Longford New Writing: Poetry by Bernadette Brudell and Joseph Barry

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Writing a Eulogy

The Longford Leader New Writing column provides the creative writers of Longford with an opportunity to share their work with a larger audience. If you have a piece of writing - poetry, prose, etc - you'd like to see published in the Longford Leader, email newsroom@longfordleader.ie with a submission of no more than 1,000 words.

Poetry by Bernadette Brudell

Circus Canvas

Harvest and wild mushrooms
Autumn sun
Music and magic in the breeze
Soundwaves and scent
Seduce youthful senses

The tent canvas flaps
Rings of seats
Clowns trounce about
With painted on
Perplexed faces

Maybe life can be sad, or funny,
They seem to say -
Lets give it the benefit of the doubt
Laugh and prance and shout

Running rings of harmony
Horses canter in turquoise and blue and red
Elephants lazily walk the walk
Proud lions grimace and growl -
Wild and free in the African bush

The circus-goer
Paints on laughter
To hide the face of one perplexed
And merge with the crowd

Sad and funny
A philosophy that has to be learned
Sooner rather than later
To climb the mountains of life
And see, and not see, and see

The clown whirls like a dervish
Masque of incomprehension
The wind blows
The tent flaps
Intoxicating music fills the air

The clowns are here
The flowers elsewhere

Skin Deep

That Cadillac has beauty deep
as one slim layer of paint
those lofty walls so homely and secure
has paper oh so thin
and the gloss that hides
the cracks and holes
is covering up a whole lot more

Our insecurity and lies
a façade to please and hold our eyes
we fail to see or understand
the rotting wood and crumbling sand
a whole world of things covered up
we like things glossy looking nice
so we don’t remember their real price

They’re cheap compared with human lives
The homeless man, aborted child
This lump of iron that’s called a car
Is painted bright to fool us all
The hole in the ground that is a pool
Is the prized possession of a fool
that house so big with solemn walls
will not look good when down it falls
Let’s all not fool ourselves
no longer
as we’re not getting any younger
some things are precious
but they’re not gold
neither bricks or metal wood or stone
the precious things they are none other
than our earthly human brother

That precious boy and precious girl
old man or baby in the womb
the hungry children, broken people, full of doom
they may not glitter gold or silver
or look as bright as a chandelier
or do a hundred miles an hour
but they can breathe and love and dream

These precious jewels have eyes
like diamonds
that reflect the starlight in the sky
and a heart that loves and wants
some caring
these hearts they are not made of wood

My Cousin From Foggy Bottom: A Tribute

Somehow it seems the perfect place
For a perfect person
Maureen Dufficy-Kammerer
From Foggy Bottom

From far across the sea
Letters arrived, and parcels
With exciting addresses like New Jersey,
Philadelphia, Minnesota, Washington
And the refrain ‘God is good.’

Places enriched by the presence
Of a cherished aunt, Philomena
Spreading meticulous love
Daughters in wedding dresses,
Scented clothes and comics
Arriving with the postman

Swaddled in a corner by the piano
Leaving her native shore by ship
For a far-away land of enlightenment
But not far enough away
For the love to be felt back home

Maureen, worthy daughter
Gifted with the holy
And the true
Christmas newsletters
Keeping track of her brood
Proud telling of their feats
Creating beautiful quilts
To help the needy

Weaving tapestry
Spreading like the shawl of Brigid
Stitching brightness and hope
And the ties of family
Maureen from Foggy Bottom
But always from Home

Hell Among the Flowers

Discomforting song
Out of tune with
The tambourine man
The flower children dance
Innocence at large
Romantic idyll
Land of youth

Young girls sing in harmony with
Young men
‘Some Enchanted Evening’
The curfew girls safe for now
The fox elsewhere

Whistling in the wrong key
A tune from Zhivago
Keys of deviation
Utopia hovers among the flowers

Discordant whistling
In Leinster Square
Out of tune on Killiney Beach
Not the magic mystery tour
But hell among the flowers

Poetry by Joseph Barry

The Ocean's Lament

The sea was calm, but even so,
The weatherman said it could snow,
It is only January and there’s a price,
The ocean is full of snow and ice.
Take your time, don’t cross the foam,
But if you do, don’t go alone.

Put Paddy didn’t really heed,
He thought there wasn’t any need.
So off he went and made a wish,
To God above to catch some fish.

He left his wife in their bed,
Twenty years since they were wed.

But when he got into his boat,
I’m afraid that’s all she wrote.
A perfect storm that blew and blew,
There was nothing he could do.

They found his body when it came to shore,
It must have been a week or more,
He loved his wife beyond words could say,
But now death had its final play.

Everyone knew just what it meant,
It was the ocean’s last lament.

The people prayed and then they said,
God takes away all his dead,
The gale force winds took his life away,
And now he’s six foot in the clay.