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Thursday, 31 January 2013

LAST CONFESSION


You went to confession
once a week, Saturday evenings,
to get your “pot scraped”,
to tell all, or nearly all,
in the dark chapel booth,
whispering your venial trivia
to a priest’s silhouette,
feigning lump-in-the-throat regret,
anything easily excused and forgiven
to regain your licence for communion
on Sunday mornings, showing off,
a consistent holier-than-thou fraud,
unworthy to be in a house of God.

You timed your last confession
to the very moment of your death,
speaking your final, vile words
up to your last audible breath.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

AND WHAT OF THUNDER?


And what of thunder?  The anger, the rage,
the fury of noise, nature standing firm,
reasserting authority in what we hear,
reminding us we are less than a dot on life’s page.

And what of lightning?  The scything jagged streak,
the blinding flash, more brilliant than geniuses,
than the Machiavellian cunning of the powerful,
a reminder that the Earth is bequeathed to the meek.

Thunder to chastise, to stop us in our tracks,
moments when our true fears are laid bare;
lightning to strip us back to our foundations,
precious moments in the brightness of a spirit’s flare.



Tuesday, 29 January 2013

OLD SAILOR


I hate the ocean and I love the ocean,
My mood ebbs and flows with the tide,
I have my sins and I have my prayers,
But my guilt has nowhere to hide.

I often sit at the window
Staring out at the sea,
Hearing the whoosh, the whispers and moans,
Is a pain and a pleasure to me.

I am an old captain remembering friends,
The courageous young boys I led,
Storms and lightning ended their lives
And they haunt me now that they're dead.

No amount of regret will absolve me,
I have tried but found no release
From the chains of those terrible memories,
I hope they are resting in peace.

I drink whisky straight from the bottle,
Like the crew of the last ship I sailed,
I steered them to turbulent waters,
Now I live with the fact that I failed.

Monday, 28 January 2013

SONNET OF THE MODERN WORLD


The gall of our leaders to change their minds,
once elected to their power posts,
from their shredded manifestos, nothing binds,
promises and pledges thin as ghosts;
We live in times of turmoil, times austere,
of gung-ho wars and fat-cat bankers greed,
we tough it out and look for things to cheer,
considering desire or want or need;
One by one dictators fall from grace,
some by bloody means, by sword and fire,
not certain that the ones that take their place,
have the talents to encourage and inspire.
          But in this world of more bad news than good,
          We have love and must use it as we should.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

BELFAST MAN, 80


......caught in the squall, sir
ordinary people like me, sir
all we wanted was to get on, sir
no trouble sir, no hassle, sir
raise a family, sir
food on the table, sir
work and wages, sir
two nights a week in the pub, sir
simple things, sir
a bit of peace and quiet, sir
look out for each other, sir
stop looking back, sir
the here and now, sir
a future to look forward to, sir
thousands dead, sir
thousands maimed, sir
thousands traumatised, sir
thousands grieving, sir
what for, sir
what for, sir
the bastards in charge, sir
are no better than the bastards before, sir
in the blink of an eye, sir
the whole thing’s on its arse, sir
but don’t listen to me, sir
just an ordinary, ignorant, old has-been, sir
old shites like me never had a voice, sir
whatever you say, say nothing, sir
what’s the bloody point, sir
caught in the squall, sir......

Saturday, 26 January 2013

SAN FRANCISCO HAIKU SEQUENCE

The San Francisco haiku sequence that features in my crime thriller "Belfast Backlash" - paperback available exclusively from www.feedaread.com at £6.99



ding, ding, cable car
rumbles down Powell Street’s hill
-       passengers hang on 
*
people gazing down
from Macy’s cheesecake café
like eighth floor snipers
*
coffee cups, cell phones,
laptops in shoulder-slung bags
-       city on the move
*
artists exhibit
in the buzz of Union Square,
still life, unstill life
*
Lefty O’Doul’s bar,
piano man murders songs,
crime scene cabaret
*
beggar’s cardboard sign –
“I will be honest today,
I just need a beer”
*
banshee fire engines
wailing down O’Farrell Street
draws our eyes and ears 
*
Latino band plays
on a cool, late afternoon,
warm tunes and hot licks
*
exterior lifts
at the Westin St. Francis
slide up-down with grace
*
cables move the cars,
big wheels make the cables move,
cables never sleep
*
at John’s Grill chop house,
we share Dashiell Hammet’s
and Sam Spade’s dinner




Friday, 25 January 2013

EAT HAGGIS TONIGHT


Twas the month after Christmas and all through the house

Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibbled, the chocolate I'd taste.

All the festive parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales and saw my new weight

I began to regret the amounts on my plate
I'd remember the marvellous meals we’d prepared;

The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The wine and the turkey, the bread and the cheese

And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."
So--away with the last of the sour cream dip,

Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished

Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have the shortbread--not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a celery stick.
I won't have hot pancakes, potato bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore---

But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
I say cheers to you all on your New Year diet

But before all the calorie counting begins
There is one last good meal to eat for our sins
To have you all here is a joy and delight
As we celebrate Burns and eat haggis tonight.


Thursday, 24 January 2013

NUTCASE

"Nutcase"- a poem from "A Belfast Kid", paperback available from all major online bookselling sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, WH Smith, Foyles, Blackwell's..........


NUTCASE
  
Our first and only dog,
a pup, drowned by a nutcase,
didn't even have a name,
not sure if it was a he or a she,
not even sure if we heard it bark,
too young to have teeth to bite,
no time to get used to it being around,
just shocked by what the nutcase had done,
for nutcase reasons, for nutcase fun.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

HOP HAT

From the more general funny verse part of "Hamish Sheaney: The Nearly-Man of Irish Literature" on sale at £5.49 from all major online booksellers:


HOP HAT
Round and round
the milliner’s shop,
my group of rabbits
on the hop,
eating every type of hat,
until each one was very fat.

So now one of my magical habits
is pulling top hats out of rabbits.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

4 CUDDLY CAT POEMS


4 cuddly cat poems from the general humour part of "Hamish Sheaney: The Nearly-Man of Irish Literature" - paperback widely available online via all major booksellers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Blackwell's, WH Smith, Foyles, etc.)

1
FEE LINE
The day the cat
swallowed cash
was not a cause for pity
for after all
the end result
was money in the kitty
2
FELINE SORE
A cat chap
had a mishap
with a cat flap
due to back slap
KNIT CAT
Our cat married a ball of wool
because he was totally smitten
and very soon 
they were blessed
by the birth of a newborn mitten
4
PURRFECT
Intelligent cat,
meticulous cat,
when she was writing a letter
would work at the language
and aim for perfection, 
so she would get better and better.

Other cats sneered, 
insulted, derided
and call her a swot and a wuss,
but intelligent cat
stayed calm for she was
content as a grammar puss.

Monday, 21 January 2013

PURE FUN


From my book "A Belfast Kid", this is a memory of the "big snow" of 1963

There was meaning in the crunch and slosh of snow underfoot,
a particular remembrance of a deep white winter
when this ten-year-old boy witnessed a wow of excitement,
unable to see paths, gardens, roads where they were before
overnight layers of flakes buried the whole neighbourhood,
adults complaining things were bad, kids seeing only good.

Cold hands, frozen toes, risks of chilblains, all part of the game
in this brilliant-white landscape, a brand new playground to explore - 
snowball fights, falling over, stamping footprint patterns, enjoying
a pure sense of fun as if there would never be anymore.


"A Belfast Kid" is available in paperback from all major online booksellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, WH Smith............

Saturday, 19 January 2013

GLASS

In the moments
from the glass slipping
from my hand,
through it's falling,
to the shattering
on the stone floor,
I remembered something
I thought I'd forgotten
forevermore.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

IAN PAISLEY POEM FROM "A BELFAST KID"

From "A Belfast Kid" - paperback available for online ordering at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, WH Smith, Blackwell's and many more.  Also available at www.feedaread.com




MINOR INCIDENT BETWEEN MY MOTHER AND THE REVEREND IAN PAISLEY
This happened sometime in the early 1970s in our living room.
  
In an uncharacteristic burst of anger,
my mother once took off her slipper,
concentrated hard, took careful aim
and let fly at the television set.

On impact, the vase on top wobbled,
we kids tranced between gasp and cough
and the reason for mother's missile -
Ian Paisley shouting his mouth off.