturise the cleric's hairy ear
web-entrapped the strategy the lowly spider spins
first impaled upon their (God-offending)
devil's mortal sins

In the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost
sing a song of sixpence
a pocket full of rye
Mrs Hendron's headscarf
and John McGee's glass eye

Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us

On the Rocks


Hay Machine

Big cold brazilnuts
earth teeth
with salty foaming mouth
now tide-swollen then sucking back
to a heaving breathing seaurchinery
and all that endless shore-drama

Crustaceans of barnacle muscle and cockle
trimmed with algae and seaweed-slime
leaden weight on broken fishing line
knotted round a pale-green shovel handle
rockpool starfish waiting for a rising tide
and all that endless shrimp-drama

Big cold Brazilnuts
craggy jags of margin
separating fish from foul
a line drawn in the sand
devoid of curve or contour
and strangely reassuring

East Point


Hay Machine

(in memory of Dermot Pierce)

Making such a something
out of such a dump of nothing
is the hardest thing of all
and it gives us all hope

The artist mixed his colours
and stretched the canvas surely
his reclining naked model
more a reminder of the task
than a source of inspiration

That landfill
from the Clontarf Road for years
where some genius planted crooked christmas trees
rooted in broken cavity blocks
buried along the embankment

Dermot Pierce released its (methane) spirit
with imagination intellect and will
and his rubblemound
yielded hope and dreams realised
Cherub and Seraph
palette and paint
carrying the torches

with straight lines curves water and aluminium visors
suspended ceilings raised floors
and carpet allowances
priced for all the whinging fortune-five-hundred misers
silvery-grey and black when it rains
detailed down to the monogrammed drains
shoreline walks and rooftop tennis
Bolivian stalks lasagne bandwidth attitude and Guinness

Water into wine
aspirations into covenants
the Russians have a saying
that you shouldn't eat the blossom
(wait until the fruit is fuller)
breathe its scent of course
and feast yourself upon its colour

Theory of Relativity


Hay Machine

It stood to reason all this time
other worlds with life and circumstances
swinging in eternal rhyme
and we whom Christopher Columbus served so well
were all reluctant to have this story tell
that longer lives and greater thoughts
were endlessly awash along the endless way
without intent all mocking our stupidity

In childhood version of a Heaven place
of state of everlasting time and concept of eternal grace
soul development and exploration then ever more refined
than all the slavish drudgery of rat repeated lines
what might or should be waiting at the gate
a strategy to fill the larder fuller without taste
this loss of childish oneness with the universe
explains the later craving for attention and life's love
it puts before us explanation of capacity
a metaphor the vastness of the heaven space above

Relativity is at present stood upon its head
the lines we speak the music and the buried dead
compared with endless everything they are
as close as you can get to nothing without getting there
and in the meantime all this worldly burden alters
it turns to heaven here on earth where every mortal falters
burden for the ageing parents their inner thoughts themselves
added grief their babies left these new depressing certainties

Everything is Forever


Hay Machine

(for Danny, Jack and Rachel)

It is dawning the likely certainty
of other worlds like ours and not
the infinity of this earthly universe
displacing the divinity of the next

The soul whose child is love
has depths and lonesome deeps
mismatched coil with mountain's span of life
easy only when it sleeps

At the bottom of heart my children play
sweet tunes more hopeful than the break of every day
their shrieks and sighs all passion in one place
my heart aching-full when I can see the beauty of the face

Irish Open


Hay Machine

Proper landscape long before with hedge and chestnut bank
now shaven-shaped and prim-trimmed like a poodle
men in yellow v-neck tops and wives with tartan trousers
wrecking natural lie of land the smug and shallow lousers

That there's pleasure in a well-struck ball no question
but clubhouse blazer'd fairway bore spreads deadly indigestion
and will they hide their painful empty lives these men ?
not enough the Druids turning over in their ancient Glen

Second-hand lino dealers and assistant bank managers
with golf glove fingers dangling (from arse pocket) nonchalantly
Andy Williams fantasy played out in v-neck detail
fourball lads buy wholesale whilst non-members must pay retail

Far better if the land was let grow wild
than tame and iron it with this grim suburban tide
back-tee and greenside bunker with long-handled rake
in landscape terms an insult and a middle-class mistake
beware the eighth with left-hand dogleg one and all
from out-of-bounds those urchin kids with sense of right
will steal your well-placed ball

The Liberty Thing


Hay Machine

The British Empire was achievement in all history unrivalled
the sun that never set upon Victoria's estate almost modest when compared beside it
the greatest real estate divestment ever known however
moreover repossessed and taken under fear
of native spear forever
I think we've learned from history's course
that people can't be overcome for long by force

Microsoft Sandyford Dublin


Hay Machine

I saw two technoclerks behind a pane of glass
an unimpressive sight on just appearances alas
two it took to route a hundred million signals through
from Moscow to Paris France to Dublin and Peru

Each brain once was independent
underused and overloaded
now they're linked in sequence and on-line
their thoughts decoded
intellects once insular connected are superior
life with greater brain by far all problems seem inferior

No reason now why every prison
orphanage and mental home
is not linked up with monitor
a camera lens computer and a telephone
give the UN something useful for a change to do
ensure there's never built another Gulag Archipelago

That's my work for all this week complete
afterwards with e-mail speed I'll dream
another superhuman fete
the sending of a willion thoughts like these
can echo round the world at once like pollen carried easy
on a pleasant Summer breeze



Hay Machine

A foundation stone placed with great care in Ireland
after eight hundred years of due diligence
where the earliest record on the first file reads
that a Norseman (by the name of Dulek)
was first out of the longboat
wading waist-deep onto Rosslaire Strand
and that he took the plunge not without some apprehension
it was either that or colour the water from a back-wound

I reviewed the file and placed
some shreds of torn paper between the pages
to mark significant events
Cromwell and Michael Collins earned a marker
and I stopped and fell in love with Hazel Lavery
unravelling the whole intrigue as she did
the most beautiful and important woman
in all Anglo-Irish history
the greatest schemer and bravest soul
the point of whose weapon was her luscious eye
her power cradled in that slinky gait

I marked the page
where Paul Geogh first saw the opportunity
to build a solid expertise and sustaining business
representing and participating in valuable transactions
across the Irish Sea
and when he waded up the beaches
he had Dulek's sense of discovery (his disbelief suspended)
and his history up-ended

Flying back from Knock Airport in that Tupperware plane
(the greatest act of faith of all)
the boy from Birmingham was out from behind his desk
like he was with his two brothers back in 1973
Imagination leaping over all of history's waste
our past remembered briefly over fried potato taste
The Russians have a saying
that you shouldn't eat the blossom
wait until the fruit is fuller
breathe the scent of course
and feast yourself upon its colour

Hero Heroin


Hay Machine

Walking out from Mountown flats
To bring a child to School on Tivoli
Prescription deep in the stinking jacket pocket
A far cry from everywhere

We stole his rightful passage
When the blueprint of his life was left unread
And then with used syringe we did inject
A spotless vein with poisonous neglect

With black desire and empty brain
Controlled and wailing ailing crazed insane
He moves along a hunter sore and lost
The white and silver trainers more than all he ever cost

Stealing trinkets from our past
He kills his pain and takes the pleasure fast
Sick and wretched symptom of our time
Revealed, the tortured victim of our crime



Hay Machine

He was planning to cut hay
out by Ballycroy
But the postman calls at noon
or thereabouts to-day
And he will not speak with strangers
out by Ballycroy
Because he's no informer
And what would neighbours say

He is dead-set in his ways
out by Ballycroy
And his strategies are weak
when they're compared with all his culture
He is full of it to-day
out by Ballycroy
The way the seaweed drapes dry
On the grey rocks of Clew Bay

Call of Poetry


Hay Machine

I aweways hated poetry
Made learn it by the yard
Be'ist thou some dreary thing
By love-lost ancient tortured bard

I never read with blood-rush stream
The meaning of these lines
Tender yonder Grecian being
Dark introspective troubled rhymes

You turned to chapter thirty four
Your tweed skirt speckled and curvaceous
Rush of feeling heartswelled fling
Dark-haired hardwood and salacious

Later Jack O'Connell climbed
The ivy on an old high churchyard wall
His dry foaming mouth and kinder eye
Expressive, pleading one to heed the poet's call

A young boy stolen from his place in time
Can be forever choked for all his age
And I can feel my own pain now
Our Jack is on the childhood edge of change

Shannon Airport


Hay Machine

A dinosaur lies stretched (a cross)
upon a landscape used to loss
The infants yet whose feet are soft
will walk the metres sure
to their Golgotha

Daft older men
Whose lies are worn and dry
I'm sorry for their failure and their plight
But darkness never chooses those who try
The world is better for their soonest flight

The legend is that Fionn was woman-made
the fighting pup is still its mother's trade
He learned himself a boy cannot repel
a fly with just the action of his spell
If Fionn walked over Shannon Airport then
He wouldn't walk while they are there again

What Next


Hay Machine

Genetically modified Mary Quinn
without her essentials unable to sin
she looks like her mother
with eyes made from grapes
her hair is the heather
round dinosaur lakes

Conceived on a laptop when William Whitecoats
digitally inseminated thirteen old goats
gestation complete in a cage in the dark
at two in the morning a goat was heard bark
bless me this instant proud father refrained
a daughter with horns and a whiskers I'm made

Unusual Mary unusually hairy
was free from all known viral dire
expected to live to a thousand and eight
she was tied to a post
that was chained to a gate

Nine years have gone by since I ate any fruit
that an insect right-minded would lick
tomatoes are red with no flavour to taste
the texture is terrapin-shell in dried paste
God bless us and save us and pardon our sin
for undoing nature and poor Mary Quinn

Young Once


Hay Machine

Young sweet duffled innocents
absorbing lives
dancing targets
cut by sharpened knives

Young soft cared-for progeny
no past no hindsight
philosophical about their outlook
resigned about their plight

Swarming capacities
trading innocence for disappointment
finding love for themselves
in the burnt-out ruins of their forefathers

Secret of Success


Hay Machine

All things
are hardly ever black and white
when starts the day
or ends the twilit night
all things on the one hand this or such
otherwise they might be more
or even more or less than much
with mother nature's school and moral value choose
whatever course your heart decides
with such approach
unlikely you will lose

Belly Dancer


Hay Machine

Who wouldn't want
a belly dancer for Christmas
loosely swaddled in chiffon and silk
nothing less to soothe that overarching want
a pot-bellied genie
a real one
with eyes like a Jersey cow
mountainous breasts
limbs like a Eucalyptus tree
bottom of watermelons
and her every movement
a symphony of the flesh
out under Jordan's desert all-night sky
brazen mistress of the lute-music
strumming and drumming
and worth her weight in dreams

The Lands of Tib and Tom


Hay Machine

The reign of mad King George III
remembered for defeat
saw Dublin rise on Gandon's tide
down many a Georgian street

When you walk from the end of Ely Place
where Stoker and Gogarty played
see what we lost where the General slept
when the townies began to parade

Yellow-beaked thrush with your constant eye
on the Lands of Tib and of Tom
you are still the same today as then
it's we that have gone wrong

The Phoenix Park


Hay Machine

(for Paddy and Cissie)

Great estate of the Knights Templars
heart-shaped heart of Dublin
opening up rising from Guinness' brewery
into a promising land
the cultivated spiral of the railed People's Gardens
willow-filled lake walks made for handholding
and for softening Sundays

Across the Wellington memorial
soaring angular granite tower
celebrating Dublin's own disowned
and Victoria's Zoo illogical gardens
fucking tigers and lions and monkeys in Dublin
and all its native exotica crying out for nuts and attention

The depot Lord save us
Dublin's own metropolitan finest
and the back entrance to McKee's last bastion
the plans for an Indian outpost sent to Dublin by a mistake
India's loss is Ireland's opportunity
burn everything English except their money

Oh fill me with a sense of great occasion
that bastard Tim Healy's Vice Regal Lodge
when Dev boasted that he knew the priests
Parnell's persecutor asked him swiftly if he knew the bishops
made for Hazel Lavery when she was acting-Vicerene
and the smell of the hops sweetening the air as far west as the twin oaks

Henry with the insatiable wifely appetite
took the lands suppressing the Hospitallers he though they were monks
the grass was let grow until Chesterfield came as Viceroy to George II
and he opened the park around the Eagle Monument
unable to fathom the Irish Fionn-uisce
unable to fathom the Irish more likely

The cricket grounds and dog-pond opening out under the trees to the fifteen acres
great expanse of African proportions
where milkmen and van drivers with African manners
still play old-fashioned football on Sunday mornings (far post)
the straight road dissecting the prairies over to the Chapelizod wall
and the polo grounds where old decency still can have an outing

The Furry Glen immortalised and ballad-sung as place of great amorous conquest
more sung-of than sinned-in the truth be known
and the Magazine Fort filled to the gunnels with ammo
Jazus if only the lads could have scaled its five-foot parapets
but wishful thinking knows no bounds
whereas the ordinance survey does important and vital work

The wooden schoolhouse over by the hole in the wall built in Dickens' time
His Holiness' own envoy would still be installed were it not for the dry rot
and the special relationship between two great nations America and Erin's pride
enshrined behind that white arch and grand drive
the gas lights the deer herd the great gates at Ashdown Castleknock Porterstown
Chapelizod Islandbridge Parkgate Street and Blackhorse Avenue

Out my mother's window
when she lay with sisters free
the future hid behind the trees
no thought of you nor me
my father cycling through the park
was bound to come to hear
awaiting him a lady lay
the rest is history

There was a time
when children roamed
and loved this grassy place
climbed the trees
and chewed the stems
to eat it by degrees
there was a time
this place was every single hopeful thing
a haven place
of water clear
a God-inspiring spring

Coronation Street


Hay Machine

(dah da da da-da dah)

Ken Barlow more reassuring than loved ones
at least he will be there at seven thirty without fail
all served up in two-minute mouthfuls
Kevin's tedium and Martin's questionable love for Gail

The Rovers a common place to read a common face
Betty's bloody hotpot and the poorest ale
everything in side-door green
two cheese butties and a mug of tea please Gail

Mike the fool to let his Alma down
compensated for the present that unending tale
Curley Watts watching life on other planets
here we go again more grief for slowly ageing Gail

Rita and Vera Duckworth the two grannies no one has these days
like human canal barges driven on by sail
quietly moving-on laden with experience
rasher sausage egg and beans please Gail

But what about the life and times of Leslie Battersby
the Homer Simpson in us all that dares itself to rail
not flaymin likely this unlikely hero of our time
go on Martin give that nurse the shove and reconcile yourself with Gail



Hay Machine

I am a compost made from scraps
litter with lineage back to the lizards
a most effective determination to live
and now I have my own young lizards
I have my own ambition for them

As snakes uncoil and leave their skins
we quadrapeds experience a metamorphosis
are we the same the child the adult in decline
emotions of the age drive unseen stakes into the heart
alone alone alone and ever-searching for a part

Is this undying will to live the self
today I think it is but are my thoughts my own
the lizard-will more substance than a fashion's view
the vanity of self respect a foolish inclination
better modesty of manner and of thought appropriation

So here I am a dead lizard's envoy
it could be worse
I might have never known it
praise the artists for the thoughtful discipline
praise the lizards for the handmade suit I look so simple in

Fried Eggs


Hay Machine

hen-laid eggs
softly down
on feather-foul'd floor
hot stink of birdheat
the sawdust litter
in the dark and damp
straw-sodden hut
chicken and hen-run dung
warm pearly solitary lamp

Hand in
slid under half-hinged door
scatter-roused flutter-flap
natural start of day
butter the pan
and set the breakfast tray
thumbnails egg-wet
sidecracking the warm wonders
ease them empty
into their own sizzling thunders

sweet nausea
not natural
slippery yoke begets
pungent sick tummy-pulp

John Singer Sargent's Repose


Hay Machine

(In Praise of Doing Absolutely Nothing)

How splendid she appears anchored as it were to peace
far from her oceans and unloading dock
drenched in satin truffles silk petals and wondrous flounces something given from the canvas from her resting heart

All the time of youth and adolescence fallen
like last years leaves their time now come and gone
she quietly resigns retires to afternoon reflection
to spend a twilight time as just her heart desires

The minuet of youth played out in nature's way
symphony of feeling memories appetites and dreams
played out in patterns independent of a mortal hand's control
that it could last forever everlasting life for more than just the soul

Luxuriating in this succulent repose
shipwrecked to the world of duty everybody knows
restful even to the mind'e-eye canvas dreamed
working hard at being beautiful as Yeats once thought it seemed

The Gulag Archipelago (1918-2000)


Hay Machine

What else is the head of Papa good for?

(Zoya Leshcheva admits to defecating in a severed monumental head of Stalin)

Though I forget
the Russian names and all the details
one picture vividly remains
innocent women (as though that mattered)
still in Summer silk and cotton dresses of arrest
pulled frozen trees down inside the Arctic circle
to make tools and wheel-barrows
with which they then dug
the useless White Sea and Baltic Canal

A quarter of a million souls were mortified
their flesh grated like soft cheddar cheese
relentlessly their cheeks were pressed on jagged tin
and after removal of the summer dress that they were murdered in
thrown onto sledges frozen
their last sound a dull clonk

Fish bones and black chaff
to feed the torment not the prisoner
all this forgotten
were it not for Solzhenitsyn Alexander

Sixty Million people murdered
in our time on our watch
countless more survived
countless millions more besides
in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's testament
sixty million souls in this evil torment died

Evil does exist and knows itself
it took a huge administration
to undress and grate this cheese
the brutal truth we see and read and know its foul remains
still pounding and slitting perishing souls in Grozny
the evil in us all can passively this endless killing more beget

All we have to do is to forget

Great Grandfather's Pig


Hay Machine

The Macdermots of Ballycloran (1843-1847)

Anthony Trollope wrote in heart-beating detail
the story of heroic Ireland's last stand
west of the Shannon
up around Drumsna and Mohill
where the natives sank so low in depravation
the pigs were more thought-of than the peasants were
anchored to life itself by the pig
vessel of all hope

The rint could not be paid
but the pig was collateral
if the crathure died you could seize the pig
if the pig died that was that

Low landlord talk then with agent
loyal for now
were you up at the fair yesterday
I was for all the good
was himself there
he was
did he sell
he didn't then

My Great Grandfather had a pig
in Castleknock
and in the 1950's
the pigman still called once a week for slops
I don't know how my forefathers and foremothers
survived the famine
I only heard about the pig in the family
and about County Leitrim
as though it was yesterday
and it's far from pigs you and I were raised
or was it

Manor Street


Hay Machine

I preferred to descend from Prussia Street
slipping down
past Gavin Lowe livestock agents
where dealers
with green tweed suits and oxblood shoes
overdressed in cromby coats
and turf-brown hats
did the rounds on Wednesdays
lodging the night before
at the City Arms Hotel
their marketplace
the wide silver acres of Cattle pens behind
cattle drivers
slipping down
down to the triangle
to Kavanaghs
russ in urbe

Murrays groceries two-store stand
van-delivering foodstuffs
to a promising land
across Stanhope Street's dark pearly Gates
where plain Pearl Kerrigan on Tuesday waits
her father cycling from Grangegorman down
down to Desmonds
(sensible shoes for a sensible girl)
galoshes for Gabriel
sandles for Pearl

Down to the river
Paul and Vincent for seed
conservative men of the protestant creed
Judd Brothers skin merchants vendors of hide
what on earth is fraternity doing inside
don't even breathe
until sweet Smithfield air
nearby Brunswick Street Hardwicke
and the Richmond for care

Down-past debtor's prison
where lawyers conspire
after-dark in Benburb street
for red-light desire
awnings in canvas
cobbles and dung
song of the fifties
for Manor Street sung

Danny Boy


Hay Machine

(Piano and Violin)

Heavenly rehearsal dressed for life
love given and received without condition
heartstrings gathered drawn and clutched
the unseen soul of our humanity identified and touched

I would take and love my children's suffering
would love its taking and would not feel its pain
but Earthly powers steal this giving hope for which I long
only in its place I have the soaring consolation of this song

When Frederick Weatherly composed his anthem for our tears
there was a melody already written for a thousand years
the Limmavady Air a piper blind was long ago heard play
embraced and kissed his words so wondrous still to this performing day

The sad lonesome song whose end is known
cloaks our fragile hopes at first with dignity and care
it takes us to the place where you are lying
so we can kneel alone at any time and say an Ave there

I cannot hear alone its haunt
nor ease myself when violin draws through
the sound of Angels keening so
of my unspeakable and endless love for you

The prayer my heart can never tire to more recite
no verses written of themselves redeem our ever-yearning plight
but listen
you can hear
though soft I thread above
and listen not to me
for now my tears are shed
listen to life's perfect harmony of faith and hope
though soft I thread
listen not to me above
but listen
to the anthem of my love

Sweet Vilnius


Hay Machine

(for Algimantis Slevinskas)

Ancient and retiring place
spires domes and winding lanes
the old townís early Summer feel and rustle in the trees
I lived a while beside Napoleonís passing home
and in the Griebusí courtyard with its walls so high
the day or day thereafter that Rory Gallagher died
they played my Londonderry Air for the very first time
and it hung and was suspended there
sweet and magic and mournful
in the patient promising provincial Vilnius air

The Dentist


Hay Machine

For those who have mixed feelings about engaging with their dentists
whose comfort zone can think of better things to do
does not encourage one to lay oneself so bare
paws-up jaws-down exposed and hideous like an ageing clown

To-day and for the next four weeks we are going to do root-plaining
sixty times with dripping needle spike and spinning ferrel wheel
remove the toxic grouting gank from in between your teeth
dig-down slice-up underneath the gums again now use the rinsing cup

Bleeding-gums-Murphy had so much pain in his life that he passed on dentists
he who was blessed with the Angelís way of playing saxamaphone
needed to submit just one more time a lesson for his dying and his feeling all alone
the entrance to this life a painful joy itself a painful path (at times) its end a wrenching

What is this fear of dentist spike his needle filled with numbing-juice and pliared hand
no pain nor mild discomfort reigns but that the cowardís mindís-eye phantom dreams
instead a feeling of renewal springs of cleansing past excesses and of brightening things
(an even slightly pleasing and achieving sense of righting one experiences confessing sins)

Now look at me so confident so clean and pollyfilled from kissing lip to chewing gum
to think that just a month ago I gagged from poisoned blood and oral puss that I was poisoned on
and now as old and asfulfilled as one would want to be
pleased that I have overcome my fear of dentistry

Sailing from Byzanthium


Hay Machine

This is no world for any soul
the young in attitude distracted and hardened
in heart softly resigned
dying generations powerless to defuse
imploding fruits of their own making
now jargon eats the wildness of the day
art and music sold to only those who pay

Not that any earlier age perfected
a glorifying reign or even one reflected
now in terms of human chemistry improved
elevated risen from the earthen floor
insulated from the insectís lore
issues strained and measured economically
emptied of all hope and faith and charity

So much is seen and known
so little understood or ever shown
for innocence read ignorance
water trickle falls and stream
money trinkets plastic things that seem
to keep a drowsy populace awake and unconcerned save some
with what is past or passing or to come

Heavenly Hazel


Hay Machine

(tribute to The Artistís Studio by John Lavery)

On my second day in Heaven I will rise early
dress in a silksoft jacket of ink silver blue
clutch fresh-cut roses and call to visit Hazel Lavery
I will hope in the portico to be greeted by her Moorish maid
opening the rose red door the artistís number five
imprisoned as she thought she was when Hazel was alive

Rodney Stone the hound slides up and looks from down the hall
Eileen slowly from the anteroom appears like pale cream laburnum
she comes to say her quiet words hands resting in each otherís cradle
Hazel will be down presently
but first more sweet anticipation
Heaven is a dream filled of sweetest waiting

The winding stair that narrows at the top to higher Heavenís door
for now a rich lovely interval with Lady Semple in the drawing room
the rounded mantle the ornate scale the light window
we have known eachother for so many earthly years
piano-leaning patience in a slender cheesecloth gathered with satin at the waist
the sheer excitement of that hem-raised heel
the cupped hands gentle as water
looking over pondering the centre-stage at Hazel and her daughter

Her footstep from the flagstoned hall starts the beating thrill of life
oh God this Heaven is everything you promised
she enters and receives in one fluid living swing
and just as we have known each other and each otherís worldly cares
natural we would want to be together now
and all the news since we last sat
you sideways on piano stool Alice in the upright chair
it seems but years no time at all that we were thus together there

Hazel I have missed you
more my heart has missed your being
all the fruit of Heaven now that I am with you seeing
small the frame your eating eye
the life you were the love you are
and the time gone by

Dearest Poland


Hay Machine

(Etude, Op.10 No.3 in E major)

Frederic Chopin
sallow light across his writing table
a lace blind drawn half down
a single sheet
his pen

Dearest Poland
I can not be with you tonight
you are centre of my worlds
all my heart is filled with care for you
all my cares are filled with thoughts of you
sweet land of home
forgive my fears
but I am frightened and it is not for me
for you my love
heroic and defiant
friendless place of noble man and fairest womanhood
my soul is pledged
to hold your blessed name
your fighting cursíd history the fight will come again
and I can only hold your candle flame
shelter you from evil in the wind from east and west
hold you precious virtuous and safely to my breast

Oh Dearest Poland
I will come with horses winged with my musicís wind
I will come and steal you here with all my virtuosity
run away with me and I will shelter you
say you will say you will
say you hear me say your heart is lightened
with my care for you say it to me say it sweetly

Dearest Poland
you can not be with me tonight
tell me that you understand
and ease my tiring life
I love you so
tell me that youíll never leave me
tell me that you clearly hear me
tell me that you need to hear me
I need your love
say your love is true
all I need from you
is that you know
I love you so
I love you so

Edward Lord Carson of Duncairn


Hay Machine

(Another decent Dublinman if ever there was one)

It never occurred to me before today
to study Ulster Unionism
but Edward Carson spoke to me
and I heard him speak clearly
about Craig and Charley Londonderry
and Edith also came to life
thatís Londonderryís lovely wife

I heard and saw them all
they came to life
through the archives
of the Public Record Office
of Northern Ireland

I also learned something today
Edward Carson in that January of 1922
anticipated with some relish
he diaried it
the so-called Irish civil war
I learned another thing today
he disliked Lady Hazel Lavery

If I am interested in Anglo-Irish history
as I believe I am
there is nothing else for me to do
but study Ulster Unionism
and see the whole thing through

If history is important
it is important not to lie
or lazily leave the page unturned
allowing truth to die

Heavens Above


Hay Machine

The smallest bit could many a lifetime take
to have its story told its relevance writ
a grain of sand might have five billion years to live
where you and I are here to be tormented by our brevity
compared with all the endless throw of stars and worlds
it is a strain to treat our plight with more than levity

For all the time we have on hand to study anything
the art in one great work could take a lifetimeís toil
to squeeze the artistís juice from out his frame
to relish all his effort and his talent there
what time have we besides to study anything
this thought of shortness in our lives begets despair

Imagination and the heartís determined eye
can leap about a take a shortcut journey to remote an end
Hazelís Irish portrait trove now locked in the cellar dark forgotten
once on a sun-filled day she asked her own beloved John
to paint and then to give away to Ireland
all of William Butlerís friends and more besides
if she can in a second think like this
I can believe in Heaven and its promise of eternal bliss



Hay Machine

(It is the work of gods that keeps the ageing fleet aflight)

In 1986 and thereabouts
ruggeds from beyond the Caspian and the Aral seas
carried this and that in twine-tied boxes on their airborne knees
they sold their rotting clumps
in Moscowís lanes and yards around the Arabat
returning home at evening time with ten or twenty rubles in a sock
home to weave another rug or buy another hen or two
the fare to fly three thousand miles to earn a bag of flour or not
one hundred kopecks and a chicken for the man from Aeroflot

In Praise of Brown Rice


Hay Machine

(for the hippies)

Look! Shimok Shjimook the vegetarian
wrapped bearded in his knitted shroud
he left a will and witnessed codicil
his ashes to be sprinkled by his friends
outside the Red Rangoon his hand-painted shop
where he sold cashew nuts and grains

Shimok Shjimook his adult life a protest
at the plastic things he hated and republicans
there was no end to all of which he disapproved
and he slayed them one by one with his balsawood sword
resting on sacks of oatmeal after ruthless dreaming of the enemy
Shimok Shjimook the Eskimo from Raheny

His counterpart in Rangoon takes a slightly different tack
he dresses up in Levis jeans and has a gun
all of his existence trying to escape the dreaded grain
he dreams of burgers and of German beer and cars
a pimp and moneylender of renown
Sirhan Biholi is his name

Development Poetry


Hay Machine

(for [you])

I heard it read-out on a radio show
just five percent of the people only
probably only the friendless and lonely
buy and read poetry five per cent only

Visionary of the people could see
a gap in the market for subquality
based on a premise established not latterly
it is access to anywhere well-tailored flattery

[You]! yes [you] who are reading these lines
as noble as noble and many more times
courageous as Joan who was burned at the stake
wise as King Solomon [you] make no mistake

[Insert your name [here]] and frame this refrain
if [you] pay up ten dollars Iíll write more again
empress of passion tsar of desire
golf with my publisher when we retire

This poetic message is intended for the person to whom it is addressed [you]
it is a confidential poetic message direct from the poetís heart to [your] heart
if [you] are not the person to whom this confidential development poem is addressed
please familiarise [yourself] with the developing art-form by clicking on the link below and sending ten dollars
to [your] favourite charity to show [you] care about the world and all its cares