And Willy Wonka Continues to Stare...

There are efforts evident behind the glass On red, red temperamental Material, fabric, dressing – ‘Bee Mine,’ says the Teddy; And Willy Wonka continues to stare: A study in poise, self-assured Enough to expect That one day, maybe soon His heir will materialise Like his wondrous creations And build an Empire all his own....

Monologue on a mountain...

When we got out it was cold and dreary and I began to regret my choice of undergarments like Prince Harry in Blackadder had as he prepared to watch his brother Edmund burn to death. Soon enough I got into it. As long as I was moving I hardly noticed the wind. The mountain seemed insurmountable though, covered in mist and wet-looking. Luckily though, as we reached the top, the clouds parted just about us and there appeared a massive swathe of blue that remained for quite a while. The lakes were inspiring; I thought of the Romantic poets as I looked down into first the Devil’s Punchbowl and then Horse’s Valley (?). Words like “vertiginous” and “craggy,” “savage” and “maw” suggested themselves, calling like familiar and welcome visitors from my past. Now and then my legs threatened to give out and these moments were opportunities to daydream about being a soldier in Afghanistan or Guadal Canal, carrying fifty kilos of gear on my back and thinking about encountering the enemy on the ridge ahead or beyond it. The mind wanders so insistently on the mountain, most especially when I find myself desirous of silence and trying to filter out some conversation between three or four young fellas in which I’ve no wish to engage. Mostly though, it was a case of admiring the beauty up there: the clouds like volcanic smoke rising from little valleys; the way stones were, by myriad forces, strewn in a heap here or flattened out unevenly there; moss-covered remains of fence-posts and green, slippery rocks; the customary cairns, some without any clear purpose: “it just becomes an activity,” Tim complained, as I added to one of them; an amorphous and massive medallion of light on the fieldscape in...

Man with Beard and Cigarette...

Deserted beach front clapboard housepaint peels Grey stones, white froth, seabirds Along the shore; Flotsam dreams of plastic bottle broken- Backed over fish head eyes astill; To see an emboldened sky cry Silver droplets clean the bottle once and for all.   A man with beard and cigarette looks on – Aghast. R.H....

Ambition

Time the Healer goes forth With all aplomb; Exudes the shape of lion and tiger brawn. And jungle palm frond Whipped in windy blast; The pond fills up with muddy-watered brim. A shack to house the hunters ‘Neath a cliff And green-leafed brazen boys and men attend Who Ambite to dredge their souls. For all delude Their mothers yarn on days all gladly come....

A Finger Hovers O’er the Town Beyond...

Clearly our options are somewhat narrow; The living of our time and its shrouded jargon – A landscape’s load, burden of salt Preserves the poisoned Sweat of a nation. A glimmer of sanded gloaming; Wretched blurred figures approach With black hearts poised A finger hovers o’er the town beyond....

Partition of the Soul by Luke Dilworth...

Living side by side for centuries until two worlds diverge at a centrepoint, Eyes fixed on our Berlin, our Cyprus, our Jerusalem, David’s lies and James’ determination drove scores over the edge, From bogside battles to attempted stormings on Crumlin Road   Second-class citizens in a place only up the road from a majority, Gerrymandering was the order of the day, Devlin’s entry into Stormont was destined to doom, An unwillingness to throw in the towel to subserviance led them to war,   Brothers killing brothers became the common sight on the evening news, The colours were as bright as was the blood lost led us to that eventful Sunday, The day that innocence died and British credibility, Brutal sectarian violence kept hold until our Lord’s holy day   But lest it be forgotten that at night’s end only one track can be forged and that is of the...

Then and Now

Kick against the pond That fetid green; Close your eyes in the sun. Light appears from the weir And you remember Summer days: The strange fact of their Pastness, Your licences then – and now....

CSN is 50: Poem: “The Dog” by Daniel Dilworth...

Charlie the labrador Sat at the window day after day His world peaceful, still and slow; Next to the fridge is where he liked to lay The status quo unchanged for years But One Day it ended in revolution. Maxwell took over the stage, Quickly joined by Alex. Charlie’s days of life of leisure Ended too abrupt. ‘Caducity is gaining on you,’ Maxwell would taunt: ‘Life is always quick.’ Alex ate the labrador’s fill And ousted him from his bed. Slowly everything turned: Cat, rabbit, hamster All bowing to the pair. Charlie, overthrown, now slandered! Shadow of his former self. ‘Shame’ and ‘bitch’ and ‘ignorant swine;’ The cat, the rabbit and the hamster all Uneasily joined in, Subjected to the endless strife Put down as the evil foe; Charlie bowed out. Alas, they thought they had won in the end. The benevolence of the labrador: Despite all his faults was demonised. His legacy crushed, they...

CSN is 50: Poem: “Footprints” by Liam Whelan (Winner)...

Like an emigrant on deck I steal a backward glance At the land we leave behind. This family life Turns vestige before me. At dinner I play tourist And fashion memory’s souvenirs; I see flour on my mother’s hands And its dusting on the floor. Now she peels potatoes. Now he tells a joke. This I witness from my limbo, Stuck between now And now...

Landscape of the Berserk...

Landscape of the berserk And forsaken fortitude; Numbed to the core A shell of sense – vapid. Talk of recovery With words that are mere Shapes that glister. But onward, onward, Ever onward. R.H.

Conform by Euan Lindsay...

In this, the grove of contentment There’s a corner tranquil.   Here’s escape from remorse To serenity;  Equanimity   Patrols the air, the grove – It attacks any invading senses with Blitzkrieg – And placid in the corner lies Our patch of stolidity. Ataraxia coats the grass   In it there stands a lone, dead rose   Its wilted stem beautifies The circular circumference The gentle crack of petals grey; The solemn breeze casts Shatters of difference All over the garden of indifference.   A thunderous footstep interrupts The neutrality of bliss existing Between both dead and living organisms Growing louder and louder, closer and closer.   In one fleet downward gesture the rose is crushed Under a boot of conformity.   All remains of the renegade lie atop the floor, dead; The garden now stands Completely perfect, Completely dependable, Completely similar....

Skull by Liam Whelan

We called it Grandpop’s Rock but rock is sharp & suggests nothing of this dark stone that rose smooth-shouldered from the water.

Time? by Euan Lindsay...

Two choices: either miss or hit, Either in or out, either you Enjoy the challenge Of the new Piece of paper Or I sit back and wallow As the sheet hurtles towards The cylindrical silver void In the corner of the room. Indulge the bin! Go on, take all That was Written into the supernova By the Photocopier, Its lethargic spin Takes The clock hands in unison; Time slows, the rotation of the earth Stalls for breath: “Perhaps it has been long enough.” Her eyes are not as fixated as mine; Gushing winds commute diametrically To that of the scrap, less than a second now; Or is it an hour? Is it a day? I can feel myself Ageing with the paper. Perhaps I am To be binned; Perhaps we are to be binned The silver knight strikes away The advancing renegade Sends it to pulp                                                                                                                                                                           Fostered by steel                                                                                                                                                                           but housed by reality                                                                                                                                                               Staring at the paper on the floor,                                                                                                                                                 A gentle exhale                                                                                                                                                                    Extended from the throne to my left: “So close; next time,” she remarks; My turn to agree: “Yeah, next...

Yeats’ “Airman”...

Yeats’ poetry is very much an historic record of Ireland throughout some of its most troubled years; it’s much more besides however. There is a universal aspect to Yeats’ themes: he concerns himself with unavoidable life challenges like ageing, the role of art, violence and individualism. Regardless of what theme he is exploring, he relies on contrast and symbolism as well as imagery. Thus, there is much to admire thematically as well as in terms of style. There is much in Yeats’ work to engage a student of history. Much of it is contextual rather than informative. An Irish Airman Foresees His Death tells the personal story of one airman whose unique motivation is laid bare to great effect. Yeats intuits Gregory’s visceral response to the war; he is drawn as if by pure instinct not to any nationalistic principles but to the opportunities of battle for a fuller expression of who he is as a man and adventurer: “A lonely impulse of delight/Drove to this tumult in the clouds”. There may have been many such men and as many instincts, but we are shown Gregory and Gregory alone, and his voice is distinct and impressive. His aloofness is to the fore: “Those that I guard I do not hate/Those that I guard I do not love”. These is an extraordinary sense of balance in his tone and while he may seem to have a death wish such an impression is flawed: “I balanced all, brought all to mind”....

Life

Life, it’s good and bad. Someone, have a good life Someone, have a bad life  Someone is dreaming of good life  When somebody is already having a good life… We see and learn many things during life Someone always likes to dream When someone lives up to their dreams  We laugh we cry and we get angry When someone finds their life hard  Someone else finds it good and cool This is our life It could be bad or good, sad or happy Whatever happens live, laugh and love your life.   Peter...

Martha, baby, you’re so beautiful...

Martha, baby, you’re so beautiful. A muffin on the countertop. A cigarette lighter, pink, well-used. I remember your red Bike and the swing rope With the stick. You built it All on your own. The smell of sweat, the nice kind, like work. I never destroyed it. I think of the construction outside and those men who have wives And those who don’t. And now I feel your absence, Though you say You’re here in the kitchen The cash register’s broken And you’re using an old biscuit tin that says “Royal.” And that tattoo That circumnavigates your pretty ankle....

Being Me

I used to wear a mask, To hide who I was. I was afraid, Of what people would say. When I spoke, when I smiled.   I designed the mask, To protect myself. To hide. My sense of humour, My loves and, My hates.   The mask was an aid indeed. To help my life progress, In ways, which I could not have imagined. With the mask, I was smiling, laughing, “Being me.”   One day I realised, That I did not need, to wear the mask. If I was liked, for who I pretended to be, I would rather not be. Liked at all. By Cillian Cotter...

Dream

  It was a long time ago, I was born, I had almost forgotten my dreams for the future, My dream, As life went on it had vanished,  That dream was all over, Me and my dream were separated, When I was in collage I had a new dream, This replaced my forgotten dream, A new one, When me and my wife went to France,  She had new dreams for the both of us, She said “life does not go to plan all the time” People get older not younger, It goes to show you never stop growing up, When Dreams become...