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Foolish Things

Sunday, 6 March 2005 at 16:47

No Text I am currently working on poems to go alongside photographs taken by my friend, Shamil Khairov. Shamil is at present a lecturer in Russian at Trinity College, Dublin. We met when I first arrived in Slovakia in 1989. Shamil was lector in the department of Russian at the Philosophical faculty of Safarik University in Presov. We hope to have between thirty and thirty-five images when we have finished.


Two brandy glasses by a still warm bed,
Your light brown eyes watched my sleeping head.
The almost silence was almost true.

Bird song filled the trees round where we stood.
Now grass grows thickly in the birdless wood.
The almost silence is almost true.

You arrived out of the rain.
You hung your damp skirt on a chair.
We talked an hour.
You said you had to go
And where you went that night
Or any other night
I will never know.

Sometimes grief is graceful as a dancer.
Sometimes its just heart disease and cancer
And voices hushed for me and you
To utter silence which is always true.


Sunday, 6 March 2005 at 16:45

No Text

What we thought we knew is pegged out on a line.
There is no wind so the linen hangs
Unruffled yet so light.
It must be almost dry otherwise it would sag.

We go to bed between what we thought we knew
And, when there is no worry, dream
Unruffled yet so deeply.
We must be happy otherwise we would cry out.

What we thought we knew is a geometry
Made of cotton drying in the open air.
I love the smell of what we thought we knew
When it's freshly laundered and otherwise repaired.

South Prague

Sunday, 6 March 2005 at 16:39

No Text from "In the Country of Birds" - Carcanet, 2003


One day perfect love could come to me
Like a woman from a crowded bus
Long overdue and driven carelessly
Along an asphalt road wet with rain.

She might travel past untended fields
Which wind has combed so grass lies flat.
I will change the dull, official name
On maps to read The District of the Heart.

Today you gesture at sunlight sinking
in the windows of the building opposite.
The sky itself seems blank, uncoloured,
The texture of undyed linen mat.

We watch the glory in the glass spread out
Making concrete seem delicate as coral.
You murmur your favourite English word,
"Impossible, impossible",

And refuse my offer of a rose.
"How could I explain it to my man?"
I wave goodbye at a brilliant smile
On the last bus westwards to a steel town.

One day perfect love could come to me
Like wind blowing snow across the grass.
A shadow with a brilliant smile
Will descend from an empty bus.

"Impossible", she'll say as I hold out
Her favourite pink rose and a petal drops,
Then another in the frost. "Impossible",
She'll breathe, her lips withering my lips.


Sunday, 6 March 2005 at 16:35

No Text SONG

After all that self-control
We're just shadows that always go
Where fellow shadows stroll
Without desire or goal
Except to show
That we can melt like snow
Leaving what we said
In the wet street's glow
To lay to rest the dead.

For the purpose of our lives
Was good form not discontent,
To compromise not strive
Though the streets shone like knives.
Thus rage was pent,
Diffidence did not relent
Leaving what we said
Without a firm intent
To lay to rest the dead.

Now what we truly meant
Passed through what we didn't mean
And neither seems hell bent
Or even heaven sent
On being seen
To be the stronger
Leaving what we said
Unable any longer
To lay to rest the dead.


Sunday, 6 March 2005 at 16:24

No Text


A trinity of stalks of wheatgrass,
An unblown dandelion head
Lean from a bottle of darkly seen through glass.

A butterfly ? sort of Admiral,
White, Poplar or even Red
Quivers in a box reserved for rare mineral.

An adder folded like a necklace
For the throats of the better bred
Stirs in a jar that stored long grain rice.

These are manifested on planks of deal
In a pattern of light and shade.
The keeper of these signs reveals

Perfection in the blankness of his face
While he dreams of last things foretold by a maid
Unkissed, but through whom all things shall come to pass.

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