Empire of dirt – poem for dVerse

That glorious ruined face

that voice

I cry each time

because it hurts me

deep in my chest

and the grief of knowing

that this was the song

that said goodbye

hurts more than you know

hurts more than I admit

and he brought himself

to this music

always always always

he gave us

something of himself

and then I remember, always


that you were the one who left

one bright day

with the sun before you

and you asked for water

and nobody could give you

just a sip of water 

for your poor dry mouth

just a taste of water

to drift away on

and you left it playing

in your room

and everyone you love

couldn’t save you

couldn’t keep you

and I wsh

you could have had

that one sip 

of cool water 

This song always makes me cry. I’m crying now. And it reminds me of a friend of ours who died too young. It’s for dVerse. 

Music of the spheres.

Some houses throb with music –
and I can see it all – your father
playing the piano after midnight,
your sister singing in her room,
her voice as big as any concert hall,
and you strumming guitar chords upstairs –
and talk, all those voices,
all those opinions, and
the kitchen full of food and laughter,
and your mother, warm and chatting,
wielding a teapot and a frying pan
as if they were offensive weapons.

I never knew a house so full of chat,
and argument and fun. It fizzed.

Your family moved like planets round a central sun,
and you were like a comet, swooping in
and out, bright moments, letters home,
carrying music everywhere you went –
that damn guitar, your voice,
your fingers drumming on a table
in a cafe, coaxing melodies
from old pianos, beating out a rhythm
in every pub, that rhythm
rocking in my belly then.

Rhythms roll down through generations,
all those fingers, flexed on keys,
all that talking, words wreathing like steam
above the kitchen table –
I never knew a house so full of tunes.


Day 7 of Jilly’s month of Unreason, and nobody  has actually died today. Here’s the quotation this springboarded from:

What beauty in this the darkest music
over which you can hear the lightest music of human
behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies.

from Warbler / Dead Man’s Float  

~ Jim Harrison

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.