2 poems by Anthony Raftery the blind 18th C  Irish poet

Mise Raifteirí an File

I am Raftery, the poet,
full of hope and love
With eyes without light,
silence without torment.

Going back on my journey,
with the light of my heart
Weak and tired,
until the end of my way.

Look at me now,
facing the wall
Playing music,
for empty pockets.

Cill Aodáin

Now coming of the Spring
the day will be lengthening,
and after St. Bridget’s Day
I shall raise my sail.

Since I put it into my head
I shall never stay put
until I shall stand down
in the center of County Mayo.

In Claremorris
I will be the first night,
and in Balla just below it
I will begin to drink.

to Kiltimagh I shall go
until I shall make a month’s visit there
as close as two miles
to Ballinamore.[9]


An unsung land is a dead land
Forget the song
And the land will surely die.
Our forebears, though mostly illiterate,
Made music that can still make us cry
Musical phrases, like a map reference,
And the land read as a musical score
Where singing the land
Has the crowd calling out for more.
The song couplets stretch across tectonic plates
Just like mountains stretch across continents
And someone waving as we pass through endless gates.
Pale sand, red rock, burning fire
Everything your heart may desire
Mapping the music
to which everything transcends
This is where the story begins not ends.                                                          Religion, pagan or Christian
Permeating everything, blending,
People sympathetic and synthetic,
Careless and unknowing of secular beginning
Or religious ending.
All the colours of the rainbow
Dressed in human clothing
Aisling, dreang, radharc
And the gift of seeing what isn’t there
When the songs are left unsung
Who is then left to care?





:::::::::::: Antique Photograph :::::::::::  "I am going to venture that the man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization." ~Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota Sioux (1868-1939)~




The prophecies have come to pass,

The great spirit Massau’u

Says that man should live in harmony,

Yet the government has destroyed our basic religion

In this land of the Great Spirit.

Great roads like rivers cross our land

Man talks to man

Through a cobweb of telephone lines

And travels the roads in the sky,

Man is tampering with the moon and the stars

The White Man has desecrated the face of Mother Earth

In his desire for material possessions

Blinded to the pain caused to Mother Earth

By his quest for so-called natural resources.

The sacred lands of the Hopi are desecrated

By men who seek coal and water

To create power for the white man’s cities.

The Great Spirit says not to allow this to happen

Says not to take from the earth

Not to destroy living things,

Otherwise a gourd of ashes will be dropped upon the earth,

That many men will die,

And that the end of this way of life is near at hand






Noah knew a thing or three about Arks

Though he never had to deal with dry snakes in the parks

(as far as I know)

Or alligators eating raw taters

In the fields where potatoes used to grow

Or see the hedgerows decompose

‘Cos underwater rots your toes

And lettuces float lonely in orderly rows.

There is ice in the neighbourhood

But it’s not in the fridge

It’s log-jamming tightly

Against the almost submerged bridge

While uptown bright red stilettos

Are swimming downstream

Towards the already-empty ghettos.

The people are gone

But the water hurries on

Self-raising evermore as it swamps the seashore

And heads for the hills and the high-rise domains

Where soon this new-spawned Atlantis

Will be all that remains





My latest play, now available as a paperback & ebook on Amazon.

PUT YOUR SWEET LIPS…set in the summer of 1963, this play tells the tale of the formation of THE YOUNG DEVILS showband. Formed by a group of youths who work in the packing room of the local mill, and beset by rivalries and petty jealousies, the group at last seem to be on the road to success when they are joined by a new female lead singer from London. Sandra, however, is more than they bargained for, and after a chaotic concert they fall foul of both the parish priest and the parish council. The ensuing squabbling reveals the skeletons in the various cupboards, culminating in an act of violence that leaves a mark on each of the band members.