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Poetry in Lockdown: Part IX


we are drifters shifting
    in shadows of doubt lost 
          in a landscape of half-withered thought

we talk to everyone and no one
       we argue with ourselves
                  about how we got here and why

we fantasise our lives
      into what we are not
             because we do not know what we are

it feels good in the moment
         until the moment passes
              and we are adrift again

in the unsettled space between
    our state of being
              and how it will end


-Phil Lynch
Submitted September 11, 2020



No more bells! No more yells! Instead, I hear my mommy’s voice
                                      “Come in, we can learn about James Joyce”  
                                       No more “Nerd!” No more sticking with the herd! 

No more shushing! No more pushing!

No more “You’re wrong” until they usually find I’m right
I’ve staked many a dojo and to my delight, I was normally bright  
Now I speak across the week, as I sit in a comfy chair,
Along with Wes, Seán, and Stitch, my non-pushy bears 
As I travel through time with History, Geography and Literature.
I have learnt much more, of that I am sure
As I ponder upon my past school life, I can see without a doubt
Homeschooling seems to be the best route!


-Alex Molloy
Submitted September 14, 2020

There’s a lad who sneezed in Gort

(Reflections on a country gripped by fear) 

There’s a lad who sneezed in Gort  
They say.  
And he up a telegraph pole  
fixing the fibre optic for miles around.  
I know this because a girl who is  
married to his cousin’s brother, told them  
at the power walk tonight.  
Seamus’s wife was there  
and said the sneeze went down those wires  
into every router, and when  
another lad sent a Whatsapp to  
the U-14 hurling group,  
they shut the school.  

We’ve learned from the famine  
said Seamus. There isn’t a  
strip of tagliatelle or a curl  
of fusilli or a piece of penne.  
But loads of spuds…  
Tis gas, he says how the  
Paddies are piling into pasta,  
but spraying down the Italians.  
Not a quilted toilet roll left in the shop below  
Except the Clint Eastwood ones  
That don’t take shit from anyone.  

There are people who haven’t  
had a job in ages being told they’ll have  
To work from home.  
There are kids who have been playing  
Xbox in their room for years  
who will have to self isolate.  
The west is alive with the sound  
Of Happy Birthday  
sung from every jacks  
A wring wring wring  
of bars of perfumed soap stolen  
From hotels in the Tiger years,  
working up a lather  
and a lavender cloud above us  
As we wait for the next cough. 


-Rye Aker
Submitted September 22, 2020

Wild flowers at UCD


These are my few upcycled verses in lockdown
scribbled with borrowed words and ideas from signs
along my socially distanced meanderings
seeing for the first time, jogging
Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times
through the intertwined estates of UCD
Merville, Roebuck, Belfield, Ardmore 
Belgrove, Woodview, Rosemount, Richview

no expert in fitness techniques: tempo, progression, fartlek
or in strength and endurance: cardio, aerobic, anaerobic
nor winner of athletic accolades: medals, ribbons, records
no Pheidippides, happy to be moving



Along the sintered track past the Hanna Sheehy Skeffington Building
Corkonian, republican, champion of suffrage and access to education 
through the Student Residence at Belgrove with its
779 rooms sub-divided in to four bedrooms
furnished with study, work and ample storage space
each with two bathrooms, shared kitchen, living space and wifi
left wondering what midnight at The Soap Bar Launderette
is like on a school night
Fire Tender Access Route
rising, punctuating the skyline, creation-like 
UCD’s water tower built in seven days
noted for its constancy of supply and water pressure
dodecahedron planar solid on top a pentagonal base
its decorative vertical grooves emphasising geometry 
symbol of modernity and engineering prowess
Irish Concrete Society gold medallist 1979
SLOW 10 km/hr Speed Limit
sacred candle in the window for UCD’s diaspora



I turn into Oak walk planted in year 2000 near UCD Bowl 
and cross the Bianconi Bridge 
Charles, formerly Carlo, surplus son, respected Mayor of Clonmel 
by way of Temple Bar, Carrick-on-Suir and
Tregolo, near Como in Lombardy
with its humid subtropical climate
land of mulberry and silkworm
once conquered by Charlemagne, once more under siege 
engraver, print seller, entrepreneur, builder of public conveyances
far-seeing integrator of transport systems
husband of Eliza, father of Minnie who married a nephew of Daniel O’Connell
Please pick up after your dog(s)
all these secret notes of history hidden in the woods



Gathering pace now along the path 
that takes me deeper into medieval woodlands
protected by early Irish law 
Ivy covered tree Trunk as ‘Wildlife Hotel’

our wandering Brehon lawyers
pronouncing on airig fedo, the nobility of trees
Dair, Coll, Cuileann, Ibar, Uinnius, Ochthach, Aball
and we bow our heads to their majesty
Area of high biodiversity
Fraxinus ornus
of La Belle Dame Sans Merci
scented creamy white flower, sweet seeping dew
divine gift of sustenance for an Exodus through the wilderness
Malus sylvestris,  Aphrodite of the orchard, favoured 
by the ancient Apothecary and Celts for its qualities in fertility 
heavy with nectar and home to the Eyed Hawk-Moth
Corylus avellane our tree of knowledge
royal in its deciduousness, its annual renewal
sacred to Thor, Na Fianna and the High Kings at Tara
yielding their manna, fruit and nuts for our nourishment
Smoke free UCD creating AN AIR of RESPECT for our environment and community



Then I come up out of the copse above it 
and am compelled to stop each time in the quietude
before the bed of wild flowers at Belfield
a fluttering ribbon of red and yellow and pink and blue
and linger in the space between breaths
the low music of entomophily puncturing little pockets of gold dust
the hum of Andrena cineraria, Apis mellifera, Bombus sylvarum 
suspended in the dimensions of an experience
time and beauty and truth
that sometimes moment when nature
once more takes you by surprise
and you fall again unselfconsciously in love with the world
No parking on the grass, clamping in operation



Passing the neo-gothic Glebe House
I emerge again onto Roebuck Road to realise they are
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Site Notice
sacrificing the old athletics track where the Memory Man
cheered us on the Christmas morning Goal mile with mega-phone
where Coghlan, O’Sullivan, O’Mara and Flynn set the world 
outdoor record for the four-mile relay, still standing
No parking on the roads
for much needed car parking
no mention of the wild flowers or the nobles of the forest
or the 200-year-old chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum
venerated for its venotonic effect, vascular protection 
anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging properties
or the rising floral perfumes after the rain or the memories
or the protections of the oral Brehon Code 
swopped out now for our Common Law
note to self, must remember to lodge an objection
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
I’ve been locked down too long 
badly in need of a shower
Bí sábháilte. Coinnigí a chéile slán.


-Tom Ryan
Submitted September 14, 2020