Two Poems

Two poems just published in issue 201 of Orbis. The first one is about the gulls we know who live on the roofs around us; like dogs and cats, they all have different personalities once you get to know them. The second poem is about my father in Australia. 

For the gulls of central Dublin

Some refugees have wings and live in our world
because we took theirs from them. The ancients
learnt much from birds, and so have I these years:
determination and adaptability,
fighting for what is important to you
and letting the world hear you state your case.
I will forever remember them all:
Conor the Bold, foster-son and familiar;
Niamh the shrillest and Oisin the hoarsest;
Finbarr the Clown, whom I’ve known from the egg;
Saoirse, wearing her leg ring like a model;
Lorcan the Explorer, who returns each spring.
Companions in the struggle of life,
sharing the great nest of our city.


When the man first sat in this armchair
the house was full of wife and children,
but they all went away as usual
and quiet has taken their place,
so that his slowing footsteps echo
and fading shadows of things already known
surface and sink in his mind. So now
he sits and hears much more than ever.
The world outside has never stopped playing:
bird song, buzz of insects, wind and rain,
possums skittering above the ceiling,
the scrape of branches on the roof.
Before too long, the chair will be empty,
but the concert will go on and on.

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