Category Archives: February



Climbing up
the down escalator.
Mounting anticipation,
you are somewhere up there.

Start off at full speed
but by half way flagging.
No longer the energy
to climb further against
the downward flow of stairs.

Then spot you
coming down the up escalator.

You begin to stall, too.
To my dismay, standing
face to face
on adjoining escalators,
we slowly drift apart.
You back up, me back down.

You also look distraught
but, suddenly,
realize it isn’t you, after all.
The face is beautiful,
but not yours.

February Prompt – ANTICIPATION


So. You’re going to a party. You don’t want to go but it turns out much better than expected. That seems to be the way anticipation works – and it happens this way, too: You’re going on holiday. It’s going to be great. It isn’t.

But there are other ways a poet sees it happening. Here’s a poem by Mimi Khalvati where she sees the future in a natural object:

And one by Raymond Carver in which he’s quite clear about what’s going to happen next:

John Agard’s take on it is different again –

I daresay none of these poets sat down and thought ‘I’m going to write a poem about anticipation.’ Nevertheless, they fixed an abstract concept into a concrete image. So that’s your task for February – write a poem about anticipation and ground it in a solid object.



The Glass Blower

The Glass Blower

I could be a glass blower!
And I would blow beautiful shapes,
Watching bubbles forming,
In the hot glass,
I would watch bubbles fizz,
And dissolve into smaller shapes,
And from within,
I would watch hot dyes,
Infuse and diffuse,
Forming beautiful colours,
The glass would light up,
Into its new shape,

Wilton Place, Dublin


Wilton Place, Dublin


 Every bit the country gentleman back then.

Tweed jacket, twill trousers.

Shoes well polished. Courteous manners.

And quiet.

So quiet he never said much about himself,

only about his class or possibly a student.

Most of these were flighty Spanish girls

who chattered like parakeets, sent for safety

to a Catholic country, where they went wild.


We sat at recess with our cups of tea

in a room so dark with wood

that had there been a green-shaded lamp,

a mahogany desk and a leather chair

it would have suited him well.

All he was a lacking was a pipe

on which to suck while he reflected.

Recess ended.

His reflections were never voiced.


I did not know that he wrote poetry

and would soon become well-known.

He could not know that one day

I too would write, enough to make

a small niche for myself in such a world.

He was probably always thinking

as he sat there with his cooling tea

of that fungal shed in County Wexford,

the lost people of Treblinka.






Gill McEvoy

Lost for words

Lost for words

“Here today, gone tomorrow.”
That’s what we often say in our office,
such a rapid turnover of staff.
But not about him.
He was “here for the duration,”
really “had his feet under the table.”
Or so it seemed.
In fact, he was here yesterday, gone today.
Paramedics roared up,
lights flashing, siren blaring,
but there was nothing they could do.
They crept away,
leaving a  stunned silence.
We were at a loss,
none of our usual sayings applied.
No time to say anything,
not even: “Goodbye.”

Loyalty (this was from the prompt, but it took me somewhere else..)


He was your animal twin, wilful

and independent, nothing

lap-dog about him,

always running on the perimeter of distance a human voice

could call him back from.


Something geometric in the positioning

between you, a kind of invisible thread

making time, distance and solid matter

irrelevant. I swear, when you were away

he slept with one ear slightly raised.


When I failed you and we separated

there was no question of who had custody

but you were generous with visits

and when he went blind and stiff in the hips,

you carried him over the threshold to see me.


We sat together remembering Aberdovey,

how he used to outrun himself chasing gulls

on the sand. At night I watched your head levitating

a millimetre above the pillow on the put-me-up-bed

listening to his struggle beneath us.


In the small hours I came down and found you

crouched at his head, nestling your cheek

into his baby-soft muzzle, I lay my hand,

feather-light with fear, on the staccato

rise and fall of his belly.


He didn’t take his last breath

so much as give it, his green-black eyes

staying on us, seeming to say, ‘understand

love, even loss,

is precious.’


The man from the Council
papers the sky with regulations
to make it look square.

His clipboard is his insurance
against pouring concrete into crevices
where worms used to make wishes.

A name badge is authority
to melt tarmac over knobbly bits of earth
where blackbirds left footprint kisses.

Straightening the lines where things came together
he sweeps away shadows
leaving everything bare.




Bring down the albums one by one from the shelf,
leaf through page after page of photographs.
Click onto further images held on computer.
Faces, places preserved.
Movement and voices, too, on video.
Moments in time recorded for future reference.
Fragments of the past to be picked up,
sifted and pieced together
like potsherds from an archaeological dig.
Access, a way back.
Insights, cross-references.
Looking for clues.
How did it all come about?