Monday, June 5, 2017

Planning for death

I'm building barns till the cows come home
I'm feeling poorly but I'll keep building on
I can't bring money to heaven, they say
They could be wrong, I'll save anyway.

I'm too old now to learn how
To set aside the rake and the harrow
Not for me sailing or beer
Making useless money is my cheer.

They could be wrong and to be sure
I'll stitch some pockets in my shroud
I'll stuff some dosh an' pills an' stuff
Surely that way I'll 'ave enough.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Where trees embrace the sky

Where trees embrace the sky

Along his woodland walk
Enjoyed the birdy talk 
Feathered friends on the wing 
Knowing much more than him
'Bout trees 'n things.  
They taught him how to sing
The silent forest chant
Lifting spirits in a dance
A trance of mystical delight
With wordless hymns
And soaring leafy chords
To high infinity
And far beyond. 

Grave words 

Sitting hunkered on the granite surround
Along the grave of mother, father and dear sister
Lives once laughing breathing loving
Now speaking wordless love and memories

Remembering the windhover
How it sailed and soared
Far above souls in a quiet graveyard
Forever still, forever eloquent 

Sail on dear hearts
Deeper into the Milky Way
Further closer deeper
Forever on a maiden day in May. 

Slow down, for feck's sake!

Slow down, you're going to die
Why then make the hours fly
What's the hurry, what's the rush?
You'll  get to die, no need to push. 

Why not saunter? Why not stroll?
Looking forward never round
You'll miss the beauty that is found
Stress and hurry takes its toll. 

Stop a moment, gently linger
Absorb the magic in your finger
The simple things are the best
To see a miracle at rest

The heaven's stooping down to kiss the shore
Where time and eternity conspire 
To weave a seamless cloak
Visible only to those who stop and care. 

You're in the car, he's up your tail
Wave him on for he'll be there
And you enjoy the extra moment
Some day 

Our Ladys Island Sunday Afternoon

Lazy September noon on Our Lady's Lake
The early autumn breeze rinses the rushes
That guard the isle to Our Lady's crown
The Sunday faithful have melted 
And the silence enters again.
A shrunken lady with a tiny dog
Walks the pilgrim path in peace. 
The ugly loudspeakers fallen quiet
No need for loud calls to prayer
For it has gently landed on our hearts. 

And still the Sunday breeze makes ripples on the lake
That whisper of summer dreams
And keep away for another day
Cold thoughts of coming winter. 

At this time in our lives days rattle
And whole weeks disappear
We accelerate on the final lap around the island 
awaiting the winter shadow of death 
And holy deliverance. 

September morning

The schools have opened 
The anxious children sit in benches 
And still the September sun
Says welcome to a lonely beach

Gone are the shrieks and cries of little ones 
In one small weekend the world turns 
But not the sea or tide. 

Waves Crashing gently on the shore
With dappled sunshine dancing on the eddies
And little birds sing in parting chorus
Ahead of travels south to milder climes 
And here I sit in silence 
Pensioned off and welcomed in
To natures treasure
Always here for all our pleasure. 

Jesus and Buddha

Smiling Jesus

If Buddha and Jesus were friends 
They would smile upon meeting
Exchange a man hug greeting
Share a meal as the day ends. 

Rising early next morning
Jesus is praying while Buddha is sitting
Awaiting the dawning

Both in love with mankind
Sharing compassion with healing
Feasting and fasting in turns

Sadly the friendship is cut short
By a death Jesus would want to abort
No pleasure for him in the pain
Or the agony of the cross. 

But happy their deaths do not define 
Their teaching of love and of care
Far outlives the mortal coil they shared. 

So when I think of Jesus at table
Through his broad smile I am able
To see his friend Buddha
And his humanity. 

Though he died on a cross
He lived smiling and most
Of his time was spent laughing with friends
On the winding paths of Galilee. 

So people of God in your chapel
Along with cross put the table
Where Jesus broke bread every evening
Loving the good world that god gave him. 

Many people wrote the Bible

Many people wrote the Bible
Some were busy, some were idle
Caring God managed the odd look in
Though many were obsessed with sin.  

Some were happy, some were sad
A few were sane but most were mad 
It wasn't easy for a God
Who gave men freedom and allowed
The freedom to describe the indescribable. 

He must have smiled and laughed at times
When we described in terms of human 
The infinite and the eternal. 

Some humbly closed their books and prayed
At the awesome world that God
 had made 
While others faked the drawing plans
With silly stories that were man's. 

Why would authors go to trouble 
Describing God in a bubble?
When all that's needed to encounter 
Is sea or sky or solemn mountain ?

The altar boy

The altar boy

The incense filled the morning air 
His long soutane and rebel hair
He gave reply in Latin verse 
His simple soul felt it might burst
With happiness. 

So very young and yet so wise
He sensed an unhurried peace
In the old priest's eyes. 

A life of quiet prayer and contentment 
What more could young men wish 
Following a higher pitch?

Heaven met earth
And time stood still
His young clear eyes 
Beheld eternity. 

White starched surplices
Black shiny shoes
Heads bowed in humble adoration 
Happy in unchanging faith. 

Faith of our fathers
Standing straight in pews
That filled to overflowing 

Faith of our mothers 
Cleaning, sweeping, toiling 
endless, endless cups of tea 
Look, on the stove the water's boiling. 

Not for them the shops of London 
Not for them the break or pause
Martha's sisters fret and spin
Serenely for their faithful cause. 


Only the insane
Are the truly sane
In this mad savage world 
Of contradictions. 

At the end of a bough
Not knowing how 
A friend saws the branch 
Just imagine our surprise. 

We come tumbling down 
Like a silly old clown 
We couldn't doubt our fate
Just a question of how late 

So it's not if - but when 
This world we borrowed
Comes crashing below. 
Tomorrow's no show. 

We've locked them all up
Lest we half hear the truth
That we're wearing the world thin
As we promise 'just one more spin'. 

Pat Welby from Camus Iochtar

Pat Mairtin Welby

Poor farmer Pat kept his cap
On day and night in rain and bright
He'd push it back when lighting pipe
While chatting in the cottage.

A quiet man, not full of stress
With a wrinkled smile of happiness
He'd puff and play the baccy
At end of day, contented.

Cait the wife and mother
To children now long gone
To far off shores and lands
Her's the voice and life of Camus.

Every day a loaf or two
Cooked in the trusty range
Butter spread churned last week
And cups of tea to beat the band!

Oh simple, spartan, happy days
Protected on the wall
By photos of the pope
The sacred heart and all.

Sundays after mass spent dozing
Half listening to the game
That hissed from ancient radios
But precious all the same.

Now the little feet
Of great grandchildren
Echo on the floor
Resounding out the open door.

Kevin Andrew Murray 1920-1980

Cut down cruelly by a stroke
Though not yet fifty one
He never once complained
But accepted his fate with faith.

Blessed at school with good results
But lacking father, mother
His career never achieved quite
What with good advice it might.

Lily said he'd have made a great priest
A bishop or a cardinal
Without direction fortunately
He duly formed a family.

Stern but fair, he didn't know
What hadn't been shown to him
Losing father just aged four
While mother moved to Britain.

Raised in part by sisters
Who kept an eye on him
But must have worried plenty
As he attacked life in his twenties.

But meeting Lily slowed him down
And having family steadied him
Being a father suited him
How he enjoyed his garden!

With an intellect as wide
As the Barrow in full swell
He read and studied avidly
The 'good' room was his library.

Devoted to his God and church
Learn-ed more than many
So called experts in the cloth
Peerless intellectually.

Devoted to his rosary
On the carpet floor
The evening prayer with trimmings
Always room for more

For one more prayer or cause
An unwell friend or Africa
Nothing too small or far
The gate to the spirit left ajar.

For eight years more
He soldiered bravely on
Things were tough at times
But he rose above them.

Till at last he passed away
On the floor of a grocery store
Buying chocolate as a treat
For my younger sister.

The last cheque he made out
Was to Bunny Carr, a charity
Lily questioned why the wealthy
Didn't pay as much as he
'Lily' he said 'it's simply
The rich, they can't afford as much as me!'

My poetry

My poetry

My poetry is bad I know
But then you haven't read my prose!
With poetry at least
There's little room to wander
It's careful as we go.

Poetry is half there
Between the books and silence
A tension between what's said
And what is left unspoken.

Poetry suggests and sketches
What readers then fill in
Like listening to the radio
It whispers more than conquers.

Free at last to dream and sigh
For days to come or nigh
It's an aural coloring book
It's cultural DIY!