The old man grimaced and silently imbibed his pint

His withered wife glared her whole life at him

And pointedly moved to a seat

At the far end of the joint


Two sons, forty and finicky,

Silently contemplated the following day’s races

While the daughter and son-in-law,

Long run out of things to say,

Blew smoke in each other’s faces.


Only the children were living;

The girl was chandelier-swinging

And the boy was table-top walking.

“Shhh!” said the mother,

“be quiet you two rascals,

We can’t seem to hear ourselves talking”




My Writing Life


A play with music about the travelling musicians of Ireland, mostly concentrating on Pecker Dunne and Margaret Barry. They were both from travelling families, Tinkers, and were marginalised by Irish society. Looked down on, indeed persecuted for their way of life. Both were great singers and musicians, and along with the great Johnny Doran, did more to promote Irish traditional music than almost any other person of our times.  Both are dead now and the play is set in a kind of imaginary ‘halting site’, where departed souls are temporarily resident while awaiting transport to somewhere permanent.

 ‘I never met Bob Dylan but I sang with Pecker Dunne’  Christy Moore

extract from the play:

Scene one

A darkened stage, then a spotlight. PECKER DUNNE appears, carrying a banjo case. The case has Pecker Dunne stencilled across the body. Bearded, he wears a wide…

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get your copy free now!  (a review – good or bad – would be appreciated)

JOHNJO…is the study of a man from the cradle to the grave. Forced to go on the run from his Comeragh hill farm at an early age, Johnjo washes up in Lincolnshire in war-time England. Working on farms, and often finding himself treated worse than the prisoners-of-war, he goes on the run again. And so begins a life-long association with ‘the lump’ – the dark underbelly of the construction industry. From building motorways and living in camps you ‘wouldn’t keep a decent dog in’, we eventually find him working in London for a ‘subby’ called Bannaher – not having been home to Ireland for more than thirty years. Disillusioned and bitter at having been ground down by the harshness of his life, he, nevertheless, hangs on to a few sparks of defiance. The final straw comes when he sees his friend (lover?) buried alive in the trench they are working in, and he embarks on a rebellious ‘last hurrah



Walking…just walking

Away from the hum and drum

Away from the hub and bub

Away from the whine and grind of this rusty city

Couldn’t take it, they will say

Well, let them

This place isn’t all it’s cracked up to be


I saw a man today selling boxes to homeless people

Business was brisk

Did you know that the stone from the Pyramids

Would build a wall round England ten feet tall?

They say John the Baptist was gay

Funny the thoughts that come into your head when you’re walking


There was an old woman who lived in a hovel

She didn’t have any shoes but no one cared

She fell down one day

The hospital put her in a trolley for a few weeks

Then sent her away

Back to her hovel, her piss-stained bed, her broken radio

Her clock that didn’t tick, her bare cupboards, her solitary chair

Carried her up three flights, stood her in front of a walking frame

Said ‘take care of yourself, dear’


The whole fucking world anaesthetised by indifference


Emily wrote only one book, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and is world famous because of it. Yet, she wrote and published many poems in her short life and hardly anybody knows it.  She published a book of poems with  her sisters Charlotte and Anne, called POEMS OF CURRER, ELLIS AND ACTON BELL, which initially sold only 2 copies. This is one of those poems

No Coward Soul Is Mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from Fear.

O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life – that in me hast rest,
As I – Undying Life – have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men’s hearts, unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears

Though Earth and moon were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every Existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou – Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Happy birthday Emily.