dedicated blogsite to Dave Wood's participatory poetry project in Northern Ireland. Started late August and finishing September 2004, it does a compare and contrast with previous visits 1988 - 1998. Also see

26 Dec 2004

Poetry previously created in Ireland

Poetry previously created in Ireland to be re-worked and re-vamped. New work to be created as a compare and contrast. Getting very stressed in the build up to the project. Anyone got the gin? Meanwhile, are an organisation supporting the project. Visit their website

driving at night through ireland

a sting in my neck from driving
through roads too thin to walk on
two eyes that squint from living
hell - a headlight's glare left full on

a music tape plays company where
tiredness stills our late night tongues
so many thoughts arriving here
we find our eyelids dried to bones

two thirty a.m (thereabouts)
the door's alive with our knocking hands
- our saviour host - she takes our coats
leads us to beds through moon-time lands

ballyronan day centre

she said
i'll say a prayer for you tonight

she called me sir
and constantly asked me
what to do

amidst all the bombs
and the threat of more

i try to make sense of old age 

beach at orlock

a wind strong enough to eat the words
from your thoughts

(or vice versa)

i become a mist here
tilting myself
to cope with the incline of a few slippery rocks

in my bag
i have a notepad and pen
and an unwillingness to turn back
(for the want of a few toppling words)

i feel the shave of the sea

against my own judgement
and where jagged lines meet
i retreat back to a house
where i temporarily live 

a smouldering coil

i have used my collection of sleep
felt sick on waking
my shards a smouldering coil
a pain that cannot spring itself from dream

the roots on which i stand
pull a game of to and fro
my words tarnished with puzzles
whether strife or joy
i end in question marks

o god help us
more news form soft accents -
like games in tight aviaries
the angry voices march
and march

bitter phrases give future some sort of hope

the question marks have taken shape
(the words point up and scratch the itching feet
to ask for more)

sometimes the razored doubts of me
break out and give up too quick

then I feel the flap of wings

this place could be the home
that's worth the tears some day
counting (an analogy)

walking a difficult world

i put down how much has been spent
in terms of loss

(i had taken off the day
to concentrate on other things)

my hands get ready to count
and i find only fingers and thumbs


how many more times?
the constant waiting
for time to draw closer

the need to deal with
trouble in mind

and the likelihood
it will happen again

christchurch cathedral (dublin)

- shards of coloured glasss

i feel nothing (the more I struggle here)
sexless men
eagles of still gold
shards of coloured glass

the more of less I feel

i can constantly search for movement
but giving up is the hardest part

as always

free whisky - bushmills visit

a golden glass at the end of here
stings a shudder where shudders
tend to avoid

a short term task
as we spend what's dear
and we suffer goods
(we'd normally abhor)

at bushmill's factory
they're selling history
by the bottle

the displays in the gallery
hide ireland's poverty
which seeps like old oil

dublin to belfast (traffic)

you said
(stepping out the volvo)

and slamming the door
(christ almighty
it made a bang!)

i remembered
a song and sang it


postcard to kelvin from ireland

remember how we talked
of wild times?

rainbows -
coming up
going down

and the many uses
of policemen's helmets


ready to deliver us
on homeland's
silent welcome

we make a keen break from
dreaming shores
and order drinks on the boat

the more i tip it back
the tea just doesn't
taste the same
now we're leaving

after four weeks

section one -

the sky in rolls of grey like stones
drops on dublin
city of diamond thoughts

the lights we reach for
but never seem to touch
draw scattered pins upon our sleep
and winks its eyes
(says goodbye to each of us)

section two -

six forty five a.m.
leaving ireland
- a small darkness
in early morning folds

we pull back her blankets
and feel the surge
pushing us away

and finds (giant's causeway)

through seaward wave (the birds riding
bumps on watery lifts)
the cold daft wind comes home in drifts
and finds the lonely three walking
(just walking)

and the sea shells crunch under tread (and the
words are lost)
our thoughts caressed by winds that
somehow the three start talking
- just talking

teelin point rock face

and here the screaming rock
its eyes against the sea and all she hides
shouts obscenities
where heather clinging to its sides
gives whispers to our feet

but do you think that holes its grown
will swallow us
like stories made for children?
(the fairytales
the giant's desk
the dark cliff murmurs)
then think again
and hear us walk
so clumsily

our words that scream
towards your ears
one two three four five
this is the day we come alive
donegal - teelin point (1995)


how down the cliff's hold
that spraying
going and lost

how paths collide into heather
sentences which burn the throat
and coat us with rain

what gives us clues for the way to walk

we stand in growth
and listen for the answers

sunset - muff hostel

these continents - great shifting reds
and greys and blues begin to merge
(pastel lines across a scrap of sky)

this gorse that rips the arms
to lines of basic flesh
bends supple to the wind's embrace
and prays to be left alone

behind clear windows
anecdotes are swapped
the night upon us
pulled down tight

those fading reds
gone by and by
by and by

end of i.r.a ceasefire

a promise given from both sides

a hundred injuries
(and death)
and shattered glass
cuts politics in half

who's to blame?

over the wharf and far away

we wonder what the hell
we are praying at

for belfast

we hear the news
of another bomb

there is barbed wire
around these
jigsaw pieces

ballyronan - 15/2/96

slow overlapping
cold breaths

(fall upon each other)
split a massive grey cloud)

this drowsy sun
a sunken fence
(all at sea)

the end of a ceasefire -
a helicopter shaped in the distance
carries a pregnant weight
beneath its belly

it could be anything

taking it all personally

there is nothing here but war

and you have closed this door to me
something that you gave
hits the floor
and starts sinking

down and down

waterford - 26/7/97

the coast hid behind the city's shadows
fixed plans with the car parks
tasted the petrol fumes
and coughed a little

in here a woman squeezes
(man handles) a trainer
as if its juices will flood from its holes

a man
quite proud of this purchase
smokes a cigarette
towards the window

these are times of observations
of seeing how truth walks
on the paving i lay

this is the café where they don't have toast
but plenty of bread on the table

the tea is black
and still
it manages to get darker

this is the place
where there is music
and the kids scream ulterior motives

this is the café
where the vinegar
sits in its proper bottle
and butter is out
(and melting)

to my side
a child runs away
is picked up
strapped in its place

for this - we are all grateful

this is the café where
i see the edges
spiky tongued
soft syllabic

the air has not touched me yet
except with flu and a good irish headache

traffic by-passes this place
lorries fold back the evening
and spit on the floor


i share my night with
the smell of burning peat

the taste of the sea

and an almost full moon

i share my sleep
without meaning

my hand lifting a pen

and my thoughts cutting me tight

until it doesn't matter anymore