On Dermie’s bog. (For the day that’s in it)



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On the day that I was nearly famous

I went saving turf on Dermie’s bog.

In purple skirt and black jumper

I leaned into the handle of the old fork

smiling through my splintered life

which is still my way.


Photo Credit Nutan.



Walking the not so scary woods.



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With over a week gone since Halloween there’s no excuse for this type of poem but yesterday I went walking in my favourite woods . Shinrin-yoku has a lot to answer for!

(To be sung in a screechy witch-like voice)

Thru the scary forest 

chanting as I tramp,

higgeldy piggeldy wiggeldy woods, 

tortured limbs and twisted boughs,

shaking leaves and quaking knee’s 

and tumbling down and down’

‘Who goes there?’

I ask one tree (in a deep bearlike voice) wiping down my muddy knees.

But it doesn’t answer.

It’s too busy dancing to it’s own tune.


The woman in the purple skirt.



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Here is a poem I wrote to go with a piece on my yellow bicycle blog, about how it became fashionable for Victorian artists to romanticise the west of Ireland and the women in their red petticoats.

It is a poem that is simple to recite, with a story to tell, a poem that I could put a tune to if the humor took me. 

A ballad really. 

(it actually goes well sung slowly to the tune of ‘The parting glass’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chOiVoScz8A  Go on, try it yourself and you’ll see, but I will find an original tune for it)


Oh Weaver weft me a piece of cloth,

of your finest cotton,

for linen is harder to dye they say

and I wish to dye it purple.


Oh Dyster dye my piece of cloth

But do not use the madder*

For I wish not to wear a petticoat red

but one the color of  heather.


Oh Seamstress sow me a petticoat

from the cloth I have you handed,

and stitch in each pleat, the morning light

and I will surely wear it.


Oh Poet pen me a simple song

of the purple skirt I have round me,

and weave through each fold a story of love

and I will softly sing it.


Oh Artist paint in my petticoat

not in red or blue or yellow,

but paint it in a purple hue

the color of the heather.


So he painted her skirt in a purple hue,

then kissed it’s hem most dearly

and she smiled and turned with her sleán* in hand

and went into the morning early.


photo credit to http://www.nutan.ie/ireland

*madder: a plant whose roots were used to dye clothe red.

*sleán: a tradional tool for cutting the turf



No need for words



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One of my favourite walks at this time of the year is up the glen of the downs in Co Wicklow. There is one point along the steep path where I like to stop and look down into the valley through the gnarled limbs of the young oaks (young in that they are probably only 150 years old) and for some reason feel obliged to come up with a short poem about what I see, but my words always sound so contrived so I try to refrain.



No need for words

The photo says enough

But I cant help myself

(I’m Thinking

Tediously twisted tortured tangled trees )




Keeping my eyes on their toes.



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I have a favorite walk not far from where I live that never disappoints.The sand track, running parallel to the beach, appears mundane initially but on closer inspection, throws up such treasures that it keeps me ‘on my toes’ or rather keeps my eyes on their toes (If such a thing is possible.)20160104_090516

Everything on my morning walk

deserves regard,

ask the skeleton of the wild carrot

why it stops me in my tracks,

becomes a work of art.

look how it raises its hands in supplication

As though humbly begging the sky to pay it some attention.


Last Sunrise of 2015(Not quite a Haiku)



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In a country that experiences as much rain as Ireland does, especially in the winter, to witness the perfect sunrise on the last day of the year is indeed a rare phenomenon.

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Checking that the rain is gone,

The sun

hauling itself over the horizon 

is applauded by a single wave

A perfect Grand finale 

The Devils glen (An Gleann Mór) A poem through pictures.



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Many years ago, to celebrate finishing my nursing studies, A friend and I cycled to wicklow. It was the first time I really thought about how far one could get on a bicycle. We had no plan and no map, just followed the local signposts.

Now wicklow is a very mountainous county and our bikes being single speed often meant getting off and pushing them over hilly terrain but every morning we rose from our youth hostel beds with renewed determination not to be deterred by any road just because of a steep incline.

One morning, our curiosity aroused by the name on the signpost, we made our way along the steep road to the devils glen. Recently I returned there for a walk.

It started out innocently enough.

Purely to clear the cobwebs of the last week.

A woodland walk of

trees, bushes, ferns, a leafy path, a wandering river, some dappled sunlight, a wooden bridge,

the usual sort of foresty stuff.



did I say wooden bridge!

I step warily across

waiting to be accosted

by the voice of childhood past

‘Who dares to go trip tropping across MY bridge’

Says the angry troll, goblin, leprechaun

(take your pick)

‘it is just I’

My voice trembles or maybe it’s the bridge as

I trip across safely.

and ahead is there a story?

about a girl who dared pass under a fallen rock


I hold my breath and try to remember

but make it safely under all the same

and travelling onward without looking back

(I don’t fancy being turned into a pillar of salt).


along Yeats-like stolen paths


to the waterfall


not quite as astounding as glencar

but just as mesmerizing.

I sit and watch it thunder

until the day grows dark

and watchful

then back through the rock

and over the bridge I run

Hold on!

I don’t remember passing


the alice in wonderland tree


or the sleeping beauty castle.

the end.

The devils glen is named so by the victorians because they likened the noise of the waterfall to the roar of the devil. The Irish name for it is An Gleann Mór. p.s the last two photos are from the glen o’ the downs walk I braved later.


At loss for words in summer.


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A while ago i wrote of how

i was filled with words 

but something has happened since then

 and now

it’s my heart that’s full

(my brain has emptied)

i no longer want to speak 

or even write since summer has arrived 

Instead I want to leave those jumbled words behind

and go

where wildflowers grow haphazardly in soft purple ditches

where rushes whisper by lonely lakes and white bog cotton shyly dips

her wispy head among rows of darkened turf

and clouds are of importance

where blue shadowed mountains are mysterious and beckoning

where the singing sea is soothing 

where i can be silent and wandering

i will go there soon enough 

soon enough



On Words



I occurred to me this morning.

It is lucky I love words


I am filled to the brim with them.

even as I wake they are up before me

(At night I go to sleep before them)

And as quickly as I spit them out

I fill up with more

So I have two blogs on the go

(One for stories

another for poetry)

I plaster words on paper, type them on my laptop

and still they come

I would have thought I’d have run out by now.

Maybe I should meditate instead

On Judging.


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 I can be hard on myself and judgemental too. Berating myself when I fall down on my writing or painting. The last year has been one of the busiest I remember (I count my year from spring to spring) It has been filled to the brim. I wonder how it went so fast and I ponder over what I achieved.  Then it occurs to me, how silly! 


As the tide doesn’t measure

or judge the grains of sand it covers 

I look back over the year

And try not to judge or keep count 

of the good or not so good 

Then smiling

I note

It was mostly good. 

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April Showers and apple blossoms


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Another shower

a run for cover

cold coffee to be continued in the shelter of the glass house

and then its over

the sun strikes the first apple blossom

I pick up the wet handled shovel and turn another sod

make another lazy bed*

Make hay while the sun shines.

* A ‘lazybed’ is a traditional way of planting spuds particularly in the west of ireland where the soil can be very thin above the rock. It is an ingenious affaire. Starting on a patch of grass, mark out the length and width of your bed with cuts from the shovel. The length depends on the size of your plot but the width is important (It needs to be approximately one and a half metres wide at the start)  Manure or seaweed is placed down the center directly on the grass and your potatoes zigzagged on top of the manure. Then you lift the sod from each side and cover the spuds neatly. If you get a nice angle, the sod will fit together exactly, sealing in the spuds. The grass rotting underneath adds heat and extra manure and encourages the spuds grow quickly and strongly. Its a great way of breaking up new ground too.

Broad Beans.


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Holding a packet of seeds

I read ‘broad beans’

and tearing off the top I pour them into my hand

where they lie

brown and leathery like miniature purses

filled only with hope

for who would believe inside each withered case

is the makings

of a green and leafy stalk

and flowers


when visited by a bee

will set and behind each falling flower

a tiny pod

and growing all the while

till four or five plump beans

are ready for my plate.


I lay them one by one

reverently into the soft damp soil

if there is a prayer

to start them on their journey

I have already said it with my wonder.