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Aisling 2016

‘Born to an unwed mother, Independence,’
the spéirbhean told me of young Ireland’s grief,
‘the Church immured her due to her descendance
and held her captive for the priest’s relief.

‘And when she came of age and thus the cleric
at last was done with her, he sold her to
the moneychanger, known for the barbaric
way that he treats his slaves, both old and new.

‘Today she works for nothing, suffers deeply,
does not get fed and, making matters worse,
gets whipped each evening just before she’s cheaply
whored out to pay for debts that are not hers.

‘There’s just one way that we can put things right:
let Ireland and her mother reunite!’

1 - Aisling 2016

1 - Aisling 2016

1 - Killaspugbrone Poem

1 - Killaspugbrone Poem


Restless waves pet the cliff where the graveyard
is creating a life of its own,
and the April winds blow through the ruins
of the church at Killaspugbrone;
and the clouds gather over the grassland
that so leniently covers the dead,
and each daffodil, lifeless and withered,
is despondently hanging its head.

But the sun finds his way through the nimbi
like the silk moth that breaks through the floss,
and a skylark sits perched on a gravestone,
and it merrily sings on the cross;
before long it ascends to the heavens,
but I still hear its voice from the skies
as it sings of that day of redemption
when the dead and the daffodils rise.

(exhibited at Iontas Small Works Exhibition 2005)

Before You Leave

Before you leave, drink up your wine
and wash the dishes that you used,
and leave the roses you refused,
and don't confuse your things and mine.

Divide the stuff we bought these days
correctly and put on your coat,
and take the valentines you wrote,
and put my heart back in its place.

1 - Before You Leave

1 - Before You Leave

1 - Bleeding Moon

1 - Bleeding Moon

Bleeding Moon

Bleeding Moon, Bleeding Moon,
must you leave the night so soon?
Stay for me and make me sleep
where the sirens dance and weep.

Bleeding Moon, so white and gay,
when your gentle moonrays play
with the image of our hearts,
nothing ends, and nothing starts.

Bloody Moon, your tender light
sings the secrets of the night,
and when daylight meets the shore,
I won't see it any more.


A bird is nesting in my brains
and keeps on picking the remains
of what they call the ratio;
she seems so merry and so gay
and sends her fledglings out to play
on my subconscious' patio.

Their rapture is an awful sight.
I watch them every day and night,
a-cursing and a-grunting;
tonight I'll leave, like sun and star,
the front door of my mind ajar
to let my cat go hunting.

1 - Brainbird

1 – Brainbird

1 - Celtic Reveille

1 - Celtic Reveille

Celtic Reveille

The Celtic Boar still lies asleep
to rise again at break of day.
As long as he's in slumber deep,
he is a playground for his prey:
the lamb has climbed him in his bed
and makes the V-sign on his head.

Awake! Awake and greet the dawn,
welcome the blessing of the day,
and show thy tusks with every yawn
to scare the cheeky lamb away;
then from the god above break free
and wake the ancient gods in thee!

Country Song

They’re sitting at the table
with empty heart and mind,
not really there, unable
to struggle or to find.
There’s many a silent moocher
with his eyes fixed on his drink
and his back turned towards the future
who only drinks to think.

And as he keeps on drinking
to the state of mind he’s in,
he also keeps on thinking
of the life that should have been.
And it’s here they drink their potions
to forget their hopes and fears
with a fistful of emotions
and a pocket full of tears.

The piano man keeps playing
with poignancy and phlegm,
and sure it goes without saying
that he is one of them.
The barman never mentions
a family or wife;
some bet their meagre pensions
on whether he’s a life.

And when he ceases trading
and dims the gloomy light,
they leave and soon are fading
in the dreaded peace of night.
And it’s here they drink their potions
to forget their hopes and fears
with a fistful of emotions
and a pocket full of tears.

1 - Country Song

1 - Country Song

1 - Early Bird Poem

1 - Early Bird Poem

Early Bird

The fledgling wants to stay in nest
all day, but Mother Bird stays firm:
'At cockcrow vermin tastes the best -
the early bird catches the worm!'

But as he spreads his wings, he's hit
by a worm-eaten branch and cries;
the damage renders him unfit
to keep on living, and he dies.

The worms that populate this place
rejoice and gladly spread the word
and leave their holes and crawl a race:
the early worm catches the bird!

Erin's Ruins Stand In Blossom

Erin's ruins stand in blossom,
jewellery from Nature's store,
bounteous like the Hanging Gardens
Babylon was famous for.

Flowers, purple, pink and yellow,
red as blood, blue as the sky,
breaking through the walls of ivy,
bring a heaven to our eye.

Everything that man created,
Beauty conquers it at last,
and the Paradise is growing
over dwellings of the past.

1 - Erin's Ruins Stand in Blossom

1 - Erin's Ruins Stand in Blossom

1 - First Impression

1 - First Impression

First Impression

The first I saw of Sligo
that chilly night in June
was the cathedral’s tower
beneath a bright full moon.

Whichever forces drew me
were powerful and strong:
I’d finally encountered
the feeling to belong.

Hotel Silver Swan

Blue was the river that rolled by
and blue the sky above,
an open welcome caught the eye:
that's where I met my love.

Now doors and windows are nailed shut,
grey is the sky above,
the tired river grumbles, but
it's where I met my love.

1 - Hotel Silver Swan

1 - Hotel Silver Swan

1 - My Lord

1 - My Lord

My Lord

Love is a savage master
who'll take it all without
consideration, faster
than you can raise a doubt.

One glance and he'll expect you
to serve on bended knee,
one fling and he'll neglect you
but never set you free.

The Children of Lir

What kind of curse is that? To be
a swan, rambling from lake to lake,
seems more desirable to me
than being man of human make.

How often did I close my eyes
and wish I could be living on
the water under azure skies
and fly as deftly as a swan.

1 - The Children of Lir

1 - The Children of Lir

1 - The Mills of Collooney

1 - The Mills of Collooney

The Mills of Collooney

Grotesque mountains enclose the green valley
where the mills of Collooney once stood,
grinding corn for oppressed and oppressors
at the river that runs through the wood.

And the waters still flow through the village,
and the wood and the mountains endure
where the tireless mills of Collooney
once were feeding the rich and the poor.

But the wheels are removed and stand idle
like a church bell deprived of its chime
as the tireless mills of Collooney
have been ground by the Mill of Time.

(exhibited at North West Artists Exhibiton 2004)

The Omelette Promise

They tell you that to make an omelette
you have to break some eggs,
but there is more to making omelettes
than simply breaking eggs.

The world is full of broken eggs,
and yet in Life's canteen
where we're fed up by many a cook
no omelette can be seen.

Let's sack these chefs of humankind
and live on fruit and trout:
we've had no omelette to this day,
and we'll be grand without!

1 - The Omelette Promise

1 - The Omelette Promise

1 - The Peace of the Dunes

1 - The Peace of the Dunes

The Peace of the Dunes

When the bustle and noise of the city around
pierce my mind with their beat and monotonous sound
and the voice in my head sings her ominous tunes
I retire from the town to the peace of the dunes.

Where the buttercups melt in the sun, where the skies
and the bluebells that silently ring in my eyes
spread the sound of a higher serenity
I lie down to the song of our lady the sea.

For pacific souls in Atlantic domains
this gate to the other realm still remains:
in the sun's gentle light and at night the pale moon's,
there is nothing on Earth like the peace of the dunes.


See how it glitters in the sun after all rain and thunder:
a skilful architect has done his best to shape this wonder.

The cobweb is a dainty thing, yet tough and indurating,
and creatures travelling on wing may find it captivating.

Those trapped resist their hidden lord with rage and apprehension,
tighten the net and pull the cord to catch their host’s attention.

The struggling insects lose their nerve and soon accept they’re beaten;
once paralysed, they will observe themselves being wrapped and eaten.

This is the web of life for you, and as you fight and languish,
each move just brings you closer to the eight-legged god of anguish.

1 - Cobweb

1 - Cobweb

1 - When Rock’n’Roll and I Were Friends (Part 1)

1 - When Rock’n’Roll and I Were Friends (Part 1)

1 - When Rock’n’Roll and I Were Friends (Part 2)

1 - When Rock’n’Roll and I Were Friends (Part 2)

When Rock’n’Roll and I Were Friends

The First Revival was the first
I saw of him; I waited long.
Of all regrets it is the worst
that I was born too late – his song
was still the same, but I recall
the Fifties had a better sound,
yet I am grateful after all
I met him while he was around:
the world was music and romance
when Rock’n’Roll and I were friends.

His ballroom was the place to be
where time went backwards and stood still:
I rocked with Chuck and Jerry Lee
and walked with Fats on Blueberry Hill.
The legends lived; they’d never die
as long as we kept rocking on!
We danced in the Hall of Fame, and I
felt cherished by the Pantheon
when Johnny Cash and I shook hands
and Rock’n’Roll and I were friends.

Those were the days, and far too few,
when red-haired Gina stroked my hair
at Rockabilly Ballyhoo
and led me to the dance floor where
we danced so wild, so fast, so tight;
I think I never danced that much!
She left with someone else that night,
but I still feel her body’s touch,
the magic sparkles of that dance
when Rock’n’Roll and I were friends.

He has retired, but I still see
him every now and then in town;
we’d share a joke or pleasantry,
and as I’d listen with a frown
he’d tell me of his plans to go
back into business very soon,
some night when all the lights are low
and lovers worship the Blue Moon.
‘When’s that?’, I’d ask. – ‘Well, that depends...’
Yes, Rock’n’Roll and I were friends!

Lough Nasool Unplugged

Two score two years ago, the summer I
was born, not e’en a little pool
remained where, out of turn, a lake went dry:
they’d pulled the plug on Lough Nasool.

One score one year ago, the summer I
first came to Sligo was quite cool,
yet, out of turn, the mystic lake went dry:
they’d pulled the plug on Lough Nasool.

This summer I keep wondering about
the coming lesson in Life’s school,
for something’s up, of this I have no doubt:
they pulled the plug on Lough Nasool.

1 - Lough Nasool Unplugged

1 - The Birch and the Mountain

The Birch and the Mountain

My bidding must be done, tree!
I’m ancient, large and tall;
I dominate the country
while you are weak and small.

It seems that you’re not thinking
ahead; it won’t stay so,
for you’re forever shrinking,
and I’ll forever grow!

The Morrigu

Wherever there is concord,
wherever there is need,
wherever bards are encored,
she spreads the evil seed.

She preys on others’ slackness,
the bird who everywhere
into the dark brings blackness
and to the dead despair.

She angrily raged through the
island with her shrill voice
and finally came to the
weird county of my choice.

But she’s a bird of passage:
once my ordeal is through,
with one more urgent message
I’ll send her back to you.

1 - The Morrigu

1 - Lighthouse Keeper

Lighthouse Keeper

Being a lighthouse keeper
is all one needs to be:
to live in peace and quiet
while keeping an eye on the sea,

To watch the changing colours
of the ocean and the sky,
the undecisive tide as
the world of blue rolls by,

To sit there in the evenings,
having a pipe, a drink,
and to decide at leisure
who’ll live and who will sink.


Teach me how to watch and talk
so that I may speak my mind,
show me where it’s safe to walk
till the time that I will find
my own way with watchful eye:
take my hand and let me fly!

And I’ll take you up with me
to the sky, and while we soar
high above the world, you’ll see
things you’ve never seen before
as the clouds are rolling by:
take my hand and let me fly!

1 - The Morrigu

1 - God


You kids have Oz and Peter Pan,
so do not think it's odd
that grown-ups, too, need fairytales,
and they created God.

Some say he rules with love, and some
say with an iron rod:
the grown-ups need their fairytale,
so they invented God.

Some will grow out of it, some won't,
but you should know the score:
let grown-ups have their fairytale,
but you should grow up more.

Snow on the Dartry Mountains

I shall leave while the winter is calling
his elements forth, one by one,
while the snow on the Dartry Mountains
still reflects the white light of the sun.

I’ll return when the daffodils waver
to the song of the nightingale
and the snow on the Dartry Mountains
has melted and flows through the vale.

1 - Snow on the Dartry Mountains

1 - The Lake of the Enchantment

The Lake of the Enchantment

To be back where worries wander
off without a faint goodbye,
where lacustrine spirits squander
peace beneath the starry sky,
where no inconvenience grieves me
as I watch the evening’s cool
shadows of the day that leaves me
at the shores of Lough Nasool,

To be back where the contagious
busy stillness of the lake
and its waters from the ages
keeps the watchful mind awake,
to be back on poet’s duty
where no imperfection mars
Nature’s unintended beauty
underneath the dripping stars.


Where Benbulben’s vanguard towers
like a prow to part the bay,
where his arctic-alpine flowers
bloom along the winding way
and the uncorrupted powers
of a people past still sway
all our destinies, the stage
now is set for one more age.

Once the mighty Dagda’s table,
afterwards the hunting ground
of the Fianna as the fable
tells us, when the dreadful sound
of Dord Fiann left foes unable
to advance or move around
on his slopes, Benbulben loomed
over all he blessed or doomed.

The primeval mountain greeted
heroes fighting in the sticks,
from cursed Diarmait who defeated
the wild boar to the Noble Six;
he saw history repeated
oftentimes without a fix
since he came to overlook
Columb’s Battle of the Book.

This majestic rock formation
oversees each main event,
be it the annihilation
the Armada underwent,
famine, war or emigration;
he, a timeless monument,
keeps the records of our strives
as he dominates our lives.

1 - Benbulben

1 - The Heron

The Heron

Wedges of wild geese in motion
noisily approach their known
destination near the ocean,
but the heron flies alone.

Wedges of mute swans have clustered,
still but for the monotone
beating of their wings, unflustered,
but the heron flies alone.

Birds and humans of a feather,
as biology has shown
many times, will flock together,
but the heron flies alone.

Global Connemara

When famine added to the fetter
of commoners who had to live
their lives in Connemara, better
known as the land that does not give,
they faced starvation with their leisure;
their overlords were terrified
of a revolt but found a measure
to keep them fed and occupied:
employing neighbour, friend and brother
to build more walls between each other.

Today a world of plenty offers
enough to live for all of us;
and yet, a handful stuff their coffers
and leave the others wanting, thus
creating misery for their pleasure.
They're right to fear us but applied
a well-established foolproof measure
to keep us fed and occupied:
employing neighbour, friend and brother
to build more walls between each other.

1 - Global Connemara

1 - Illusions


Only observed at 42 degrees
the rainbow is, despite what we perceive,
an optical illusion; what one sees
is but refracted light, and I believe
it's sad if we, amidst the world's confusions,
don't take the time to cherish our illusions.

© Frank L. Ludwig