Monday 6 March 2023

Five Poems by Kevin McManus


Everything was this Moment

The white sash window was open slightly,

it was early May.

The net curtain waltzed back and forth

like the swash and backwash of a wave,

as the early, fresh and clean Summer air

flowed in.

It was quiet, almost silent apart from

birdsong from the tree in the garden and

the flutter of the green leaves.

The afternoon light that shone through

the curtain landed on a spot on the brown

flower-patterned carpet.

Everything was in harmony,

everything was this moment.

A bell in the white morning

Nature is the temple of the soul,

spirits dancing on the breeze,

with light in your eyes,

the pale sun in the sky,

the fox and the hare,

the whin and the rush,

beauty in the banal,

a bell in the white morning.

A Pagan Place

On hallowed ground,

Where the whitethorn meets the blackthorn,

a threshold through the spiritual veil.

When you are with nature you are with the earth,

walking through a living landscape

feeling the spirit of the country,

We change in the thin places

we connect in those liminal spaces.

The veil is thin at the borderlands.

at the forest edge,

light coming through the trees,

casting upon the sacred oak,

beside flowing river water,

over rocks and boulders,

by the sea as the waves meet the shore.

A connection with those

who were rooted to the same places in the past,

to the people of the mounds,

the hill of Uisneach,

Tara, Bru na Boinne,

Knocknarea, Carrowmore

Rathcroghan, the cave of cats,

into the womb of the world.

The soul of the Caileach embodied

in the hallowed places.

Magic is hiding in plain sight.

Spirits move from the outer and inner worlds.

The curtain is translucent

over the three days and nights of Samhain.

To be open and receptive,

to pull deep within the grove of trees,

transcendence in the temenos.

A cold wind from the lake

A raw January day,

the bitter wind coming up

from the lake would skin you.

Hands were red and torn,

cut from briar and blackthorn.

Daylight was in short supply,

as their breath hung in the

cold midwinter air.

Cursing the clock,

time to get it done,

tying the wet pallet to the post,

bridging the gap,

knotting the short, blue rope

with clumsy, stubby fingers.

As the sharp, sleety rains came down,

the watery sun was swallowed

by the woods on Johnson's Hill.

Opened ground

The smell of opened earth,

stained with blood and diesel dripping down.

The drone of the engine,

the clatter of the arm as it dug,

breaking through old stone shores

laid by large, strong hands.

Red sparks and white ash

floating upwards towards the sky,

carried by black smoke,

from burning whin bush and branch

Held down as the flames consumed them.

A body in a cold wet drain,

bent low with pick, bar, spade and shovel.

Straightening up, taking a breather,

a swallow of cold tea from a bottle,

a bite of dry soda bread

from a piece of wrapped cloth.

Stretching a tall, tired frame,

clearing the sweat and dried daub from a lined furrow.

Old for his age, landless,

labouring in another man’s field.

Taken too soon,

a man I never met.

Kevin McManus is a poet from County Leitrim in Ireland. In 2021, he published a poetry collection entitled “The Hawthorn Tree” with Lapwing Publishers, Belfast. He has been published in a number of journals including, the Honest Ulsterman, The Madrigal, the Cormorant, the Galway Review, Dreich and An Aitiuil








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