There are no images here.
I have stripped the walls
so that I sit in the dull
pearled opacity of clouds.
I burned my memories –
brief flaring bursts
of rainbow chemicals.
Even the ash has gone,
drifted out on
breezeless air. It isn’t
midnight – there are no stars –
or morning, or any time
I recognise. I am
anchorite contained by
emptiness, walls built
from the vacuum. I am
an empty pixel on
an empty screen.

For the garden over at Toads. We are invited to use imagery, to pile it on, for Fireblossom Friday. 



Music is general

Music is general over Ireland:

There’s a kid with a fiddle

On Grafton Street, and out

In the West, in Ballydehob,

There’s a German couple

In Rosie’s bar, who are playing

Bob Marley. Your parents

Are fox-trotting across the floor

In the golf club, and the army band

Is practicing “Faith of our Fathers”.

In Limerick the pipes, the pipes

Are calling, and in this little church

By the sea, there’s music dancing

Where the altar used to be.

There’s a ceilidh tonight

In the community centre

On Clare Island, and the pipes

Sing like a bad woman

And in Toners there’s a poet

Who suddenly bursts into

“My Lagan Love”, and high

Above Ben Bullen, there’s a

Skylark rising, rising, rising.


For Brendan, over at toads. We are asked to write a poem for St Patrick’s Day. It was hard to narrow it down. Toner’s is a pub in Dublin, if you’re wondering. 


I am the queen of words,
and their slave.

You come in, and vomit
your words in front of me.
I kneel, sorting through
the sharp shards of words
that cut my fingers,
the dull, slimy words
that choke me. I construct
some kind of story from them,
we construct some kind of story
from them.

I am the witchbitch that built the tower,
and the princess trapped there,
and the wyrm that guards it.

You wrap your arms around your words
and hold them back from me.
I offer you a hundred nuanced shades
of meaning, and still you keep
your mouth closed, lips tight over
clenched teeth, words trapped
in the darkness.

I am the old woman holding out the apple,
and the girl who bites it.

There are words smeared dripping
over the walls of this small room,
there is a stink of them, rotting
in the corners.

There are words floating free
like glistening insects,
rising on shafts of light.

I will make your story.


Linked to Poets United, and to Real Toads, for a Real Toads prompt – words –


I will be here.


I believe that writing matters.

I will write with a pen, on paper.

I will write every day. I will write as an act of exploration.

I will journey without a map.


I believe that bookshops are important.

I will buy books. I will share books. I will read.

I  believe that libraries are magical places.

I will borrow books. I will take them back on time. Mostly.


I believe that connection is strength.

I will listen more. I will laugh more. I will share more.


I believe that we feel joy in activity.

I will get my hands dirty. I will knead bread.

I will run in the rain. I will swim in the sea.

I will dance.


I will breathe.


When I talk about crabs
I’m not talking about crabs.

When I talk about that sideways
that tip toe movement scratching
across the floor
in the middle of the night

I’m not talking about crabs.

When I talk about that
hard carapace, abandoned,
the soft form seeking
shade and shelter,
predator made prey,

I’m not talking about crabs.

When I talk about those claws
gripping, tearing,
and the scars they left,
my body changed,
predator made prey,

I’m not talking about crabs.

You know that, right?


Submitted to the toads – Tuesday Platform.

Ghosts at my table

there are ghosts at my table tonight
I write, not mentioning that
my table is a pale rectangle
of wood, so that perhaps
you picture your own table,
round, white, plastic –
or a dark mahogany oval,
and your ghosts are
the dark ring left by
a wine bottle, the last time
you had dinner with
a long lost lover,
or the scorched place
where you set down a pan
too quickly, the day
you heard that news
about your sister, while mine
are the assorted stains
and scratches left by my
children as they leave their
childhood, not quite ghosts,
waiting to fade.

Metafictionfor the Toads


drip drip drip
the tap fills
the sink until
drip drip drip
it overflows
and suddenly
it’s everywhere
and the noise
drip drip drip
and yet somehow
we can’t turn it off
can’t turn away
can’t look away
we must know
drip drip drip
what she wore
what he said
where they fought
drip drip drip
who made the error
who told the lie
drip drip drip
the flood
the fire
the bomb
the war
drip drip drip
the child crying

Poets used to carry news with them, we are told. I’m feeling a bit newsed out at the moment, but this is for the Toads. 

Hairdresser – for real toads.

Each chair holds a story
because we each hold a story
of love or lust or dreaming
and the blue flowers hold the sky.

The scissors click and clack
and the voices rise and fall
and each chair holds a story
because we each hold a story
of fear or pain or sorrow
and the blue flowers hold
the heart of the sky.

A silver tree grows
and crystals sound like rain.
My coffee tastes bitter
down to the last drop
and each chair holds a story
and the blue flowers hold
the soul of the sky.


Toad Susie asks us to find a poem in the world around us:

For today’s challenge I want you to write a poem from your immediate surroundings. For example where I am sitting there is a vase of   flowers,  silver thermos, a mailbox nameplate from my father’s mailbox, a window, a rather sickly violet, books, a clock, a tape dispenser, the whir of an air conditioner. I could go on and on.  Your poem could be a combination of what you see, hear, taste, feel, just pull from the spot where you are writing. 

      Imaginary Garden With Real Toads