Irish Papist

Irish Papist
Statute of the Blessed Virgin in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Church, UCD Belfield

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Poems from a Decade (2)

Behind graveyard gates (2002/3)

Behind graveyard gates, where the lost horde waits
For the fate that shall free them from earth to air
The living must go upon guarded toe
And feel, for their freedom, intruders there;
And yet what can be owned by a brace of bone
Or not be wrested from lifeless hands?
Though they wield no swords, they are yet its lords
And the living speak low in the lifeless lands.

Is there greater power than, for hour and hour,
And for year and year, to let no word slip?
The speech of a king is a precious thing
But no words deign drop from a lifeless lip.
On all they despise they have closed their eyes
And their arms are folded to hide their hands
From the tainted works of the man who lurks
With his head held low in the lifeless lands.

The Boiler Room 1999/2000

Here in the darkness the rest seems irrelevant; light
And laughter and company fade into phantom eclipse
Behind the miasma of this world that, morning and night
And year upon year measures time in the maddening drips
Of stagnant invisible drops that resound on the floor
Time marking out nothing but time in this featureless void
When the noises of life are cut off by the clank of the door
And suddenly nothing seems true but the hollow inside.

Bus-Shelter Advertisement (2002/3)

Before your glow, all my resistance has to melt;
That beatific smile can sell me the pretence
That those maternal eyes contain some deeper sense
Than some desire implanted by an adman's stealth.
How could such angel looks be set on worldly wealth?
She dwells inside a world above our pounds and pence.
Smooth skin that seems to speak all-knowing innocence
Dark eyes that render pure all I have ever felt.

One morning, when I sought you, you were torn away;
The space you'd grace shone white like some bright marble bust.
And then I knew, though beauty grows despised and grey,
Though pleasures perish, and all flesh is dust,
Discarding all its forms, desire keeps bright its ray,
Aglow with all the purity of lust.

By the Statue (2004)

The tourist by the marble man
Looked at the passer-by
Whose life within this land began
Before he was a boy.
"I could stay here a thousand days
But this is not my land.
He knows it in a thosuand ways
I could not understand."

The passer-by, an hour from home,
Looked in the tourist's eyes.
Grey light filled with a thirst to roam
And infinite surprise.
"He looks on this through eyes of awe
This sight so plain to me
What from my childhood days I saw
And still can never see."

Chess Board (1997)

What's left on the black and white squares
When the players end the silent debat?
Black troops in an onslaught that nothing deters
And a king who is captured in mate.
And his fate goes unseen and unwept
For the gods have stepped out of the fray.
Not a glance now is spared, where such vigils were kept
Now an ending has come to the play.

What's left of the struggle they fought?
A king caught in pointless defeat
And a meaningless win for the agonised thought
That came from this tenantless seat.
And the loser forgets in a while
All his toil on the black and white squares.
And the pieces are swept from the rank and the file
And in the end nobody cares.

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