When the gardener came to his garden,
he found the flowers uprooted,
the vegetables kicked to a pulp
and the worst of unmentionable words
carved in the immaculate turf.
The old man broke down and wept
and then he set to work.
Now all has been renewed
and the garden more loved than ever.
The vandals’ work is viewed
as a favour more than an error.
You see, the unmentionable word
has become a floral feature,
which he tends with the sunniest grin
if anyone dares look in.
Leave me with no shoes,
I don’t need shoes
to walk the lonely beach
at quiet time.
I don’t mind getting sand
between my toes
and after that
the world can simply go.
Or, better still,
the world can simply stay,
go on turning
for another day.
Just point me
where the blue turns into blue,
l won’t need fetching
and I won’t need shoes.
Dark came love one evening,
shone fierce then darkly went,
like ashes up a chimney
that won’t see fire again.
Ashes up a chimney
that glowed when love was all.
Tomorrow comes the bailiff
and then the wrecking ball.
With the blinking of her eye,
his face revealed a lie
to turn the summer sky
to darkest grey.
But her eyelid didn’t close
until she learnt what she now knows.
He was too slow and now reposes
in his grave.
I see nothing
but an old black door,
and a hungry tramp,
Now, like some bar-room bore,
I come back with leftovers
of a time before
there ever was the drink.
Oh, lay a blanket
on the floor
and make an offering.
Take comfort in this refuge
of the damned;
or any place you can,
just like a tramp
Everyone knows very well,
when a tortoise loses his shell
then everything goes to hell.
Everything goes to hell.
Oh misery, misery me,
I’m as wrinkly as can be
and a book is no company
for the evening.
Now the girls won’t give me a look.
What fun can you have with a book?
The wrinkles was all it took.
Sometimes, watching birds in flight,
I wonder what it’s like
to rise up too,
be raised up too,
like when your father
used to lift you shoulder-high
and you felt special.
That’s quite a fall,
to feeling not so special any more,
like there’s nothing there at all.
You were just small;
are still just small.
And birds are small:
aviators of strange genius
that seen in flight,
move me to imagine what that’s like.
Much to admire -
I would fly higher.
When Father collapsed and died in Dublin,
I was eating a very good chocolate muffin.
Mother screamed. A teacup fell.
It’s not that he’d even been unwell.
I’m afraid I took another bite.
It was exceptionally moist and light.
There was some kind of party on the beach last night.
They played wild music, slaughtered oxen to the gods,
someone pushed my car into the ocean,
they fought with knives, sported like dogs.
I watched these sad devotions
through binoculars that survived a war
and though I felt afraid at first,
I’m not for running anymore.
Some say we are a warlike people,
some say we are driven by peace,
I came here to die quietly
and do so every eve.
So this morning while the fires still smoulder,
and my blood boils over,
know that I am finally out of reach,
time to raise a fire upon the beach.
Build it high and build it strong,
so that it burns the whole night long,
so that it leaps and snarls and roars
and someone play that record by The Doors.