Handwritten Poetry Gift

Regular price €50,00

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My poems are about things like grief, family, redemption, love, revolution, vision - the age old themes, done my way. I'm one of the best known contemporary irish poets, have won many awards, & regularly appear on/in national media

Handwritten version of any of selection below is 50 euro - bound to rise in value as time goes by. Frame it for your own wall or buy it for a poetry loving friend or friend in need of poetry. 

As well as a nice gift for you or friend, you'll be directly supporting the work of an independent, grassroots irish artist - for which eternal gratitude! If you have enjoyed any of the work I distribute for free all year round, this is a chance to show appreciation! Below is a selection of ten poems to choose from for your gift. 





The Four Honesties


The honesty of wind: everything must whistle by, everything must blow.


The honesty of sea: everything must churn, everything must flow.


The honesty of sun: everything must feed the fire, everything must glow.


The honesty of earth: everything must go to seed, everything must sow.




I am Salmon


I am Salmon.

I am Salmon in a poisoned stream,


trying to heal myself

upriver like you.


Part healed and part poisoned then,

and part-poisoning too.




Explanations of War


See all those bright lights whizzing around in the sky-

They are only the stars throwing a party.

And the shaking you feel beneath you,

The shaking that jars your teeth and your bones-

That is only the way the earth dances.

And the bangs and roars, the cracks and blasts and booms-

These are only the sounds of little spirits tuning their instruments.

And the horrible wailing that rises and falls, rises and falls above the buildings-

That is only the rooftops shrieking their envy that they cannot fly off.

And the high fires that climb above the rooftops-

These are the rejoicing souls of our city flying to heaven.

And the black clouds of smoke blotting the beautiful woman of the moon-

These are our dark acts evaporating.

And you my child, lying still in my arms,

Lying stiff as a mould of ancient clay,

You my child, you are only sleeping.




For the Tuam Babies


Nameless in life

we died without names 

because without a name 

we couldn’t live

and without a life 

we couldn’t die 

and if we didn’t die 

we weren’t killed

and if we weren’t killed 

no-one killed us

and if no-one killed us 

there are no killers

and if there are no killers 

then no-one can lie 

about the lives

we didn’t live 

and the deaths 

we didn’t die




At Oscar Wilde’s Grave


Who stole the angel’s glory?

Still, you’ve got the rarest grave in Pére Lachaise, 

Granite teeming with lipstick kisses,

A shoal of petals in a mountain lake, 

A cloud burst of tropical fish,

And taped to a withering rose there’s a note:

Thank you for teaching me that I was good.


I kiss the teacher too,

For you are more than welcome

To the imprint of my gaping mouth 

If I can stay awhile in reverence

To watch my wet gift fading, 

November sun licking my lips.




Migrants March, Genoa, July 19, 2001


After the warm embrace 

of a cheerful revolutionary monk 

from Salerno 

I get to chatting in some kind of pidgin


to an Iraqi man who has pedalled 

all the way here from Paris on a rickshaw.


‘Cead Mile Failte’, our ten word Italian lexicon,

my leaving cert pass French, 

salut, comment tu apples? 

The universal bits of English 

like ‘War’ and ‘McDonalds’.



our conversation’s broken up

by the roar that meets a band of Kurds arriving

in Piazza del Kennedy 

behind the yellow banner of the PKK.


And then eighty cyclists hooting and whooping in from Berlin.


The slogans surging up the back 

of fifty thousand throats 

to greet them in our provisional republic.


Free-Free Kurdistan. 

So-So Solidarité.

A- Anti- Anti-capitalista. 

Un altro mondo é possible. 

Noi siamo tutti clandestini.


A language we all understand.

Is there any such thing as Ireland?




To a ghost


Why should you, 

who had no shield, 

stand guard for me?


How would you cleanse,

when you never got 

a leg up from the muck ?


What kind of guide would you make,

who stumbled one-eyed 

in the half-light all her life?


And why should you forgive,

who never had 

a decent shot at sin?


It's too stupid even to talk to you.

You do not listen. 

You are not there.


Not a look out perching on my shoulder.

No becalming whispers 

in my sleepless midnight ear.


Your only haunting is 

a question

that permeates the air


though I can find no answer

and you 

will never tell.


For what, ghost, 

do you come here?

For what, my angel, did you live? 




Post Natal Ward, Holles Street


Here at the end of a billion year voyage of drudge

and trumping ridiculous odds 

touch remains the cleanest kind of knowledge.

The only law is shamelessness.

Here mouths remake their promise

as the standards of the heart,

every utterance amazes,

each tiny cry is the aboriginal of language. 

Tears are a global alphabet of blood.  

Milk a miracle of opulence, 

and the currency of love.


Only the walls I'd nail as stately hypocrites 


when what can be told 

is only a mist of moving bulks, 

nothing definite.




Dominic Street, A Recipe.


To make a beach 

where there is only worn out grass

you need a lot of cider going around.


You need a cast of galloping three to nine year olds.

You need the male chest and the Chinese alphabet.

You need the sun.

You need the drone of various miniature engines.


You need two lads leaning on the railings

who can no longer speak

and have lost the fear of drowning.


Passing by in the haze

You need yourself 

Still wet with the belief

that beyond the light splintering on broken glass 

and beneath the busted footpaths

there are seabirds,







Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains


I believe in them, so they do exist.


In the Wicklow Mountains

It is easier to hide than you think.


Behind waterfalls. 

In sunless crevices.

In densest rhododendroned foliage.


On slopes of fluttering shadow and scree.


Nothing I know of, apart from these lines,

Speaks of this tribe.


They might be waifs that escaped from

The lead-mines.


They might be vagrants who dropped

out of ballads and poems.


They might be rebels

Who outran the redcoats

Until the redcoats dissolved.


They might be ravers and Wiccans

who squat in high ruins

holding thousand day hooleys,

cavorting in roofless great halls.


They might change into foxes in moonlight

And paw through the motorway snow

To scavenge the exurban dustbins.


But, sincerely, this tribe has no patterns. 

It fits no descriptions.

Nothing about it ­­– beyond its certain existence – translates:


No reason, 

no theses, 

no customs, 

no goal.


The tribe is my credo. 

That’s all.


Strong is my faith.

Strong is my beat.

Strong is my magic.

Strong is my want


& wanting, I rise till

I’m vanishing with them,


Spinning in to a mist

Where I’ll never be spotted

Above Mullaghcleevaun.


It’s so righteous to stray.

It’s so good to abandon.

It’s so just to ascend

With the lost and forgotten


To summits the rooted

cannot even Imagine.