Monday, 12 February 2018

Nine Grids | A Poem

How things go,
Their sequences
Left untouched
Present jump cuts regardless
Keep an eye on that aperture,
Watch the depth,
If the shutter speed is too slow you’ll
Miss the shot entirely,

What will your caption be, kiddo?

White balance calls to mind
Those rose-tinted glasses
We all wore at some point -
I lost mine along the line,
A bus from College Green to Ballymun last Spring
I pick up a pair the odd time
I feel the need,
Lose them again
And repeat.

Every person will take away
Something different from
Something printed;
Glossed and brazen,
But flimsy matter
Ignorant to scrutiny

I looked over the shoulder of
A young doctor
Reading my notes in his lap
As he quickly flipped
Through pages containing
Delineations of my windy spine;
“You probably don’t want to see these”
He said.

I made him flip back
To the page
And told him his learning
Does not stop at RCSI.)

A simple matter of trial and error
Balancing the wheel on the edge
of the curb,
Shift focus
Keep your finger halfway on the silver button,
Gently rested but
Ready for action,
You have it,
You have it.

You could frame it,
Give what you saw a
Sense of permanency
Until the colours fade;
Magenta -

In a hallway,
Bedroom wall
Or the top of a fireplace,
Far away from here,
By all means
Have faith in what
Your eyes see and have seen

For they take around
Sixteen thousand
Pictures daily anyway,
The ones worth storing
Could be found on a
Sheet of crinkled paper
At the bottom of a wardrobe
Or in a prized technicolored
Under my pillow

Through the looking glass,
The subject will shift as the
Eighty thousand people
You’ll come across in your lifetime
Flit in and out,
But the rule of thirds
Will keep you in line.

I said that you have it.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Under Glass | A Poem

Dear friends under glass,
You bear witness to stories told
From both sides of the Shannon,
Mainly the East for the
Time being,
As you would have it -
If you would have it;

I am not the same spirit of
Last winter,
Just made from a different air
That allows wind to swell and slip
Through tight corners of
Time and tidal waves
With more ease.

Someone flew to and from Germany,
And if they are back on home soil
I am afraid it wouldn't make 
Any odds to me.
Another village soul brought charm
To an otherwise dreary summer
Yet still managed to hide behind
A veil of suspicion come September -
Like a playwright scrambling words
For an inconclusive Act to the drama
And God help him if he bumps
Into me in Eurospar.

My friends under glass,
These names can fly in and out
As easily as the clock strikes 12 twice daily,
They do not stick,
They do not linger,
But you manage to,
We will not move your place from
The mantlepiece or hallway walls
Or the shelf of smiles by the
Front door.

Spring brings new growth, surely?
Let those withered brambles do away with
I had not been home in four months;
Umpteen hellos and inquiries of life's 
General fashion of passing -
It had been 13 years since I smelt
Lilies as strong as these
A child before -
A woman now.

There in the porch, he lay
Bead-covered hands wrapped
On top of a navy tailored suit
Hands of my grandfather that;
Drove trains in Birmingham,
Cut turf every May,
Sifted through cards in a game of 25,
Curled around the steering wheel of his
Volkswagon Polo to pick me up
From school.

A strong man,
A good man he was,
Our John.

What is life?
Is it an unknown act or art of progression?
Because even if one tries to quietly
Sit in a corner of Vicar Steet,
You may still receive three
Standing ovations,
As president.

But you will have the eternal love
Of your children,
As The King,
Even if you struggled to remember
Their names towards the 
Finishing line,
When the curtains draped over on
A life lived,

As you join my dear friends
Under glass. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A Stream of Consciousness | For My Pals

There are many things in my day-to-day life that bring me sweet, utter and complete joy. Off the top of my head, here are some that are on my list:

Saying hello to people as I pass by them.
Facemasks and a chill playlist.
The first cup of tea in the morning.
Good company.

Today I want to elaborate on the latter.

I am about to progress onto my second year of university. While I am excited about what lies ahead and how everything will pan itself out, I cannot help but feel incredibly reflective of the year gone by. It is something that has dominated my poems of late ('Twenty', 'Coming of Age' and 'To Leave, To Live) but I have not elaborated to any great length or depth in the written word, here.

A young Catherine spent a lot of her time praying for the day to arrive where most things, or at least important things would fall into place. She willed whatever Greater Being there was to show her what it was like to feel understood, that she belonged. In school, she typically kept a lot of thoughts to herself and often did not pass comment in groups for fear of being talked over or her words falling flat in empty air. She clocked in every morning and clocked out in the afternoon, threw herself into homework in the evening and aimed to get enough sleep to get her heels out of bed the next day.

Often, looking at herself in the mirror in the morning to adjust the collar of her blouse, the same question would flash through her mind, “How in the name of God am I still able to do this?”

At her debs, towards the end of the night, a (rather intoxicated) classmate reminisced the “good aul’ craic” that was had over their six years of schooling together, to which she merely nodded. Walking back from the smoking area (which she only passed time and attempted to avoid second-hand smoke), he swung back to her to make a final comment:
“But you, Catherine, were always on the sidelines.”
Knowing there was no reasoning with him, and a high likelihood of him failing to remember what he had said, she kept a level head.

“Maybe that was where you put me and kept me, but that is somewhere I certainly won’t be for much longer,” she said before taking a swig of her drink and walking away with a swoosh of her skirt across the function room into the nightclub.

Fast forward two months later and I began to meet an endless number of people, who would without knowing themselves, go on to help shape how I delved into my personhood from there on in. This has involved everyone from my housemates, journalism crew, friends of friends, other supa fly peeps who came along the way and random drunken chats in the girls’ toilets (if we’re being completely honest here).

There have been small things too of course, more significant things that have hallmarked their way into my memory to stay, some of which I will list, in no particular order:

The high-fives I received from my friends as they walked in and saw I finally got the seating I needed for my lectures.

Nights in with my SWIG gang and our Christmas dinner to which I got “BOOTY-CALL” shouted at me for unfortunately having to leave early for reasons which were most definitely not of that nature.

One of my closest friends offered to meet me in town to bring me home after I rang her, aimlessly walking around a college campus not familiar to me following news I received which was not sunshine and roses. An hour later I finally got a bus home, but she met me at my flat with a bottle of wine and popcorn.

Having had only two hours sleep on said night above mentioned, I was adamant I would not miss out on a lecture. Someone popped down to me from the back of the lecture room with a scone in a brown paper bag, hugged me and said; “I know, and it’s awful. But he is irrelevant. I am staying with you next Thursday and we will do something fun.”

The willingness of anyone who has been happy to link with me en route from pre-drinks to the bus to town, or from town to home in the little hours of the night, you are honestly the truest gems.

Bonfire night, two mates came down for a visit. We tried to locate a “secret beach”, which ended up being the most well-known beach in Achill. I proceeded to suffer from the worst hangover in all eternity, but of course, completely worth it.

Leaving Hangar and my pal sitting in the front seat asking the taxi driver: “Whats your full name Mr Driverman?”

Literally, anytime I go shopping with the intent of purchasing hippy pants and/or bralettes (yes, shock horror), I always think of a certain Foody friend (I hope you’re reading this lol).

Playing Mario-Kart with my housemates and our friends, living life content with our Dominoes order. My lamp that made a number of appearances, was placed in the corner of the room to give a lilt of “ambiance” that humble student accommodation struggles to provide. We all loved that lamp.

These are only a fraction of summarised stories I think of regularly. They are some of the stories, though in their own small and big ways, have helped me to find peace with the world I am a mere spec of. There are stories I could tell that have come about more recently, but I would be here writing a book.

The one thing that they all have in common is; the individuals behind them all hold the kindest of hearts and free spirits. I think as a creative person, connections such as these can form the fundamental bones of tangible art which one can ultimately go on to feeling spiritually strong and content.

As whimsical as that may sound, that has what has unfolded in this chapter in this tidal wave of my life.

Thank you, my wondrous pals, let’s keep swimming.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Twenty | A Poem

At sixteen I confessed;

I need to find a new place to
Rest my head
Away from what I knew before,
Away from Jacks of all Trades and
Masters of none
Away from where my eyes struggle
Under the weight of a thousand suns
Away from a veil which was 
Placed over my mouth and
I forgot how to speak for months
On end.

Tell me,
How fast can you spell 
It comes about in the smiles of 
Others reflected right
Onto me,
It comes in fleeting fashion,
A swing of a pendulum I do
Not even own
But I pray that it will land in such
A way that I can
Feel myself again -

Enough to let all the love
I want to feel
For myself
And those around me,
Pour through the valleys
To flush all the matter that
Caused such hurt here.

And I would wish for these times
To be finite,
Like a mere spec in a Van Gogh
Resting as delicate accidents
That do not impose on the
Brush strokes 
Surrounding it;
Forming miles upon miles of
Constellations that make up

Utterly and

Letting the parts that are lovable
Bloom a brilliant elixir –

At nineteen,
There was a reprieve,
In the deepest depths of a wintry summer, 
Strings came to life in a church,
Bare feet dancing as if moving
On hot sand,
A technicolour display on the alter,
A whole new religion created

That was where I wanted to stay,
Not to worship a God belonging to 
Anyone, but
An art that ties us all together
And binds our souls in a sacrament
Of words and notes
That lilt the heart to peace.

At twenty,
I believe the valleys will remain,
Through the smaragdine mist, 
I'll find a palace I can waltz in,
That I could call home,
At least for a while -
No petticoats or lavish frocks
No hand of an emperor’s son,
But just to feel at peace
In the safety of the steps.