Monday, November 9, 2009

The Home Place

For Night Light – Rathangan
by Dorothy Smith,
Hidden Histories
13 Sept – 9 Oct 2009

The Home Place

….sure is good to talk to you Brigid…

….you look after the old home place…
….boy we all sure do love that place…
….such memories….

Such memories.
Such memories.
Here am I living in your memories,
in the damp floors,
in the dark parlour where
I alone waked our mam,
in the pokey bedroom
with the flicky street light
The Home place,
where the heart is,
the broken heart

Martin Swords
Wicklow Writers
Poetry Day
October 1st 2009

N81 Late March

For N81

By Dorothy Smith.

Hidden Histories

13 Sept. – 9 Oct. 2009

N81 Late March

two hundred thousand three hundred and twenty five

two hundred thousand three hundred and twenty six

two hundred thousand three hundred and twenty seven

two hundred thousand three hundred and twenty eight

too many snowflakes to count, a confounding softness

traffic peters to nothing, silence rushes in

pale quiet spreads and settles softly on the ground

a white van, swanlike, glides slowly towards Tullow

I cannot count the flakes, I count the footsteps missing in the snow

the Byrne boys in Birmingham, Billy, gone to Glasgow,

all of the Powers except Granny Power, still next door

Imelda, who I always liked, with the black baby, gone, somewhere

N81, this feckin’ road leads everywhere and nowhere

taking, always taking, never bringing back

a few hours peaceful, in its coat of bridal white

soon it will revert to lonely emigration black

Martin Swords

September 2009

Wicklow Writers

Poetry Day

October 1st 2009

The Courthouse Arts Centre


Co. Wicklow

Monday, October 5, 2009

All-Ireland Poetry Day October 1st 2009


Wicklow Writers were invited by The Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely to co-operate with Artist Dorothy Smith in a unique celebration of All-Ireland Poetry Day.

Dorothy Smith's exhibition "Hidden Histories" was on view in the Arts Centre 13th Sept. - 9th Oct. and Wicklow Writers were invited to select paintings and write a poem about or inspired by the paintings.

The Writers also held a workshop with the local I.C.A. group on "Poetic Responces to Art" and some of the group joined the writers with their Poems in celebrating Poetry Day.

Wicklow Writers Carol Boland, Edward Ryan and Martin Swords, together with I.C.A. members
enjoyed a wonderful evening of stimulating Art and Poetry. Artist Dorothy Smith said she was moved, enthralled and surprised with the Poetic responses to her work, and all agreed that All-Ireland Poetry Day was well and truly celebrated in the Arts Centre in Tinahely

Pictured: Wicklow Writers Carol Boland and Martin Swords together with Artist Dorothy Smith, centre, beside one of Dorothy's paintings, "Night Light - Rathangan"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

End of Year Party '08/'09

Wicklow Writers have ended their season for '08/'09 with a bit of a party, a whole lot of work-in- progress and a meeting with special Poetry guests.

At their end of season drinkypoos they were joined by guests Angela Patten and Daniel Lusk, two famous poets now living in Vermont USA who happen to be married, to each other (what do two poets talk about over breakfast, maybe the simile of cornflakes being like flakes of corn ! )

Angela and Daniel, who both teach poetry as well as writing and publishing poetry, told fascinating tales of classes, students, and life in the wildwoods being visited by bears, racoons and mooses (plural of moose??) and probably mice as well.

Thank you Angela and Daniel for a great night. We even took a photo to show we weren't drunk, much.

Pictured with the Wicklow Writers Group were Guest Poets from Vermont, Angela Patten,(2nd from left, front row) and Daniel Lusk(right, back row)
Wicklow Writers who attended the End Year Bash included:
Back Row
Carol Boland, Gerry Sheridan, Martin Swords, Fainche Natoff
Front Seated
Cáit Breathnach, Eithne Wright , Edward Ryan

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bealtaine Festival - May 09

At a reading in Wicklow Library as part of the Bealtaine Festival of May ’09 Wicklow Writers facilitated a session of stories, poems and tales of old times entitled  “The Good Old Days”.
They could have talked all night, and very nearly did!
Pictured at the session are
Edward Ryan -  Nora Fleming - Martin Swords 
     Margaret Bloomer - Cáit Breathnach
Special thanks to all at Wicklow Library for organising the session and inviting Wicklow Writers
Martin Swords

Sunday, June 7, 2009

'Bard' by E.J. Ryan (April 1994)

I would not claim the name of ‘bard’,
or even one of high regard.
In truth this labour’s much too hard
to gain respect.
For in the end there’s scant reward,
and that’s a fact.

When thoughts pour out upon the page.
Some are foolish, other’s sage.
A few, restricted by the age,
Seem out of place.
The poet, by using every gauge,
must set the pace.

Reader, please have pity for a bard
who, finding that his muse comes hard,
then fails to play the trumping card
and win the game.
Think twice before you say, “blackguard,
you’ll not find fame.”

Sometimes the mind’s a deep dark den
when words flow sluggish from the pen,
and worse to try to make them blend,
so kind reader permit,
some licence when he fails to end
for lack of wit.

Rejoice when sometimes words combine
to raise your soul with thoughts that shine,
to swell your heart, to thrill your mind,
that you may think,
at last! at last! here is a rhyme
that’s worth the ink.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Bowl of Rice Always

A Bowl of Rice Always

A fractured home
A distanced heartache

A chopstick, an empty cup
A windchime in a garden

A bowl of rice
Always the small things

Martin Swords
May 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wicklow Arts Festival 2009

Young Writers Poetry Event ‘09 

There was a great entry from young poets in this event, part of The Arts Festival ‘09 

Wicklow Writers group were invited to judge the entries and present the prizes.  

The judges said “young people today write in a very grown-up way,

and on deep grown-up themes, like adults of earlier years – it’s amazing! ” 

Pictured at the presentation in Wicklow Library with

Martin Swords (Wicklow Writers) and Eliza Kane (Wicklow Arts Festival 2009)

are three young Prize-winning poets –  

Alison Fahey,  Promise Owoeye,   and Hannah Plomp, (right)  

“Congratulations, and keep writing!” 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poems by Carol Boland

Last tango in Venice


An Argentine mist rises

over Piazza San Marco

braces a drawing room

lined with arcane arches

and stirring tandas.

A dancer strides under

the moon lamps

leads a blushing man,

spreading into autumn,

out from a grand café.

This raven-haired willow

in short, red skirt

keeps him close

walks a rhythmic pulse,

ankles and knees brushing

as one leg passes the other,

toe of her stiletto

drawing patterns on the tiles.

Eyes almost touching lips

she tugs and pushes

turns and dips, hesitates

elongates in slow measured moves

keeps him close, 


like a visual heart-to-heartbeat

a living act smouldering

in his moment.


In failing days

he would ask his ashen-faced visitors

Have you ever danced the tango in Venice?




The night I landed in Kilanerin

tangled in oak and willow

I heard the screech of a banshee.


Raddled soul of death

she pierced the air

in her grey hooded cloak

or maybe the shift of the unshriven dead -

though I did not witness her.


Prophetic screams disturbed

my moon that night

loosened the dust from its fringe

to fall upon the wings

of an unsuspecting barn owl

hunting the dusk

for his snoring brood’s tea


scaring the bejeyus out of me.




Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Broad Casting by Martin Swords



The Bishop and The Priest, The Teacher,

Doctor, Auctioneer,

these were the Grey Gods of the Grey Fifties

Even the Politician and the Merchant

had to pay Respect, to gain Respect.

Knowledge was broadcast at us

Like seed scattered on an empty field.

We were told the answers to the questions

we didn’t dare to ask.


Then the men in hornrim glasses spoke.

With no mention of God the new

black and white God spoke in every livingroom.

It told us what we ought to know,

it opened doors and shone light in the shadows

where the grey sins lay hidden by the Grey Gods.

We thought we were seeing.


The new Grey God lives among the stars.

In glorious colour it speaks,

it tells the news, it makes the news,

it tells us what it is we ought to know.

A black and white view in colour.

The old Grey Gods look on, green with envy.

The strings they pulled were never as long,

strong or well played as this brash messenger.

This full colour God in the sky.

We still think we’re thinking.

Nothing changes but the colour.




Martin Swords

Jan 2009



(“Broadcast” was originally an adjective and adverb, and meant literally “scattered widely”, particularly in the farming context of sowing seeds.)


Monday, January 5, 2009

Wicklow Library at Christmas

Over the Christmas period Wicklow Writers were delighted, as always, to be able to work with Wicklow Library.  On December 18th a group of literary enthusiasts gathered to listen to mix of seasonal poetry and prose.  Guests were invited to read their own work or tell a story from their own experiences of Christmas.  The evening was rounded off with a song, some mince pies and a glass of wine.    

The following Saturday Wicklow Writers gathered in the library again, this time to read seasonal tales to children.  We read while the children chewed sweets – pleasing children is always easy!