This is a poem about one of the less pleasant features of our society. In recent years the hood has become a symbol for a particular group of young people who seem intent on both being unhappy and making others feel that way too. It is based on a real encounter I saw while out walking my own dog at night.
Old man shuffles Stooped, shrouded, muffled Against cold and damp Uniform of age Coat grey Woolen scarf Hi-shine shoes Capped head bowed Furrowed brow Sunken cheeks Age-dimmed eyes Lines of life Life lived Duty done Passes by Nods hello
And the dogs watch And tails wag
Young man struts Perma-scowl Too-young Too-deep, furrowed brow Thin stretched lips Suck On the last of ten Smile proof Sunken eyes Beneath The Hood
The Hood Hides, covers The accused’ blanket The judges wig Executioner’s mask Hiding feeling Hiding all
The skunk cloud Beer puddled brain Swaggering With sham-strength Confused values Misplaced, replaced Aggression, size Anger, power Resentment brimming Arrogance wrapped
This poem harks back to a time before the modern car ferries or planes made travel “home” to Ireland so quick and easy. In the days of the old “Mail boat” things were rougher, slower and uncomfortable. But it was going home and that’s something the Irish will always do!
So! I’m stood on the quayside On a wild windy night As the storm brews over the sea And I wait in the rain With a hundred others like me For a boat that tosses this way and that And just as I think There’s no way we can make it We will surely all drown We’re rushed into the harbour Of Dublin’s fair city And a train that’s ready to leave And it blows a loud shrill whistle And we set off quite quickly picking up speed Doing sixty as she crosses the Liffey But slowing to a crawl up the hills The heaters don’t work ‘cept in Summer There’s no way on God’s Earth to keep warm And our teeth and bones rattle and shake Through the Midlands, Longford, Roscommon To Mayo at last To be met at the station at Claremorris By Pat the baker and his son In their rickety cart As we jolt and bump to Kilkelly Where every man has the gift of the gab And you can take the man out of Ireland But you can’t take Ireland out of the man So of course I join in their chatter To tell of my journey last night So! I’m stood on the quayside On a wild windy night As a storm brews over the sea And I wait in the rain With a hundred others like me
This is a poem about what humankind is doing to our world and how nature will ultimately reclaim it.
Gliding in the clear blue As a dream or a thought Sun warmed broad aquiline wings He surveyed all And he understood
The smoke is long gone Blown on a thousand year wind And just the shell remained Brittle and dry, sapped of strength Empty buildings, old and burned Skyscrapers, apartments, churches Temples to industry Abandoned and desolate
Men thought they had answers Unrivaled intellect Complex society A global economy Men had too much
He sees the bones of society Laid bare Picked over by vultures of violence Crushed by the hyena grip of despair Men couldn’t set those shattered bones
And they crumble to dust Grains of memory Of a time men lived Long ago
And he stretched his wings In the clear blue As a dream or a thought And he understood And eagles again Were kings
Sometimes modern life just doesn’t stop, we always have to be doing rather than being. This poem comes out of that. Max photographed here is really busy, runs and runs, but he knows when to stop!
Max – photographed 2009
My old television Had a big old switch On and off With a clunk My new one has Standby
No switch Just a button Touch sensitive And a little red light It doesn’t ever really turn off It’s ready For my instant need For entertainment, for news To fill an empty moment I can’t wait a few seconds It’s on standby Go on Touch the button
My new computer sleeps The screen goes blank The disk winds down And parks But a little red light Flashes And then Touch the button It bursts into life Back where it left off Not asleep Its on standby Go on Touch the button
This is the modern way Life at the ready On 24-7 watch Don’t stop Don’t go to sleep When I close my eyes The world keeps going The world might pass me by The world never stops I wouldn’t want to be Left behind In a thoroughly Modern rush
I don’t really sleep anymore I close my eyes Lie quiet I might snore But I‘m not asleep I’m ready to jump up At the drop of a hat The bark of a dog The rattle of the wind The ring of the alarm Not asleep I’m on standby Go on Touch the button
I don’t have a little Red light I don’t need my own little Red light I’m surrounded by them They’re inside my head Glowing Flickering Light emitting synapses At the edge Ready to go Not asleep I’m on standby Go on Touch the button
And if I finish my days In a hospital bed Plugged-in Connected Then When my little red lights go out I won’t be dead Resting in peace Not dead On standby Go on Touch the bloody button