March 24, 2020

O’Neill Cottage Hearth, County Clare

One spark; a beginning.

Centred heart, flames

feathering. Rising wings.

Peat bog turf, bricked.

Pieces of coal, rough-blackened.

Logs, mossy bark, lichen-dressed. 

Fragments, slivering;

coal, smouldering;

scarlet light, cast on far wall.



This tree, well rooted

on the night before it falls,

bends and shivers in the rain,

folds into itself and shrinks inwards.

When dawn comes, it pales, 

gold and red leaves fluttering,

finds limbs that are cut from trunk, 

one after the other, matchsticks on the ground.

Gathered now, set aside to dry out, 

piled up against a worn and kneeling fence.

Soon to hear crisp snap of flame—quick kindled—

coaxed to soaring; soon to blaze, s...

April 26, 2019

From here, from up above,        

Great Slave unveils itself        

slowly. With patience.            

Late May, and the ice          

is only just beginning to

break up in places. Stubborn.  

Blue that is so deep and true,

and sun that spears down

onto the water. Sky-bright.

A far northern lake that conjures the

sensual swirl of paper marbling:

steel stylus drawn slowly through ink;

half-thoughts and fancies, scattered;

paisleys that curl conjugal into one another;

white feathers dipped, rippling in green or indigo.

This is longing that can’t be denied, as ice reaches

for land, already knowing it won’t return.


April 23, 2019

(for Patti Kay & Terry)

From a distance, coming out of the woods,      

the birds look bright—a blur of sunlight        

and painted white wings, stretching.         

They fish by a rocky shore, their long necks          

reminding me of question marks against                

white water: these rhetorical avians.          

High above, in flight, they are only grace.       

Feathers swirl in circles, gathering sky,          

searching for flash of silver fin or scale below.   

They fish in the rush of rapids, but we...

July 20, 2018

Stand on the edge          

of this roughened shore:          

root yourself down          

into the bits of stone,          

find your toes wanting to          

bury themselves deep in          

beach pebbles that have been                  

ground down to soft grey                  

by this great lake’s waves.                 

The rain silvers itself,

hides behind windswept veils

that begin across the bay,

stretches forward wi...

May 20, 2018

I am both a walker and a hiker. As a walker, I wander at dawn through city streets and down towards the manicured lawns and concrete bricked pathways of my city’s local lakeside park, but as a hiker, I set off with an unbridled excitement, knowing I’m going to explore a wilder landscape than any that might centre itself around sidewalks or halogen street lamps that flick off just after dawn. As a walker, I don’t really think about whether or not I disturb the environment when I walk, mostly because it’s all a bit static. Everything is about traditional sorts of urban planning and linear thinking when you walk within a town or city. There are potholes in roads, drains that clog up with rottin...

May 4, 2018

(after Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways)


You make a choice, to walk out        
onto the frozen crust of a northern lake,        
even in what seems to be        
the coldest of mid-Januarys.        

One night, two weeks ago, in a sudden thaw,        
an ice-fishing hut slipped under,        
angled, swallowed whole, disappeared.      

You must choose to walk with open heart,
mind split wide, hemispheres of brain
emptying themselves onto rough shoreline
because it is not logic or reason that
has you catching your breath, unaware, 
startled by such beauty.


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