Friday, 30 September 2011

God of Sadness

There is a god of sadness, of melancholy and low mood.
I don’t know the name of this god, or its sex,
Its shape or its age. I know its texture though.
I know its smell. This god is hollow and soft.
It feels like old material, much washed,
Colour faded, soft and comforting.
It smells like rose petals that have just
Started to decay, over-ripe and sickly sweet.
Its colour is dusky. Saharan sands.

I want to find my own name for this god.
And choose a place where I can pay tribute.
Leave small offerings on a plate. Give thanks
For the blessings that come from sadness.
Poignancy. Quiet. Comradeship with hurting things.
Turning away from easy pleasures into a deeper search.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Beautiful gateway.
Gate Closed.
Closed and locked.
No way through.
So many gateways.
So many closed.

Turn and look around.
What's on this side?
The world turns.
And turns again.
Gates lock.
Look at what's here.


Dancing on this earth,
Wind, sun, rain,
Connection to all things,
Half in this world,
Half elsewhere,
In mystery

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Cold Star

Cold star here in me,
All pointy bits and sharpness.
Something wanting to cut loose
And simply float away.

Wanting, resisting
Still shining on in vain.
All source and reflection.
Hard rock and space.

Floating along unwitnessed,
Out here in the dark,
Vast vast universe,
Cold, cold star.

Simply Be

I asked the world, "what should I do?"
The world replied with lists and lists.

I asked the air, "what should I do?"
The air came back "Be still and wait".

I asked my heart, "what should I do?"
My heart replied "Be still".

I asked my soul, "what should I do?"
My soul said, simply, "Be".

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Throw a stone

Throw a stone into the still, deep pool of emotion.
There's something down there, but its not stirring.
It doesn't want to be seen right now.
It's a bottom feeder. Deep in the murky depths,
Lurking in the shadows, and hiding in the reeds,
Like an old pike, refusing to be caught.

Monday, 26 September 2011

To be Valiant

We seem to have lost the concept of valour somewhere along the way.

At four o'clock this morning, I woke with the words of an old hymn running through my head:

"He who would valiant be, 'gainst all disaster".

I remembered sitting cross legged in the hall at assembly, and feeling strengthened and empowered by the words of the hymn, as life and the gods hurled their various sticks and stones at me.

As the world turns, and turns again, and as I face the often terrifying changes, undoings, un-ravellings, collapsings and general turmoil out there, I ask the universe to help me to be valiant: "possessing or showing courage or determination".

I think of the Knights of the Round Table; of Odysseus; of Achilles; of Victor Frankl; of Nelson Mandela;

I choose to be valiant in my response to the world today.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Holding on to peace

Hold the peace in my left hand.
Hold the peace in my right hand.
Join my hands together. Peace -
Between my folded hands. Peace -
Held quietly in front of me.

Hold the hands up to my lips,
Breathe in the space between my hands.
This is where I’ll hold it. Breathe,
Breathe in, hands fisted at my mouth,
My peace, here with me.

(painting of my son, Andrew (6), on Wicklow Cliffs.)


There are places that we find that become favourite places. Places that touch us and open us to a wider world than the one we inhabit every day.

This is such a place.

A path. An expanse of sea. A distance of mountains. A sky of cloud and blue.

Potential - the unknown around the bend.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Trusting the Turbulence

On the shore, there are stones and pieces of shell
Which only show their beauty when they are
Covered with water. We pick them up to
Take home, then say “Oh” when they dry.

Without the water, they look dull. Ordinary.
There is nothing special about them. What
Is it about the embrace of the waves, that
Lets them shine and radiate their colour?

I wonder, if there is an element for each of us; in which
Our shimmer can emerge? Some substance
To bathe us and allow magnificence to
Become visible, like these stones and shells.

I like to think of that gentle holding of water:
Then think again of how the stones and shells
Are tumbled, over and over, by that same
Great force, not knowing which way is up.

Maybe our lives are like that; and we need to trust
The turbulence. Allow ourselves to be thrown about.
And all the time we feel we can’t see tomorrow,
We shimmer and shine whenever someone looks

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sky Fallen Trust

I hold out my heart to you,
Quietly, tentatively,
Step by step,
Act by act.

A little piece of trust
Has fallen down,
And landed
In my heart.

I kindle it.
It warms me.
A little part of
You with me.

Sky fallen trust.
Angel trust.
No explanation

A workaday miracle,
Taking place slowly.
I hold out my
Heart. To you.

Jan 2011

Scratchy World

Just home from the hospital – newborn.
My mother sits my brothers on the sofa.
Eight and four years old.
She puts me in the arms of the elder.
“Sit here” she tells them.
“Don’t move”.

She has to go to the shop.
“Don’t move off the sofa” she says.
“Sit still and hold her tight”.
She locks the door.
She runs to the shop,
And back.

She pants up the stairs –
To find them playing,
And me, newborn, propped up
In the corner of the sofa,
Head lolling forward in front,
Newborn neck.

I wonder – if that’s when it began.
The first time I felt there was
No one to hold me,
No support to be had,
Just a scratchy world,
And me.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Blue Unicorn

Meanwhile, the blue unicorn
Emerges from the forest.
Approaches almost silently.
Nuzzles your neck.
Soft breath on your face.
Looks you straight in the eyes.

- A promise.


Bewildered, he stumbles away,
Abandoning indifference.

Home is a place called lost.
What's wanted is unattainable.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Not man, not woman, - qualities of both.

A need to thrust, control the world.

Desire to yield,submit, give way.

Honour of the soldier. Love of the mother.
Strength of the father. Loyalty of the brother.
Selfless love, strong but gentle hand.
Depth of loyalty. Fierce passion
All these things, here, in one.


Wordsmith. Teasing. Pulling. Making shapes.
Using words to create something new.
Watching words. Watching the shape
They make in the heart. How a word,
Well placed can make tears rise. Can
Bring a smile to a face. Stop you
From feeling alone. Make sense of the world.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sleepless Nights

Sleepless nights. Try to remind myself,
That medieval peasants had first sleep
And second sleep. In between, a period
Of restful wakefulness. Hard to lie awake,
And not allow the worry ants to scurry
Around, scrambling through my thoughts.
Hard to breathe deeply and rest. Always,
At three and four am, the sense of
A world crashing down, and no safe haven.

Scurry. Worry. Here come those ants.
All along just waiting to climb in your pants.
Worrying. Scurrying. Here and there.
Never a quiet second to despair.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Different Directions

Arriving in this strangely familiar,
Yet unknown city. Children around me.
Relationships trailing behind, clanking
And trundling along on a rusty bike.

Looking for familiar landmarks, anything
To connect to or recognise. Wide river.
No bridges. There's something on
The other bank. Perhaps a church.

A gulf of distance to get there.
The pull of the past
Clanking along, clunk, clunk
Filling the road behind me.

Pulled forwards. Pulled backwards.
The pull of opposing directions.

Thursday, 15 September 2011



and floating

In a world

of uncertainty

Living in

not knowing


and fear

in equal measure


not drowning

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Simple ways to be good to yourself every day

Make a window every day to meet yourself.
In that window, don’t hide, don’t pretend, don’t deny. Let yourself really feel and experience how you are, without judgement or reaction.
If the “you” you are meeting is sad – share the sadness. Hold the sadness as something sacred. See where it is seated –
-in the stomach?
-in the heart?
-in the throat?
Don’t try to analyse it.
Don’t try to understand or explain it.
Just meet it, experience it, acknowledge it.
Then allow the higher part of yourself to hold the sadness. “you are sad, and I am holding you in your sadness”.
Feel the kindness of the holding.
Feel the love in the holding.
Stop trying to fight the way you are. Stop trying to make it something different.
Not only are you fighting reality, you’re fighting yourself, and that internal battle is harder than any of the battles you fight out there.
Stop trying to figure out the reasons so that you can fix it and stop being sad.
Just be with yourself, gently, kindly, lovingly, in that place of sadness.
Who told you you shouldn’t be sad? You are sad. How can you not be what you are? Don’t add guilt and punishment and criticism and scorn to your sadness.
Just be sad.
And love yourself, your sad self, and hold your sad self in your loving kindness.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Imagine Jonah, adrift in a cold, dark ocean.
Endless water. no land in sight.
The whale's mouth open. The rushing
Of water into the void. Inevitability;
He too will be sucked in. Fighting it
And fighting it. Fighting an ocean.
Fighting a whale. Fighting the inevitable.
Then that moment of surrender. Letting go.
Sucked into darkness.
Surrender now, like Jonah.

Meanwhile, the blue unicorn
Emerges from the forest.
Approaches almost silently.
Nuzzles your neck.
Soft breath on your face.
Looks you straight in the eyes.
- A promise.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Hits this tender spot

- Hits this tender spot.
Black and red petals,
Shedding like snow
From the leaden place,
Inside a chest.

Land like strange confetti,
Around me on the floor.
Landlocked oceans
Of tears unshed.
Petals - red and black.

Tenderly, tenderly,
Collect each of the
Petals by hand.
Red; black; red.
Deserving of respect.

Tenderly place each one
Between the pages of this book.
Pressed flowers. Old feelings.
Stored here between the
Pages. For posterity.


Sunday, 11 September 2011


Verb: engulf, submerge or bury
Noun: an act or instance of flowing or heaping up abundantly: a surge"

Here comes a whelm of feelings,
Rising in a rush, prompted by the
Warm,moist air touching my face,
As I step out of the airport.

Moist air of an autumn city.
Echoes of memory blowing.
Echoes and ghosts resonating.
Rising. Whelming. Full.

Blue Angel.......

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Psychedelic Sunday

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Unmasked I stand
No features
Not looking out
No one peering in
Just being
Just here
Just me.

Friday, 9 September 2011

For Faye

All these years you've "friended" me -
Can't imagine now, a life not punctuated
And grounded by those long conversations,
The cutting across each other to reinforce
Or challenge what the other is saying.
Those days when the babies were small.
Finding our way, smoothing the way for
Each other, even if we didn't quite know how.
And now your 50th birthday is here. And
I know for sure, that in another 50,
We will still be connected. Still talking,
Still putting the world to rights.
My friend. For always.


Explore the cliff edge,
How “edgy” it is;
How hard to gauge the
Drop to the bottom.

It looks a big drop.
One you’d never
Survive if you jumped.
Look back – way closed.

You could hang around
For ever at this edge.
Not here, not there,
Not home. Cliff edge.

What’s at the edge?
Fear; wind; space;
Gravity holding your feet.
Keeping you there.

Scaredy blue cat.
No way back.
No way forward
Just pacing the edge.

What if this edge
Is actually home?
Without the fear;
Wind – space – gravity.

K 9.7.11

Thursday, 8 September 2011


Now, you hide from me. Tuck away
The part of you which, before,
You ran to share. Gossamer barricade,
Invisible to the naked eye. You are
Here, but only the outside is showing.
The secret self is hidden, shielded.
You are smiling, but your heart
Is not disclosed. Hidden to me now.
And, mirror like, I hide myself from you.


Early morning September.
Mountaintop view of the world.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

How to be good to yourself every day

This minute, this moment, stop.
Just stop.
The rest of it is a play, and you are an actor.
Tommorow you may get a different part.
We get so caught up in the role, we lose sight
Of the one who is playing it.
So now, this moment, right here and now,
Just stop. Suspend the internal review.
The audience see the role, not the actor. They'll
Go home tonight and barely remember what
They saw. But the actor is so in character, he's
Forgotten who he really is.
Suspend the dialogue. You've learnt the lines
So well, they run through your head all night.
You don't need to keep rehearsing. You need
To STOP rehearsing. Stop trying to get it right.
Step out of character. Step one - just stop.

Frayed Rope

All these needs, thrown in a sack, and tossed down to the ocean floor.
Still tied to me, with a frayed rope, knotted round my waist.
Pulling and tugging as the ocean moves, still tied to me, weighing me down.
What to do? The choices are clear;

Cut the rope, wave goodbye to the needs forever;
Or pull on the rope. Pull them back up.
In the light of day, open the sack.
A sack full of waterlogged needs.

Take them gently, one by one
And lay them out to dry. Then try them on for size.
They may have shrunk. You may have grown.
See which of them still fits.

All these needs.
Tugging away.
Frayed rope.
Old sack.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011



Stop. Experience
A place called "here".
Here - hyper vigilant.
Here - sitting still.
Here - wind blowing.
Here - eyes closed.
Here in a warm bed.
Here lost and cold.
Here with my breathing.
Here with my breath.
Here with this being,
Walking this earth
Pretending to be me.
Here stretched.
Here crushed.
Here endless ache.
Here depth of being.
Here sitting.
Here being.


Monday, 5 September 2011


Which gods granted me this,
Which I could not have foreseen?
Which gods took away that,
Which I had thought was mine?
Trusting, now, these gods around me.

Spring 2011

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Old Sourpuss

Old sourpuss looking out, chewing her false teeth
And prophesying doom and disaster. Meanwhile,
The crazy one goes right ahead, and does it
Anyway. The thing we decided not to do. Little
Bits of hidden self, tucked away deep inside. They
Jump out, just to catch old sourpuss by surprise.

Precious Stranger

Now at 6.30 in the morning, it's still dark.
In a sleeping house, I go through familiar routines.
Fill a kettle with water, feed the dog, put slices
Of bread in the toaster. These small, everyday
Actions in the half light of approaching Autumn.
Soon, the household will wake, and the usual
Demands step in and take over. For now, these
Precious minutes to myself. Precious minutes,
To spend time with me; meet the stranger inside
And slowly coax her out. Find out, yet again,
What makes her tick. Precious stranger.
Always here and always hidden,
Waiting to be found.

Friday, 2 September 2011

I sought

I sought my soul, my soul replied:

"You will not find me in sensible calm."

The nymph is running, barefoot, through
The woods; hysterical; wild. Swigging
Wine from the bottle. Shouting at
The animals in her path. Seeking out
The fawn, half man, half goat. Smearing
Wild berries across her naked breasts,
Berating the gods and screaming at the sky.

"Here am I" said my soul.

"You long for something pure,

But this? -

This soul is real."

Thursday, 1 September 2011

These Days

We crawl through these days like modern serfs;
Tired; wooden; hopelessly tangled. Our world
Feels unholy, hard and unfair. All of it
A horrible mess. "Sacred" Ireland no longer
- Just scared.

All we can see is a long, hard road ahead. It
Feels as if even the parents don’t know
What it is they should be doing. The cocksure,
Punchdrunk adolescent has crashed and burnt
Most spectacularly.

It feels brutal, sticky and scary. Living in
A fiefdom run by NAMA and the banks.
Even medieval peasants had more leeway
Than some of us do now. No saviour in sight,
- Broken down.

Poor old Nero, always cast as the villain,
Fiddling away as the city blazed and burnt.
He’s growing in my estimation. If you can’t
Put out the fire, finding something fine to do
Seems braver, somehow, now.