Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Six Poems by Kevin McManus


The lark in the clean air


The Summer sun shimmered through the leaves

and the shadows of the ash swayed upon the pebble-dashed walls,

the sound of the river flowed over the rounded mossy stones

and the waters ran deep after a hard night’s rain.


The red front door was ajar,

a song from the morning radio floated from beyond the hall,

in the kitchen, the female voice sang the lark in the clean air

as the rasher and the egg danced on the pan.


June had arrived from out of the cold shadows,

and we thought that the longer days would last forever,

packing our cares away in the forgotten places,

as the joy of youth stretched out before us.



Voices lost in the wind


I call your name, but it gets lost in the rising wind,

your tears are drowned in the driving rain,

your face is fading in the fog of time.


Looking out to sea with the cold seeping into your skin,

thoughts like waves drifting from what might have been,

with the briny taste of the sea in your mouth,

and the far-off storm in your faraway eyes.

The Silent Village


The voices still resonate

around the fallen stones of Inishark,

songs carried on the Atlantic storms,

spectral shadows walk the paths

to abandoned grounds where progenies played,

agrarians toiled and spirits sleep.


Tears soaked into the island shallow soil,

the sun and the air dwells now

amongst its crumbled ruins,

a settlement stolen by sorrow,

the death of an island.


The last of the living

on a grey October day,

carried off by St. John,

before the birth of Winter,

blessed by the father,

a floating armada drifts

to dreams of deliverance.

From out of the fog walk the ghosts of Killeaden


By a spring of sacred water,

the hermit, St. Aiden built his beehive cell,

surrounded by oak and ash.


His blessed brothers followed to the

pollard trees within the bealach

upon the banks of the Gwestion.


An Abbey raised to the ground by the boot of the Williamite,

Franciscans slaughtered by the foreign blade,

blood upon blood.


A solemn vow on the hills of Lis Ard,

to not quench a fire on a hearth,

for the souls of the brethren,

from out of the fog still walk the ghosts of Killeaden.

The bridge of sorrows


Forced to leave Donegal

with a belly full of suffering

and a hunger for hope.


On foot, the long road for Muckish gap

from Falcarragh to Kilmacrenan

towards the port of Derry

and a six-week passage on board the Cornelia

for Ellis Island.


Saying farewell to loved ones

upon the bridge of sorrows

that spans a river of tears.

One last look into their faces

to capture the eyes, they will never see again

one last grasp to hold them before painfully letting go,

their mother’s cries upon the bridge will haunt them,

and come to them in the dark of a New York night.

Sacred Heart


Heavy, thick and humid, late summer weather.

standing for a moment resting on the car door

looking towards the house,

dull red brick broken with splashes of colour

from flower filled window boxes and hanging baskets,

water dripped from them,

the yard was grey but clean and washed.


Walking towards the front gate,

nervous, anxious,

humming a familiar song to distract himself,

knocking twice and standing back,

Waiting, shuffling feet,

an opened door,

a small woman stood, wiping herself with a tea towel,

she stared and then smiled,

stretching out her welcome hand.


Following her down the dark narrow hall,

crosses and relics on the wall,

the sacred heart lit up.


In the kitchen a stout man was peeling the skin off hot spuds,

he didn’t get up from his chair

and just continued his task,

keeping his eyes focused on the job in hand.

An apology from the visitor from coming at a bad time,

he took the tea and fruit cake slice,

as his brother forked green cabbage around the plate

an awkward silence hung in the air,

until the dinner was finished,

until he was ready.


“Are you home for long?”

“A fortnight.”

“Where you stayin?”

“At McMahon’s, It’s a fine place”

“You could have stayed here.”

“I know … but”

“But what?”

“It’s for the best that I don’t”

“Are you still driving the machinery over beyond”  

“I am, there is still plenty of work”

“You must be making good money”

“Not too bad, but you earn it, long days.”

“Your over there twenty years now”

“I am”

“Would you not come home;

you have your money made?”

“Come home to what?”

“To where you belong”

“Where is that?”


Kevin McManus is a poet-writer from Leitrim in Western Ireland. He has published six novels, a collection of short stories and two books of poetry. His most recent poetry book called “The Hawthorn Tree” was published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast.  His poems have been published in various journals including the Honest Ulsterman , the Galway Review and the Lothlorien journal. 


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