Saturday, 12 July 2014

A co-op of online writing


for Raymond Carver

She reached
her hand out
to her lover.
On a quiet evening,
in a quiet moment.
When everything
just seemed to
make so much sense.
And it wasn’t just
her own hand,
but the hand
of all of us. And
everything seemed
suddenly possible.
Because it was.


The world was crying above us all;
I kept my head down through the rush,
all of us crowding like cattle

under the grey sky,
the season's glare harsh
off the wet streets -

my hurried gaze was checked
in the eyes of the begging man
by the station entrance

and seemed to stick eternal
as I rushed on past
to the platform;

the begging man
whose face gleamed in mine
in the train window, crying the rain.


It was Monday

Everyone at school or not yet born.

I remember every square in the pavement.
Wet days remind me of mum wearing a sad face,
Walking towards the village determined
To fill shopping bags with the beginnings
Of busy meals for milling children.
It was the only time I felt close.
Sometimes she’d say something,
Tell me who lived in which house
And how nice they kept their gardens.

In days when it rained

Our closeness dissolved in stooped shoulders,

The anticipated heavy bags, against the rain.

When the sun kinder, other women

stopped to chat;

I didn’t like that,

They came into our space,

Mine, mums and cracked pavements.

She measured her marriage against other couples
Who passed in cars, or walked side by side
Chatting, smiling, swinging shopping bags in unison.
Too proud to carry shopping or feelings -
My dad; being a farmer,
Never looked inside the heart.
On rainy days he was in the pub
Until closing-time. 

At home, he opted for sleep and
Peaceful isolated dreams.
Mum pulled the scarf around her head,
The wind flapped her mackintosh,
Her slim legs moved through life.

d other Poems by Helen Harrison


She waited for me to admire the house
While I absorbed the trees along her lane
I was never invited back again.
Kicking leaves beneath my feet;
Chestnuts sticky and sweet, sycamore
Seeds cascading the air;
Hair full off twigs. My school friend
Didn’t care for the wild things, that
Autumn brings. Watching, while I jumped;
Shaking conkers from trees,


Peter O’ Neill – Four poems

PortraitPeter O’ Neill has had over 100 poems published. His debut collection Antiope appeared in February 2013, and to critical acclaim. ‘Certainly a voice to be reckoned with,’ wrote Dr. Brigitte Le JueZ (DCU). As well as having had some of his translations published – including works by Baudelaire, Agusto Dos Anjos and Virgil; original poems written by him in Italian and French have also appeared. He has been a regular contributor to A New Ulster, Danse Macabre and The Scum Gentry, and he is currently working on his seventh collection. Undismayed by Filth, Stench and Darkness Inconceivable.

Land of Ire
esse est percepi ( Berkeley)
state of negation
the self annihilated
and on a daily basis
weather too
as if in on the
boycott by water
piss on 'it'
image of
a stone wall
erected in small fields
spread out like a patchwork
throughout the
no stone
left unturned
such is the noumenon
that is perceived
masonic advancement
( copyright, peter o' neill, 2015)


(For Molly and Jack)

On the night that you were born
You were handed straight to me
Like a special fish that had slipped
From a special sea.
And I held you like a bubble
Upon my fingertips;
I held you like a moment
Made of milk.
And love was a river in me
Sprung with a sudden force,
And you were both its purpose
And its source.
On the night that you were born
A whole world stopped in me
Then shook, and started over

                  DAVID BRAZIEL                               
                                                                            For a few moments 
I cherish the quiet 
of an empty mind.
Knowing that soon, 

when I open my eyes,
my ears, my mouth,
the world will rush 
to flood me again.

Someone told me 
that most men drown 
forgetting they can swim 
or in water shallow enough 
to stand, inches from 
the hand of a friend.

Somebody told me,
but I open my mouth, 
my ears, my eyes 
and I forget.


Dream Spiral

Life twists, turns and spirals,
A leaf caught in an uncaring grasp,
Sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh.
The dreamer wakes the downward spiral,
Despair thickened like molasses,
Sinks to his chest in toxicity.
Life crushed, broken dolls,
Limbs scattered as flotsam,
on unwashed shores.
The pain of living pulls despondently
Towards broken promises,
Painful half truths writ large.
Bitterly shaken hands grasp bottles,
Let loose the genie, pain killers to numb
Sleeping pills to drift away.
Life smashed on scattered sands,
Tears fell unnoticed washed away
By white horses as he drank the past
No more tomorrows, no more pain,
Memories discarded among the flotsam
Driftwood returns to driftwood.
Feeble flicker of life refuses
To pass fights to live,
Bile rises, darkness
The dreamer awakes
Discarded, carried on a sea of bile
Half digested pills, whisky stinks the air.
Slowly painfully picks up the phone
Dials a half forgotten number


~ David Whyte ~


Turn sideways into the light as they say
the old ones did and disappear into the originality
of it all. Be impatient with explanations
and discipline the mind not to begin
questions it cannot answer. Walk the green road
above the bay and the low glinting fields
toward the evening sun. Let that Atlantic
gleam be ahead of you and the gray light
of the bay below you,
until you catch, down on your left,
the break in the wall,
for just above in the shadow
you’ll find it hidden, a curved arm
of rock holding the water close to the mountain,
a just-lit surface smoothing a scattering of coins,
and in the niche above, notes to the dead
and supplications for those who still live.
Now you are alone with the transfiguration
and ask no healing for your own
but look down as if looking through time,
as if through a rent veil from the other
side of the question you’ve refused to ask,
and remember how as a child
your arms could rise and your palms
turn out to bless the world.

The Wedding Dress
Tina Rock

Canary Yellow reminiscent of bile
a cloud of chiffon draped in disguise
in shame of the unborn child. 
Home spun on a singer, in one sullen sitting
alterations null and void, hidden away

in a box amongst the greatcoat of life.
The Wedding dress lay unloved
a crumpled ball of shame, empty
dreams banished to a cage
memory floods my mind.

An image sewn with Love & tears.  
a shaft of light on that tarred image.
Perhaps the shame lay with me
as I remember the Delicate
gossamer wings.


A melting pot of Glory

Bluebells bobbing

Fern unfurling

Sorrel smiling

Horse Chestnut 

fingers waving

Lavender Blooming

Viola hiding

Daisy dancing

Ladies Mantle 

beauty dew



Lady's smock 

the Cuckoo calls.

Marsh Marigold bathing

A Frog hoppingTrowel resting

Plantain nesting in a wall 

Moss in pretty pink

Rhododendron rising.

I hear the gossip of their Bloom.                         



I met Mairtĩn one mizzley

Monday morning when he
was merry-making in his

mackintosh with a measure

of Martini outside the


“A mission!” megamouthed
Mairtĩn “First Madison’s,
then the Menagerie, then
Myrtlefield! Are you for us
or against us?”

“I’m with you mate.” I mumbled.
Madisons at midday . . .
I must say that maybe many
more measures of Martini
were made safe as a matter
of fact.

In the Menagerie? Mairtĩn –
Mangers. Me – Miller.
My oh my – it was mustard.

We got mobile through
Malone to Myrtlefield
where we immediately
had a massive amount
of marijuana and on
munching some of my
medication – to the music
of Eminem – Mairtĩn
emailed Martin Mooney.

“Martin, it’s me Mairtĩn.”
Mairtĩn’s memo mentioned.
“Martin, a mission! First Mir
– then the moon – then Mars!
Are you for us or against us?”

“Maybe, mate.”
Martin Mooney’s message

Mairtĩn then muttered to me
over the monitor of the machine
“Hey madman, have you met
my ma?”
“mmhmm.” I muted.

So, from Myrtlefield under
the motorway and past Milltown.
Mairtĩn and me marching.
Marching like Martians
to Mairtĩn’s mum’s
maisonette. It was magnificent!
Mairtĩn made a meal . . .
Marinated mutton, mince meat
Madras and mashed mangoes
in a mayonnaise of Mullerice
and mushy Malteesers . . .

mmm . . . Mairtĩn’s meals . . .
Then we made off up the
mountains for some magic
mushrooms and Mairtĩn
mysteriously melted away
into the mist on his mission
to Mars.

Me and my mate Mairtĩn.
I remember Mairtĩn.
Mairtĩn I miss you.

Mairtĩn your muse
Mairtĩn your melody
Mairtĩn your myth

JUDITH THURLEY:  Trained in Belfast City Hospital as a nurse; first published by Lapwing in 1995 and since then published poetry, prose and non-fiction.  She writes in Spanish and translates her own work into English.  Currently finalising a full collection for publication.


The heart’s two pumps:
they beat in unison but separately,
two bloods divided by a septum
and depicted in this diagram
by red arrows, blue arrows.

See here how red blood
propelled by myocardium
bursts from the left ventricle
and restrained by aortic walls
hurtles through the artery of the abdomen:
press here and feel the strongest pulse
as blood toboggans towards the body’s boundaries.

Here at the periphery
red blood darkens into blue,
rushes up through flapping valves:
vena cava,  right atrium.

Another beat and on now to the lungs
where the blue blood under the heaving ribs
expels CO2, takes in red-rich oxygen.
This is one place where the blood itself is fed,
pressed against the membranes of the alveoli:
miraculous exchange  through fluid, tissue, air; air, tissue,fluid."

Blood’s only chance to surface gasping,
to feel the icy air
to taste your breath, love.
Breathe lightly on me,
my heart lies this way up.

A Juan Carlos Aduviri

Esta escarcha
que pinta la brizna de hierba
una espada de luz,
podria ser la misma escarcha
que atraveso mi corazon
la primera vez que
el invierno beso mi cara.

El corazon del mirlo
pulsa detras de terciopelo negro
y las espadas blancas de hierba
no lo hieren.

Compadre Aymara -
eres del polvo Andino,
del salar de Uyuni.  
Conoces la blancura
del cielo de agua 
debajo de tus pies.
No conoces la escarcha de mi ninez.

Cuando me cai 
en tu fuego moreno 
me deshalle,  casi pereci -
pero Pachamama,
Dios la Hija
e Illimani
nos cantaron.

Tu y yo ambos 
doblamos la rodilla
cuando contemplamos la luna
sobre la montana.

For Juan Carlos Aduviri

This frost
which makes of a blade of grass
a sword of light,
might be the same frost
which pierced my heart
the first time winter
kissed my cheek.

The blackbird’s heart
beats behind black velvet
and the white swords of grass 
do it no harm.

My Aymara comrade -
you know the Andean dust,
the salt desert of Uyuni. 
You have seen the whiteness
of heavenly water 
beneath your feet.
You know nothing of 
the frost of my childhood.
When I fell 
into your dark fire
I unfroze, I almost perished:
but God the Mother,
God the Daughter
and Illimani
sang to us.

You and I both genuflect
when we see the moon
over the mountain.                                         

                                      Judith Thurley

               by Tina Rock


11th night 

Stranded, unable to join the exodus
to Donegal, we lived in a tent of tension;
all day the culture increased;
the populace in place stocked groceries;
suspecting the one day's closure might grow;
the city centre began shutdown mode;
bars closed, only the ghosts patrolled.

Black smoke clouded above unionist areas,
smoke signals marking territory.
As dark encloses, some flames poke tenuously,
as beacons, some fuel shines out, a beacon,
a warning not to challenge the status quo.
For this is Culture and culture must be preserved.
So, stranded, I stand outside, the thump of drums
carries, with yells above the rooftops; humidity wakes.

After tonight, tomorrow is the descent to autumn.
An acceleration in the use of teacher holidays
and August becomes the worry month, just eight
opportunities to win the lottery. 
The bonfires smoke smudges the present,
eliciting tears.

The bands thump, the culture is thumped
and music squeezed beyond art, a stunning alarm.

Maura Mc Keag


She couldn’t see her face
Hard though as she looked
It wasn’t there

Knowing facts
All were there
But no face

She knew her love
But had lost that too
With her face gone
So was he

Staring at a mirror
Nothing stared back
Willing it
Wanting it

Crying with frustrated hopelessness
Screams of anguish from the pit
Only known by her

Gone was her face
Gone was her love


Love becomes, not the passionate,
interlocking of body and soul
In sublime, blissful, emotional bonding
The hungry clasping of love lost

In a fierce instant gratification of lust.


In the darkened room

He lies underwater –

An image negative

Dipped by unseen hands –

And holds his breath.

He emerges, steps out,

            And dries himself off,

A fully developed man.

- Adrian Rice

blackwater poems

Fr maw

You beat me till i fell

On the floor but i got 

Up but you beat me 

Back flat on the floor.

You caned my skin 

Till it was numb with

Pain. No tears shown

To your hurt and pain..

You served god with

The devil inside. Bullying,

Beating children till your

Rage subside. Your soul 

Rotten to the core.

That child hid inside the

Man for years till the child 

Was comforted and its 

ghostly soul released.

From à man to à boy 

And back again never

To bear beatings ever


© Luke heffernan 2014

Sunday's 'Healing' poem.


Throughout the dark days, days 
After you had pulled life’s blinds
Tightly shut, I lit my life with
Memories of you sitting by our
Kitchen fire, the worries of the baby
You were carrying hidden
Between the lines of your stories.

Above our mantle the flaming
Torment looked down on us,
At a mother whose sacred heart
Would one day deny me and
Leave our world Dead Right.
We knew you to be the only God.

Who did you need to please so
Much that you circled the wagons,
Emptied the wells and taught your
Harvesters to reap and leave the
Sowing to the fraught-filled drones?

Now when I walk with you
I set our pace to the
Timing of your clicking needles,
And although I find your love
I still feel the stinging of the pricks.

©Gene Barry

I walk, sometimes thinking for myself, 
sometimes listening to the Passenger. 
The grass moves stealthily away beneath my feet,
pretending to be a lizard.
It rustles surreptitiously 
like the pages of those old calendars you find
wrapped in cobwebs
and nailed to cowshed walls.
Those old calendars
that have lost all interest in time.


Why is it that the path
Has to mist before
We see ourselves,

Cracks and roots exposed
To an empty ditch
To reveal a broken stem;

Vulnerable, collapsing
Covered in isolation
And open to pain.

Maybe it is necessary for us
To suffer occasionally -
For compassion to remain;

Like a stunted tree, a trapped
Fly, before we can see
Through another’s eye.

My path has been mostly clear
Or as far as I can see
Alone, but never lonely.

Not intentionally
Do I fail to notice
A troubled mind,

If you fail to see me
When my mist approaches.
I won’t think you unkind.

                                          HELEN HARRISON 2013


It was really aggression
When it came to it
You burnt anger as fuel
And blamed the excess
On me.

I tried to oil your mood
But it caught fire,
The road I watched,
Willing it to clear -
Was my splitting head
Afraid to block my ears,

I held a barrier that bounced
Off the steering wheel
The dash, the roof
Through windows
And gaps.

I shuddered but it didn’t
Stop, it kept rolling
And rallying, raging;
my inner world. 

                                            HELEN HARRISON 2013

Deirdre Cartmill


I think of the guerilla gardeners, straining
to dig deep, camouflaged by night,
spreading seed pellets that dissolve in the rain,
flowering concrete, setting road islands alight,

never worrying if the smog blocks the sun
or if that slash of colour lasts,
because that poppy jutting through paving stones
is a declaration that life will out.   

And so with you; what does it matter
if you faded before you could grow,
if they glanced your way momentarily
before moving on, because what’s been sown  

never truly dies. There’s that latent spark,
those roots digging in, aerating the dark.

                                                                                    Deirdre Cartmill


Deirdre Cartmill is a Belfast based poet who has published two poetry collections The Return of the Buffalo (Lagan Press, 2013) which will be published on 24th September and Midnight Solo (Lagan Press, 2004).

The Return of the Buffalo deals with grief and loss, and attempts to make sense of the seemingly meaningless, but this is always weighted with how suddenly, unexpectedly joyous life can be. Midnight Solo is written from the perspective of a generation who grew up through the conflict in the north of Ireland and their struggle to envision a new normality in a post-conflict society. Love, loss and a restless search for identity are recurring themes in her poems but her work is ultimately about hope and the possibility of redemption.

She received an Artists' Career Enhancement Scheme Award from the Arts Council in 2011 and spent a year affiliated with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University. She received Literature Awards from the Arts Council in 2012, 2008, 2003 and 2000. She’s previously been shortlisted for a Hennessy Literary Award and been a finalist in the Scottish International Open Poetry Competition.

Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and have also been widely published in magazines and journals. She has given many poetry readings at events and festivals, such as at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and the Belfast Book Festival. She was a Writer-in-Residence at the Belfast Book Festival 2011 and this autumn she will take up residencies at An Creagan, Omagh and MacNeice House, Belfast.

She holds an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from Queen’s University.
She is also an award winning screenwriter and has written for film, television and radio. Her short film Two Little Boyswas selected for The Belfast Film Festival 2013.

Ail na Searrach; 
The Leap of the Foals  
Seven of the Tuatha de Danaan, sought retreat in a cave near the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare. When they emerged they had become horses. They were seen to gallop off a cliff within sight of Doolin, to gather again in the 5th province; the province of the imagination. This cliff is Ail na Searrach; the Leap of the Foals.’

This is it.
The order of muscle, of limbs and bones. Conformation.
A pelt. Colours –
Bay, Black, Steel Grey,
Dun, and the roans  - a Blue Roan, and a Red-Strawberry Roan,
And finally, rare and thrown-back, as if Lahinch 
the liver-chestnut.
Bone, I keep returning to a vision of bone and flanks.
We have no expectation of wings,
That belongs to another time, and to some other island.

I am trying to recover night vision
I have done as you advised; I have made time
We are gathered in the holding place that is this cave,
In need of rest, in need of the dark
In need of concession, giving-in, permission,
To be allowed.
Half-light is bearable,
The day is something to retreat from.
I wonder how I might create a self that ‘disappears’ me – 
And one that will go on stage in my place, sweeping the back yard if necessary –
A walking talking ‘sunny’ one – one
For the light, one who will buy me time – a worker,
So that all along, or for a while, I can stay in the dark,
Close to the cool earth, out of the light,
In communion, for however long  is necessary.

I discover what I am become
When I see for new the other.
I look into your eyes and notice
After stillness and close examination
How far my neck will reach
What has become of my limbs
How I have shifted shape
In the cool, in the dark.
How I am now ready


Deux Ex Machina

On the horns of a dilemna,
Tantalus is standing on his hindlegs
surveying the situation.
A length between his mouth and 
the leaves of the lowest branches.

Not long after, taking shelter 
from a rain-shower, Tantalus 
keeps a look out from the barn.
Is it possible that the weight of 
falling water will offer a solution?

Writer/poet,avid photographer with a great interest in Celtic Myths, the beauty in the Irish landscape and a proud mother of three grown up children. I live in Omagh North of Ireland where the Sperrin Mountains are my inspiration in any season. I have two poetry books published titled 'Where the Three Rivers Meet' and 'Guth An Anam ~Voice of The Soul~ You can find my links at top of my blog.

I wrote this in 2007 inspired by Seamus Heaney's poem 'The Tollund Man. I was glad to have met the poet a few years ago and hear him read his work with great back story to them, I was in awe. he will be missed.

Old Croghan Man *

This island is a living carpet,
worn by clans of cousins who
weaved into the land
a pattern not for the
the untrained eye.
Old Croghan man,
baked in this oven of peat,
symbolizes our spent lineage
of boundaries and fields.
Beheaded and tortured,
he stood tall as a pine tree.

Who was this nameless lad?
A high king, killed in ritual,
or killed in a jealous rage?
Was it a warning to other youths
who may yearn for the new,
denouncing the old?

I wear a leather twang like his,
woven with love on May Day.
The hands of Croghan man
hold no labourers welts,
but groomed nails; ideally

He joins others that came before:
Meeybradden Woman and
Gallagh man.
They come to remind us to read
the bog
chapter by chapter; learn from
ghosts of the past.

Seekers of truth

Truths like crystals lie buried under earth
beneath ancient oaks and long forgotten pathways
leading to the ocean.
In the songs of yesterday adrift on the spring mist
as I gaze out over the hills.
In layers of prayers petitioned
to the universal spirit.
In cosmic shifts of a soul’s migration
from way before birth
to beyond the end of life.
We seek it in books
in passing thoughts that nudge us
towards a face in the crowd.
In the faces of the old.
With others on the journey
truth emerges out of the dark
returning as the light


Malachi O' Doherty

It makes no difference, your title, your name,
In the sacred circle, we are all the same,
Healing voices, a healing beat,
To take the anger off the street.

Centres of energy, North and South,
Remove fear and remove doubt,
Centres of energy, East and West,
Unite us all in living zest.

It makes no difference, your money, your fame,
In the sacred circle, we are all the same,
Bang your drum to a healing beat,
Put life and love, back on the street.

©Maggie McD 2013.


Selected Poems 

Published by Liberties Press

Moyra Donaldson has assimilated the powerful 
influences of Yeats, Hewitt, Hughes, Longley 
and Heaney, together with 
Plath and Liz Lochhead, to present a 
hard-won distinctive self…

- Medbh McGuckian

Anybody from any genre can send me writing, even before my stroke I had the vision of creating an anthology I still have that vision and that passion for writing.  I’m lucky ina sense that my stroke wasn’t a severe head injury that didn’t reach my brain ha ha I think.   Writers I think need a little madness, any age group can send me writing and any form of writing as this is not a poetry or prose workshop it’s a


                writing of the moment workshop.

for ASM

I chose to walk rather than hitch a ride,
and no sooner had we parted on the street outside
the Moon, not more than a minute from your

gentle parting jibe – ack sure,
you’ll probably find a wee poem
on your dander home 

I strode into a firefly guard of honour.
Those matchless passers of the flame
lit my Oakwood stroll with their

royal relay the whole way back,
and stayed outside the door
until I got myself slippered-up

and seated on the dusky porch.
Then, one by one, as if on cue,
they each turned off their golden torch.

Adrian Rice  .....................................BIOGRAPHY BELOW


                GEORGE WEIR


'loving them all the way back to the source

loving everything that increases me'
                                          Raymond Carver

The current of literature flows
And I stream the stream. 

I don’t know what kind of fish
This is until I land it, I’m writing
This for me, to find the current
Flow and to know that it’s
A big bastard. You have to know
Where the current flows
And when to let it go. The scales
Are black and silver and it swim’s
Every colour in between. It me-
Anders through the water as if
It knows it can’t be caught.

It’s big and bold and beautiful
It’s been hooked a thousand
Times but this isn’t about
The hooking its about its
About the killing time. Time
Is a big fish landed in this

                               ADRIAN FOX

              BE THE POEM'

Spring Wildflowers in a 

Woodland Garden


A melting pot of Glory-Bluebells bobbing-Fern unfurling-Sorrel smiling-Horse Chestnut fingers waving-Lavender Blooming-Viola hiding-Daisy dancing-Ladies Mantle beauty dew-Montbrethia stretching-Lady's smock the Cuckoo calls-

Marsh Marigold bathing-A Frog hopping-
Trowel resting-Plantain nesting in a wall -
Moss in pretty pink-Rhododendron rising-
I hear the gossip of their Bloom.

These were only Tina's titles 

so maybe that should be in the title.

                    TINA ROCK



Dreams are my bolthole
I close out the world
become my alter ego
The writer of wrongs

The chaos of reality dim
As solutions are found
To the insurmountable hurdles
Of my daily life

Empowerment surges
the burnt kittens
the butchered dolphins
never happened

Religion reads its scriptures
And understands the words

Politically masked self interest
is not de rigeur
becomes non sequiteur

I can feel the contentment
well-being and joy
I breathe deep and long
For morning when...

the dreaming stops
reality kicks in
the cloak of invincibility drops
I am left, vulnerable