These are just a few short poems selected for this website.

Many more can be found in Macdara’s books.

Who was it moving the curtain then?
Only the wind, the hand of the wind.

And who was it making light dance in the wind?
Only the sea-light caressing the sun.

Who was that walking when night came down?
Just a night-watchman thinking of home.

And whose was the face at my mountain window?
Only a dead tree white as a bone.

Whose was the fever then, cold in the sun?
Only my love’s when my love lies alone.

And who is the stranger I meet in the evening?
Only the future, love, coming and going.

After Humpty Dumpty fell apart
they said they would reconstitute him
in the Tat factory
iron out the folds in his carapace
rebuild him with sellotape and cowgum
three square meals a day
and some confrontation therapy

It would be hard they said
a stiff course for an egg
– an egg who suspected he’d be better off
robbing mail trains
or turning tricks on the canal bank –
a stiff course for an egg
but they would make a man of him

As in the end they did
a man of weights and measures
stripping five hundred crocus flowers
to procure an ounce of saffron

Driving from here to the city you will find
the Paradise Sexy Shop
just past the village of Strozzacapponi
not far from the Fairground
pick-up quarter – when the moon is right
lights glitter on the roundabout
and cars slow down pull up take off

Eiléan and Niall have gone to the fair
to celebrate the Fiera dei Morti –
tonight or tomorrow we’ll be eating
fave dei morti with apples and nuts:
but for now my son is sailing in the Barca
Halloween is hanging from the rafters
and the ship flies up and up

In Peredelkino among the leaves
Lev Oshanon eighty – five times married
Soviet balladeer lover and poet
is putting the last fine cut
to his life and work: A Half A Century
of Love Betrayal and Jealousy –
he dedicates it to his present wife

You should have come here when you drank
he says – and gives us Volga carp and vodka
apple-juice fire and welcome – two musicians
play the words: when I think of all
the women who have loved me
in that poisoned day
I remember the woman I betrayed

There is a filament that runs through this
the central nervous system of a fish –
I do not see the patterns in the fire
I see the fire itself and that’s enough:
for we are human and we could be doing worse
than driving half across the world to find
the Paradise Sexy Shop

Sit here and look
how everything is
once repeated

A heron
standing in the rushes
lozenge body

A lifetime spent as
man and bird
globule shape

Of water-light
from his underside

He fills
the undistracted silence
of himself

The empty park
the little breeze across
the lake

And silence
in his own dimension
of bird and fish

And bird alone
to be
as different as that

It was the great blind backs of the houses
I loved as a child
the high-up returns
and cabinets and superstructures
fumbling from the cliff
like the casas colgadas of Cuenca –
where I never managed
to spend that winter
warmed by burning wood
and Fundador yet staying austere
in the cold monastic picture I invented
for making poems –

It was the great blind backs
of the Dublin houses I loved then
and still love now
and how on sunlit mornings
or sunny slanting afternoons
they can surprise you:
all the random muffled shapes
in the wrapping
that pushing bulging strangeness
underneath the skin

Loosening the chains is easy
even down in the dark
but then there’s the canvas sack
and the bolted metal box
locked from the outside
and when you’re through the box
and the air’s running out
there are still the fathoms of water
and the surface ice
and when you break through that
you find it’s been raining for weeks

At this point those who know
breathe full and deep
in the welcoming lean of the sea
and walk out of the waves
across the curve of the beach
to make for home –
to make a fire in a hearth swept clean
in a galvanised bucket

Link to the Clare Island poems here.