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Poetry Magnum Opus


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  1. dedalus

    it's dark in the woods today

    Another well-written rumination: 'weep' might be a touch too much and might be replaced by 'sigh'. (Just a suggestion.) I like the appearance of rhymes and near rhymes, 'fairies have danced/ leaf and branch'; 'with not a bird to be heard'. Cheers, Bren
  2. dedalus

    Geoghan's Ghost

    I. Aequam memento rebus in arduis seruare mentem, non secus in bonis ab insolenti temperatam laetitia, moriture Delli, --- Horace, Odes, Book II, iii. Geoghan tempers his moods of disquiet with appeals to ancient personal gods, pre-Christian, yes, that goes without saying, but also pre-Celtic: he seems to gallop across the millennia instead of a few mere centuries, swearing or perhaps just furiously praying, as he races to catch the 16A to Beaumont with shoelaces undone and his long dark coat wantonly flapping in the wind that whishes and whooshes, aweela, wet from the slimegreen sea. Geoghan invokes secret unheard of names and powers that were hoary with age in the time of Baal and Amon Ra; where has he learned these fearful Stone Age imprecations? Surely not at home with the mammy and daddy and his three sisters, one of whom plays the harp and the other two dainty violins, there in the plateglass bungalow picked out from the All-Ireland Book of Designs for Virtuously Vulgar Modern Living, garnished with garden gnomes imported fresh from England, Happy and Smiley, Doc and Dopey, Harold Wilson. Geoghan’s oul fella was a turf accountant, as we say, with our penchant these days for the gombeen genteel, our building maintenance operators, our facilitators, our elderly female recluses, kept well away from society and formerly known as nuns; the priests, heaven help us, are still in evidence, and you’ll find a fair few number when fire alarms ring in the jollier parts of the city: Come out there, Father, amn’t I holdin yer trousers? Young Geoghan was never much good at manly sports, at thumping others for the possession of a pig’s bladder and then kicking it up and away like all our national teams so that your heart could weep out of sheer frustration: ah, would you pass or dribble, and not from yer bloody mouth? But … but he had a steady sort of way about him, not at all what you’d expect at the Christian Brothers where they’d be beating away all that shite and nonsense the minute you’d look up to stare in their dark flushed faces; the fact is, they could feel something; and they were afraid of him, not that at first I felt the same myself; no, that was later when he’d look at me with those strange sea-washed eyes, grey-green, pebbly, distant, unspeakably cold and old, and it was then you’d feel the odd involuntary shiver and would offer a joke or a beer, anything to break the tension. Well, he died, of course, our poor unknowable friend, and it is the matter of his end I wish to speak of. II. Inde fit ut raro, qui se vixisse beatum dicat et exacto contentus tempore vita cedat uti conviva satur, reperire queamus. --- Horace, Satires, Book I, i. It’s only now I’ve decided to break my long silence; I was afraid, quite frankly, of powers I could not control, and I didn’t have the protection or belief of poor queer Geoghan. I was brought up with the mumbo-jumbo of an executed god, a new departure in religious thinking, when you stop to think, a god who becomes the sacrifice, not the demanding recipient, a god who says turn the other cheek and then does fuckall for you. Geoghan saw through all that. Let me tell you what happened. He got it in his head, seriously, he could stop the war in Iraq and so prayed for forty days and nights, each day with two bottles of wine (red and white) just around the corner from Trinity at the Lincoln Inn, then, his vigil over, he proceeded, ceremoniously, to forlorn Ballsbridge and the rounded concrete fortress of the unlovely American Embassy. There for a while he disappeared, and his nervous band of acolytes (I was not among them) stubbed endless cigarettes on the grey pavements and waited and waited and waited for a sign. None, of course, came. After three days helicopters arose like dragonflies in the clapped-out dishwatery mauve and filthy pink of a ho-hum Dublin dawn and shots were fired, we heard them, and the Air Force was called out, all three of our serviceable planes, they went sqwark … sqwark … sqwark to each other on the radio, like demented parrots, and we could all hear them on Radio One; overall, it wasn't a great day for Ireland’s Intrepid Airmen, with the other two muppets cheering them on from the ground, their airplanes wouldn’t kick over when they’d stuck in the keys. O Kathleen Mavourneen, the grey dawn is breaking, The horn of the hunter is heard on the hill; The lark from her light wing the bright dew is shaking … so we hared over to Howth Head and Killiney, to the high ground, to the two encircling, ensnaring arms of this fiercely possessive city, and from there we could see it all, but what we saw can never be agreed. The Americans … Irish military gunships? …tried to shut down the whole business with their broken old record, their fee-fi-fo-fum of GWOT and Guantanamo, but you might as well try to stop the tide as stop the Irish from talking, although nobody (this happens a lot in Ireland) could quite agree. Only I could see a strange awkward figure hovering, balancing there in the whooshing air, his coattails flapping like the dark raven’s wings on Cuchulainn’s shoulder, his mouth open in an O with a force of words that only I could hear and yet barely make out, with the rush of the wind and the clatter of the blades, and yet it sounded like … Hilatoth …Hilagath … Hilga .. Hilgamoth? the sacred and doubtless secret name of a long-forgotten but unburied god, and then Geoghan transposed into a flash of light and his form was gone forever. No body was ever recovered. And the war in Iraq was joined by another in Afghanistan . . . .
  3. dedalus

    Other people's poems

    and if we are lucky and empty enough we can taste it again and again. Amen!!
  4. dedalus

    I want to hold you

    I want to hold you but I cannot hold you … not in front of a policeman not when the lights are turning red not when people are looking not when your eyes are shining not when a cough is coming not when war still rages not when the climate changes not when children are hungry perhaps when it rains we can smile into one another’s eyes and hide under my big umbrella but the people will bump into us from before and behind and say, move along there, move along !
  5. dedalus


    PCoD It was the right place in some senses, the wrong one in others. Being here had confirmed my faith, but weakened my conviction. Now the calendar bends to another day, the clock to another hour. There is nothing to be ashamed of, nor anything to be proud of either. Swallows swoop on the skyline, the gnats, they jazz in the air. Beyond the treeline, to your lower left, lies a very successful prison camp. This is the way you wash our hands, wash your hands. This is the way you wash your hands, in blood and not with water. You do not want to go, you do not want to go, even though. this condemns you to your present life, cowed, rat-scared and obedient. Put down a comma after your name, and not the usual line of periods. Periods give the appearance of bullet holes, or PCoD, Probable Cause of Death. This is the way you dry your hands, dry your hands. This is the way you dry your hands, on animal fur after slaughter.
  6. dedalus

    Apro pros pigeons

    Verbal vaities , oops, vanities, ...good on yer! Pity we can't unbuckle and return fire ... a bit much for Hyde Park I suspect. Got your PPM but attempts at a reply failed ... after being written of course! I picked up on the reference immediately having spent the first part of the year in hospital myself. And God how I disliked it!!! Hope you are feeling stronger ... strong enough to stay out of the place. Bren
  7. dedalus


    Regard the gimcrack jalousies of the jaded south whence come cries of anguish rolling over the plain. Grandparents will outlive their children’s children and mothers, hollow-eyed, will take to their beds. The War, say the living, is over! But it will never be over for the dead, blank-eyed, rotting in the fields. The cause was no sudden desire for fame or freedom; just the more normal urge for greed to seek advantage. Very few lives would be transformed by final victory; and very many lives simply ceased to continue. Alas! keen the warriors’ wives, their mothers and sisters, their daughters … and even their fifty-cent scarlet women. That such a thing should be. That such an awful thing should be allowed to continue. It will always continue as long as spring and autumn rains fall down on this earth, as long as tides rise and fall under their distant mistress, as long as lovers maintain their close understandings and keep a flame burning amid all demand and excess.
  8. dedalus

    Near Xanadu

    Poetry was sung, and then chanted. This ties in with the ceremony of early (and even later) Christian services: the High Mass is a prime example. Now we can decide where Bob Dylan fits in ....
  9. dedalus

    Near Xanadu

    This is a bit over the top, even for me! I was playing around the other day (it was raining) and started writing down alliterative and semi-alliterative phrases. I decided to see if I could put them together and make a poem. Voila! What you see is what happened. The biggest job was in trying to get lines of equal or similar length. Mea culpa. <Bren>
  10. dedalus

    I read of your demise in the gazette

    Killer final line !!! Very jolly for an elegy but I'm sure "the departed" would have approved.
  11. dedalus

    Near Xanadu

    Amid lurid banners and flowing brash regalia, he sought excitement in style, truth in harmony, but found neither: the shade trees of persuasion lined the Avenue of Lies in sycophantic symphony, a cosmic clang of frivolities, the troubled words, and driven speech of those left languishing behind, in a dispensation of dull and dismal diminutives, a somnolent seedy selection of lazy lying words and melancholy melodies; brush all aside, Sir, and enter the cool vacant space beyond such things where lissome girls greet you with goblets of wine, with sweetmeats, with dishes of pale plump fruit .
  12. dedalus


    I think it's a marvelous poem and agree that one should write these things down before they disappear with the evanescence of dreams. What to do with them next is a problem, of course, but in this case my advice would be to stick with it. It's always easier to write a new poem, something fresh and just out of the oven, but there are also times when one is obliged to stay with a poem and make alterations , not only for the sake of one's readers and critics but ultimately for oneself as well.
  13. dedalus


    Very powerful and very good! The work is indeed excellent but some parts of it remain unclear/ underdeveloped: a) "ebb and flow of euphemism/ and exaggeration.": Ebb and flow are opposites but euphemism and exaggeration are not, and the apparent intention to compare eb & fl, with euph. and exagg. fails in consequence. b)the vagrant wind(s) of logic and compassion fill the sails, not TO fill. c) How does one go about comparing and contrasting "logic and compassion" with "human iteraction and ambition"? See a) above. d) an unwarned and unexplained jump to violent images after the 8 rather cool Latinate abstractions preceding. e) what is a 'dry' finger? f) of a laboratory desk, a desk ingrained/ with (the) names of all who went before. The poem is excellent in terms of its theme or driving idea, but needs more work in terms of structure. Cheers, Bren
  14. The procession halts in a fanfare of blazing trumpets, a cough of rolling drums. Sudden silence! Let me introduce my friends: step up and say hello! Gene is acrobatic: he scurries in and out of locked rooms, but has never yet been caught. Anne is temperamental, which means what it says, mental with a temper. I shall chew the leafy drug, remove but some of my clothes, and sing the song of loneliness. Outside there is the rain which runs along the road. My words are all in vain, and stumble out in code. Turn back time forever, no longer let it run. This, then, this endeavour, halts. Here , then, it is done.
  15. dedalus

    Grand Isle, Louisiana, 1900

    Thank you! That puts a certain amount of life (by which I mean the real breathing thing) into the poem!

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