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Category: Writing

Onwards and Upwards

Today I met
an old man on a ladder.
Wearing a yellow shirt
brown brogues…
too big now.

He paused near
the top rung
steadying himself
to stand on the shed roof
to clip the ivy.

Breathing hard
with one foot on the roof
the ladder slid suddenly
to the left.
As I passed
I grabbed it.

He was left stranded
one foot on the roof
and a shaky leg on the rung
which way to go?
Step up to the task
or down?

‘Are you ok?’
‘Will you hold the ladder?’
‘I will’.

Gingerly he moved his weight
lifted his elderly foot
off the ladder
onto the flat
firm roof.

‘I just have a small job to do’,
he said determined.
‘Will I leave you to it?
You know the path slopes away?’
‘I do’.


The hidden glen
I didn’t see it.
We turned our faces
to the cerulean sea
vast open skies
hurt our eyes.

The landscape of North Mayo
wild sublimeness
of phthalo green headlands
layered cliffs and crashing waves.

A north-west wind
sweeps in from the Atlantic
rushes around you
pushes grey magenta clouds
clearing rain north.

The sea colour
changes to gun metal grey
then slanting light comes in
between low clouds
to illuminate white horses.

Burnished bog exposed
to the elements
hiding neolithic field systems
a glass pyramid
perched on a bald hill
beckoning in the evening light
to its subterranean secrets.

Out to Binn Bhui
the Yellow Cliff
the gentle faces of pink sea thrift
wave a welcome in the breeze.

Turf cutters gouged the bog
leaving giant black footprints
on a carpet of raw umber and sap green.

Late evening at Lacken
yellow orange sands
with delicious lines
of blue green water.


To be outside, walking, moving.
When I am here, I want to be there.
When I am out, I want to be in
then out again on the mountains
staring wistfully at the sky. Why?

Slow… breathe
take in the moment.
Inside, I can’t sit too long
I get achy, stiff.

In school
seated on hard chairs
in cold classrooms
looking out at the sunlit sky
I wanted to be free.

Back rigid neck stiff
paying attention
being the ‘good girl’.
A perfect-prefect after all.

During your workday
your mind and body are
by the car the train
the corporate mantra
constrained body
into work chairs.

At home with young children
your body is not your own.
Lifting feeding carrying,
aching arms and back.

The back gives in.
Never again
to sit on a soft couch.
Rather lie on the floor and

out in the sunshine
ever moving ever wandering