Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Courthouse Arts Centre

Pictured here are some Wicklow Writers members who were invited to read at the Courthouse Café Gig in the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely Co Wicklow

It was arranged by Carol Boland with Frank Gallaher. Martin Swords and Edward Ryan read a selection of their work including pieces from the Voices from the Shore CD

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lee Dunne at Wicklow Writers

We were delighted to have author Lee Dunne join us for one of our Monday night meetings in September.  He entertained us with stories of his career while also giving generously from his wealth of knowledge as a writer.   The group found his talk both inspirational and encouraging. 


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Start!

On September 1st we had our first meeting after the summer break. It was great to see everyone and a relief to find that our unusually wet summer (even by Irish standards) hadn’t dampened our collective writing spirits.
We hold our AGM next week and we are looking forward to setting ourselves new challenges for ‘08 –’09.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jane Clarke - 2nd Place Poetry Winner


Jane Clarke lives in Wicklow and is a member of Airfield Writers. She has had poems published in Revival Poetry Journal, The Stony Thursday Book, Listowel Winners Anthology, Boyne Berries and VirtualWriter.net. She has won prizes in Listowel Writer's Week (2007), the Francis Ledwidge Poetry Competition (2006), In Sight of Raftery Poetry Competition (2007), Wicklow Writers Competition (2008) and was highly commended in the Francis Ledwidge Poetry Competition (2007) and the Maria Edgeworth Literary Competition 2008.

For Michael

Despite the fire
of the rowan berries,
russet fountains of miscanthus,
golden glowing astilbes,
our garden is fading.

Nights grow colder
and we are waiting;
phonecalls about your eating,
emails about your sleeping,
texts about your breathing.

We rake bronze leaves,
cover dahlias with straw,
gather fallen apples.
In the waning light
we wheel one barrow after another.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Maureen Gallagher - Poetry Winner and 2nd Place Short Story Winner


Maureen Gallagher lives and works in Galway. She’s had poetry and prose published in literary magazines worldwide and broadcast on RTE. Her work has also been included in anthologies such as Van Gogh’s Ear (2007), Divas (Arlen House 2005), Anthology 1 (Ainnir 2004) and others. She’s been shortlisted for awards many times, including the Tigh Neactain Sonnet Award 2008, The Flat Lake Poetry Award 2007 and the Poetry Now 2006 Award. Maureen’s website can be viewed at http://www.maureengallagher.net/

December Rain

December rain breaks the cold snap. Outside a black-
backed gull screeches out its useless warning. Father
moves from chair to chair, waiting for his visitor, a child
who earlier has been given the nod, the familiar sign.
The sound of tapping on an outhouse roof’s flashing;
the rain trickling down the windowpane like tears.

The boy enters the room, fighting back tears.
He fears the onslaught of the billowing black
storm-clouds gathering, knows the flashing
light will take no hostages. The reverend Father
gestures for him to kneel, to first make the sign
of the cross. The day drags its heels as the child

blocks everything out. In year one a child
of God was born, brought into this vale of tears,
his mother a virgin, his father a dove, a sign
of peace on earth; of love. But still, black
thoughts of murder intrude, hatred for the Father
who stands naked before Jesus, flashing.

After the word, the deed. A thousand needles; flashing
pain. Resistance is of no avail, a fragile child
no match for a man built like a tank: a reverend Father,
smelling of chips, face oozing oil, sweating tears
of ecstacy that flow like a river into a yawning black
well. A howling wail like the howling wind: a sign

of the times - they can do as they like, or a sign
of malaise. The river becomes a flood, flashing.
And the boy discovers black. Everything black.
Walls. Ceiling. A thunderclap. He paints a child
nailed to the cross, body black with blood like tears,
that drip onto a shield, in the name of the Father,

destined to bring the sins back to the Father.
For when the time comes the boy will sign,
point the finger; there will be an end to tears;
he will hear the chimes of freedom flashing.
And the collar will re-appear, stripped as the child
was, covering tracks, whitewashing black.

In the black December of the soul, the child
makes a sign that becomes a beacon flashing,
drawing tears that hereafter flow from the Father.

Troubles Come

*****There was a time when you could park free in this city. The experts keep saying inflation is low, but fuck that, everything is getting dearer all the time. People making fortunes, wardens all over the place like a rash. She got clamped three times in as many months recently, paid over money she couldn’t afford, so no thank you very much she’s learnt her lesson.
*****Frankie parks at the cathedral. You can always be sure of getting a parking space at the cathedral. Expensive, if you stayed all day, but okay for an hour or two. Well, not okay.

*****Over the bridge. The river high these days, a full moon probably, or is it the other way around? Traffic bumper to bumper. Hummers, Hummers. Jesus! The land of the rich and richer. She’s one of the poor. If you don’t have money in this country you don’t count, you’re invisible. She makes the effort. Got that fountain put in recently and those gates. And she doesn’t really have anything against big cars, very proud of her own BWMer. Ok, admittedly a second hander, a big guzzler. But it smells of money! Not that she has any, but she won’t have anyone looking down on her. No one looks down on Frances Delahunty. Especially not family. But debt is a damned coyote forever snapping at her heels. Which is why she’s on her way to the local housing now to try and wangle rent allowance out of them. She could be forced to sell the house yet. The story of her life. Debt was the reason she sold the last house, just before the eviction. Thank the lord for the Bank of Scotland with its hundred and twenty percent loans. In her daughter Ally’s name this time, they wouldn’t give it to her. But before you can say credit the debts start to creep up again. They could lose the house yet. And Ally is not well pleased.

*****The community welfare office; housing department. Jesus, the grilling. The questions, fuck. Where she’s living, where she lived before, who owned the previous house, how come her daughter owns this house, why doesn’t her daughter let her live in the house, she is the mother after all? Proof that her daughter owns the house. She feels battered.
*****“I’m sorry to have to go through all this, but it’s necessary, I’m afraid, we must ask these questions.” The welfare officer’s voice is smooth, manner slippery as yesterday’s hake. Frankie knows what she’s thinking: she’s just another of these spongers trying to do the state out of money; you’d think it was her fucking money!
*****“If you owned the house in Renmore, surely you have some interest in this one? I’m just trying to clarify things here.”
*****“No, it was Ally’s Portuguese father who put up the money for the previous house, for his daughter.” He put up a pittance, the miser, but Frankie keeps that quiet. Lousy cheater!
*****“So why exactly did you leave the house in Renmore?” Jesus, the prying. No way is she going to mention the debt. What business is it of theirs anyway? Only tell on a need to know basis.
*****“We’d like to visit your current home, your daughter’s house, if that’s okay?” Oh, God, they’ll find the tenants! But wait a minute, why do they want to visit the house? Jesus Christ almighty, why? It’s her daughter’s house.
*****“Actually I did call last week,” Ms official crossallthe t’s and dotallthe i’s discloses, “but there was no one there.” They were snooping around her house! No doubt taking into account the fountain in the back, the wrought iron gates. They’ll never give her the allowance!
*****“Can you ring first, before the next visit?”
*****“Why? Won’t you be there?” They want to winkle out of her that she’s got a job but Frankie’s up to their weasel ways.
*****“Well actually I’m often not there.”
*****“Why not?”
*****“I spend quite a lot of time in the library.”
*****“In the library?”
*****“Yes. For research purposes.”
*****“I’m compiling material for a book.”
Silence. The official lets it pass and the interview draws to a close. Frankie hurries out past the queueing Lithuanians and Nigerians into the black November afternoon.

*****Back at the cathedral she has to wait in a queue at the ticket machine. Her useless umbrella has lost the battle against the torrential rain. The queue is stationary, the machine caput. Wouldn’t you know! Oh bloody hell! Everyone’s getting saturated. She’ll have to go into the loo after she drives to the shopping centre and dry the ends of her new cream trousers at the hand dryer before she meets Dette at Hughes and Hughes. Where’s the bloody attendant? How can they leave people standing like that with no shelter? This is more of it. This fucking Celtic Tiger! They rake in the lolly, but its all greed, all profit. No thought for people standing in the rain. Would they ever think of building a shelter? Oh no, that would eat into the profits! She’s a socialist, she knows how the system works. Was a socialist, at least, in her twenties – what is she now? Who knows? Too busy trying to keep afloat, she hasn’t time to think of saving the world, or fighting for the rights of the oppressed. Godammit, she is the oppressed. And the more she thinks about it the more she thinks it’s the poor in Ireland, the native Irish poor, who get the raw deal. You have to be a foreigner to get anything in this country!
*****She storms to the office. There’s something about church doors, the wealth of ancient Irish oak. Hand in glove with commerce now, sadly. She waits. Opens the door tentatively. No one. Nada! She’ll surely get a cold out of this. At the very least a sinus attack. Then the migraine.
*****Suddenly the attendant. Walking briskly over to the machine, very business-like, opening the dispenser, re-inserting coins, manually handing out tickets.
*****“How come we’re left waiting in the rain for fifteen minutes? What kind of a service is that?”
*****“I went to the toilet. Five minutes. Max.” East European. German, most likely.
*****“Well, I’m sorry to disagree, but there are all these people waiting. It was fifteen minutes at least.” The customer is always right!
*****“I went to the toilet, five minutes, no more,” snaps the attendant.
Frankie tries reason.
*****“Well I know it’s not your fault, they should have more attendants.”
But no way was this one for giving in.
*****“There are enough. Are you saying I shouldn’t go to the toilet?” Jesus, a cog in the machine. She’s defending the damn system. (And probably earning buttons for her trouble.) Frankie swallows her anger and resentment at this self-righteous outsider who insists on having the last word.

*****Hughes & Hughes, in the coffee shop and Dette on her soapbox.
*****“But don’t you understand, this woman probably has a family at home dependent on what she sends – children, mother, father, maybe even grandparents.”
She skims the froth on her cappuccino and sucks in the sweet cinnamon. Closes her eyes. Think positive. Think positive. Dette is a dear friend but she gets on her nerves sometimes.
*****“She cannot lose her job. If she does where is she? You shouldn’t take it out on her.”
*****“I know all that, but did she have to be so damned aggressive. Like a rottweiler, she was. Why can’t you see it from my point of view!” Why does Dette always have to be so damned politically correct.
*****“Oh I do understand the frustration, I do. Only yesterday I had an experience myself. I was in Joyce’s and… “ Dette launches into of her yarn and Frankie finds herself back at the interview. The humiliation! What if they start nosing into her daughter’s affairs? Would it affect Ally’s student grant? Jesus! She could lose her grant! Fuck! What business is it of theirs anyway what the house is like? She is renting off her daughter, end of story. She scoops up the last of the foam from the well. Licks the spoon deliberately. You have to be a foreigner to get anything in this country.
*****“Y’know, they throw these people - Poles, or Latvians or Lithuanians - in at the coalface with no training whatever. It really isn’t fair.” Dette’s growing a ‘tache!

*****Later that evening, in the Roisin Dubh. Frankie hadn’t told Dette she’s going. She needed to let the hair down, forget about everything. Plus tonight Pete’s playing. In fact Pete’s the reason. Frankie settles into a corner seat, with a Hennessy. Her poison.
*****Several brandies later and the band are in their stride, coming up to closing. Pete’s singing one of her favourites:
*****At the age of thirty-seven she realized she’d never
*****Ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair…
Frankie gets up to join a few people out on the dance floor. She floats around, semi-conscious of eyes on her, how good she looks in her cropped jacket and cream pants. A drunk comes up and dances drunkenly beside her. She’s not bothered, she’s going with the flow. Shimmies her way up near the music and Pete. A very decent bloke is Pete.
*****“You’re a decent bloke, Pete,” she calls out before tripping, losing her step. A pint of Guinness topples to the ground, splattering the black stuff all over her new cream pants. Those same pants she went to so much trouble to dry off at the shopping centre earlier. Frankie starts dabbing the wet stain with a tissue. Some big guy is giving out. She’s giving as good as she gets. Out of nowhere swoops security, circling the situation, shooting orders like darts. Frankie’s in a shouting match now over her ruined new expensive pants - that’ll have to be dry-cleaned - and the spilt Guinness. The music has stopped, people are rising, pulling on coats, the central lights suddenly on. The bouncer is towering over Frankie telling her,
*****“Please leave. Now!” Polish accent! Wouldn’t you know!
*****“Why don’t you all just fuck off back to where you came from,” Frankie is saying, unsteady on her feet. She stumbles against the bouncer, who pushes her back, then she slips and lands plop! in the Guinness swill on the floor. For moments she lies there stunned, overwhelmed by the stench of stale beer and mortification. She sees red; smells blood. Broken glass all over the floor. Everything is spinning, the room, her life, everything. As she rises to her feet, arm raised, she hears herself yelling,
*****“See what you’ve done, you fuckin’ foreigner!”
But the security man is talking into his mobile. She becomes aware of Pete reaching out to her. It’s then Frankie notices she’s got broken glass in her hand, piercing the palm, drawing blood.

Alyn Fenn - Short Story Winner


Alyn Fenn lives by the sea in Schull, Co. Cork. She is married with three sons, aged 22, 13 and 10. She has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and has been painting for twenty-five years. Four years ago she took up writing poetry and short stories. She has been published in the SHOp poetry magazine and has won several other prizes for her short stories, among them The William Trevor International Short Story Competition 2007.

Don't Left Me

Every moment of every day still has to be used up and there is never a moment when I am free of it, never a moment when it doesn’t invade every cell of my body, like a deathly sickness it devours me repeatedly, my first thought on waking and my last at night before I sleep, and then the nightmares come. No end.

I trudge through the sleeping city toward the docks, over the snow thick pavements, my feet sinking deep into the drifts and the slush seeping into my shoes which become progressively wetter with each step. I do not care. The black trees along the seafront are laden with translucent ice.
*****By the time the ferry departs the sun has begun to rise, turning the city pale pink and golden. I am alone on the deck. I know that I ought to find this spectacle beautiful, that is to say, I am aware that a scene such as this is commonly considered beautiful, but for some time now, nothing has been of any worth to me, although, if I try hard, I can still faintly remember the things I once found compelling - hydrangeas, flushed pink and blue, the exquisite design of each perfect petal, mother of pearl shells strewn along a beach, still glistening from the tide.

I’d left Jamie at the babysitter’s earlier than usual that day. He clung to my leg.
*****Don’t left me, Mummy,’ he begged.
*****I pressed my cheek next to his, kept it there an extra moment, eyes closed, breathing in his skin smell, sweet like honey with a tang of small boy sweat.
*****‘Mummy has to go.’

*****When I turned at the gate, I could see him watching, his small face pressed to the window.

After the ship leaves land the weather changes rapidly. The sky that was clear and streaked pink turns murky and a wall of cloud looms on the horizon ahead of us. The ocean is a heavy grey green, the waves surge against the bow, a few seagulls bob on the surface like scraps of bread tossed into the waters. The water will be so cold as to instantly numb the body, the sort of cold so intense it burns and paradoxically feels almost warm. I draw my coat tighter around me and wish for courage. That it will be quick. That there will be an end.
*****An old man with a packet of cigarettes in his hand comes out on deck. He is stooped and thin with a straggly white moustache. From the deck above comes the sound of a woman’s laughter. The old man puts a cigarette between his lips and takes a lighter from his pocket and cups his hands around the flame, tilting his head to light his cigarette. Although I have not smoked for close to thirteen years, the acrid smell sends a surge of longing through my veins. I stand downwind sharply sucking smoke between my teeth. I badly want a cigarette, so much do I want one that before I even know it’s going to happen, I have spoken.
*****‘Could I get a cigarette?’
*****He turns and looks at me with sad watery eyes. ‘Yes, of course.’ He fumbles with the lid. The red and white of the pack makes me think of last Christmas morning, Jamie, old enough by then to be fully part of the excitement, waking up to the filled stocking at the end of his bed.
*****‘Mummy! Mummy! He did come!’
*****The brain is full of these unbidden associations. The nerve in my left eyelid begins its frequent twitching.
*****He gets the pack open and slides a cigarette towards me.
*****‘Thank you,’ I say. To my dismay large tears form behind my lids. I blink quickly, and give my cheek a surreptitious wipe under cover of tucking my hair into my collar, hoping he won’t notice my distress.
*****I put the cigarette between my lips and the old man leans forward in a tentative manner, and lights it for me. His fingernails are remarkably clean. The first inhalation causes me to choke and spew out a thick cloud of yellowish smoke. As I try to control my coughing I become aware of a headache forming at the base of my skull, a dull beating like a hammer on something soft.
*****‘They’re strong,’ he says, ‘if you’re not used to them.’
*****I nod, shoulders hunched with coughing, eyes watering. When the spasm eases I take another small experimental drag and look down at the waves and think of how small a person would be down there in the sea, floating beside the seagulls which only look as big as the tip of a fingernail. How the person’s tears would slide down their cheeks into the ocean, blend into that vast salt liquidness and be lost forever.

* * * *

I saw a boy the other day - the physical resemblance was so strong I had to use all my strength to stop myself from running over and throwing my arms about him crying out, ‘Where have you been?’

I stand staring over the rail and smoking, and all the time I can feel my companion watching me and gathering to say something. The air has turned glacial.
*****‘I’m Manfred,’ he says softly, putting out his hand, ‘Manfred Mc Pherson.’
*****Those clean finger nails. I find them upsetting for some reason I can’t fathom. As I throw my cigarette out over the side large drops of rain start to fall. The wind is rising. It feels as if I am moving in slow motion, underwater or through a thickened air. I put out my hand. Our fingers meet, his are icy cold, behind him the clouds lower themselves to the sea and block the horizon.
*****‘I’m Helen.’
*****He shakes my hand gently. He carries an air of sadness about him, like a man who has lost a valuable possession or one who is never free of some past regret or current worry or future fear. He takes out his cigarettes and offers me another.
*****‘Thank you.’
*****The rain gets heavier. I hear a faint wheeze in his chest as I lean forward for him to light my second cigarette. It’s strange the things one notices at times like these, I feel at once disconnected from the world and yet completely tuned in to all its sounds, sights, smells, all my senses super sharp.
*****I was happy, once. I know I was. I am sure.

They telephoned me at work. I went to the station. The babysitter wept, they’d been at the playground, she’d only taken her eyes off him for a moment, she’d looked everywhere, asked everyone, no one had seen anything untoward.
*****‘We are doing all we can, Ma’am,’ said the policewoman.
*****They made enquiries, conducted searches, set up a hotline, followed leads. It was three weeks before they found him.

The wind whips and tugs around us, plucks at my clothes, snatches at my hair. The old man hunches against the wind, one knobbly hand gripping the rail, the other cupping his cigarette against the rain. I can hear pop music playing somewhere, someone has a radio or perhaps it is the ship’s piped music. The sound is incongruous with the weather - the storm clouds, the freezing rain, the wind - and over it all growls the ship’s engine, a deep steady thrum from the bowels of the ship, pushing us ever further from the land.
*****‘When I came out here and saw you . . .’ he turns from the rail, ‘. . . I thought for a minute you were going to jump.’

The nightmares. In them Jamie comes back to me, not as the living but as the dead, his skin blackened and mottled with yellow splodges, slipping off his face, the marks visible around his neck. And all I can think of is how I was not there to comfort him, to wipe his tears, to kiss him, his lips, his cheeks, his eyelids, his ears, as I used to do some nights when he was asleep, cover him with silent kisses in the dark.

I stare out to sea. The waves are building, dense walls of water rolling ahead of the prow, their white caps startlingly bright against the dull green sea, the rain slanting in sheets across the surface. I have a feeling of doom, like in those apocalyptic dreams before one falls into the void. The cigarette burns my fingers then and I throw it over the side where it is immediately whipped away by a gust and carried high into the air before disappearing.
*****‘That’s gone,’ I say.
*****The old man gives me an uncertain smile. Behind us the storm continues to build. I feel frozen and shivery, as if I have chills, a bad case of flu coming on. The waves claw one another’s backs and another bank of purplish grey cloud is building.

Of course he was afraid. He was only four years old. He cried for his mother. For three weeks my little boy lay in some sadist paedophile’s cellar and cried for his mother.
I begged them not to tell me any more.
*****I had to identify him. They were pretty sure they said but . . . He was wearing his Spiderman t-shirt, it was streaked with dirt and also some stains that looked like rust but later I realised they were blood and his face was a yellowish white colour like old candle wax in a church no one visits.

‘Do you have any children?’ the old man asks.
*****I look away. ‘No.’
*****He takes out his wallet. ‘Would you like to see a picture of my granddaughter?’
*****The photograph, protected in a plastic cover, is of a small girl wearing a white sunhat and a white dress with red flowers, smiling gleefully; she’s on a beach, a cerulean summer sky at her back and in front of her an enormous sandcastle.
*****‘Anytime she sees a camera,’ he says, ‘she’s switched on.’
*****I look at his hands. I want to snatch the wallet out of them and fling it into the sea. Rip his clean fingernails out with my teeth.
*****‘What’s her name?’ I ask.
*****‘Lucy Angela. Her full name is Lucy Angela Mc Pherson. L A M P. Lucy is Latin for light.’ He looks boyishly pleased. ‘It wasn’t on purpose.’
*****‘I always called her by her full name,’ he says, ‘Lucy Angela. Her mother just calls her Lucy.’
*****I long for my mind to be a blank.
*****‘I don’t see her any more,’ he says. ‘My son got divorced and then Lucy Angela and her mother moved to Australia.’
*****I look over the edge. The portholes are like eyes watching over the endless expanse of sea. Lucy Angela, in your white dress with the brave red flowers which maybe you don’t even wear anymore, where are you now? Do you even remember your grandfather? And I think about Jamie at the babysitter’s, his little face pressed to the window, waiting faithfully for me to come back and get him. The next time I saw him he was lying on a stainless steel table. He was covered up at first and then the policewoman uncovered him and I said that is my son, and I touched his hand and then I laid my face on his chest and wept and said over and over that I loved him and that I was sorry and the pain in my chest was so big I thought I would surely burst and die right there but I didn’t.
*****‘I’m sorry about Lucy Angela,’ I say. ‘I hope you’ll see her again one day.’
*****And I turn away from the rail and go inside.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Open-Mic at the Wicklow Arts Festival

A very successful poetry reading was held at Wicklow Library, Sat 10th May as part of the Wicklow Arts Festival. The open-mic reading was organized by the Wicklow Writers group, and invited anyone with an interest in Poetry to read or listen.
Junia Kaiser, a young student from Germany read her poem “Different Views” , a view of Ireland from a visitors point of view. She also introduced us to a German form of poem called an Elfchen - a short poem of only eleven words arranged in lines of One, Two, Three, Four, and One. This was fascinating new knowledge for all at the reading. Her Elfchen Poem , (Elfchen means Little Eleven) is included here

Green Grass

White Rain Clouds

And the Orange Sunset

Anne Graham, an experienced poet read her poems “Tame Wilderness” and “Folks Like It The Way Things Are Here”, fascinating poems based on her observations of America.
Michael Ryan from Rathdrum used the Library Internet to print off and read to all, T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Journey of the Magi”, a well known and well loved poem, and a favorite of his.
Members of Wicklow Writers Group also read some of their own work together with classics from Patrick Kavanagh.
A very enjoyable an successful reading was had by all, and we look forward to future readings at future Wicklow Arts Festivals!
Martin Swords
Wicklow Writers

Friday, May 9, 2008

Competition Winners

Short Story Winners

First Prize - Don't Left Me by Alyn Fenn, Cork
Second Prize - Troubles Come by Maureen Gallagher, Galway

Poetry Winners

First Prize - December Rain by Maureen Gallagher, Galway
Second Prize - For Michel by Jane Clarke, Wicklow

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Short Story and Poetry Competition

Short Story – Shortlist

The Business Trip by Evelyn Walsh, Dublin.
Don’t Left Me by Alyn Fenn, Cork.
The Lollipop Fields by Jamie O’Connell, Cork.
Troubles Come by Maureen Gallagher, Galway.

Poetry - Shortlist

Before Closure by Philip Quirke, Wexford.
For Michel by Jane Clarke, Wicklow.
December Rain by Maureen Gallagher, Galway.
The Far Side of the World by Tony Devlin, Dublin.
The competition results will be announced at the Space Inside Arts Club on Wednesday 7th May as part of the Wicklow Arts Festival.

The prizes will be presented by short story adjudicator, Carmen Cullen and poetry adjudicator, Mary Gukian.

The Space Inside Arts Club
Wicklow Sailing Club
South Quay
Admission is Free

Poem by Edward Ryan

Observing The Loons’ p

A nonsense poem written as a tribute to Spike Milligan and the Goons by E. J. Ryan.
There exists in this world a very strange place,
It’s the land of the little known Loons.
All of the Loons wear long pantaloons,
You won’t see a trousers a skirt or a kilt,
Not a shorts or a long evening dress,
Just long pantaloons is worn by the Loons,
For that is their national dress.
***************** *
A young girlie Loon came skipping along,
She was waving a stick in the air,
She asked a man Loon, “Do you like my balloon?
Have you ever seen anything so rare?
Have you ever seen anything so rare?”

Well he looked at the stick and he thought rather quick,
Of something to tell the young Loon.
He said, “As to the stick I think it unique,
But I’m failing to see a balloon,
Young Loon!
Wherever is your balloon?”

Well, she stopped and she stared, I’d have to say glared,
Till she made him feel quite ill at ease,
Then she opened her gob and let out one sob
And bounced up and down on her knees,
Oh please!
She bounced up and down on her knees!

In the land of the Loon they have lunch around noon,
Which consists of several dishes,
Such as soup of racoon scooped up with a spoon
And crusts spread with butterfish fishes,
Thick crusts spread with butterfish fishes.

Then they wash it all down with a liquid that’s brown,
There’s a delivery by tanker each day,
They go into a ‘tis if you ask what it is,
“It’s better you don’t know”, they say.
I say!
“It’s better you don’t know”, they say.

There isn’t a Loon that can hold a good tune,
A sad fact that’s known to them all,
When they open their mouth, to sing or to shout,
It sounds like an elephant’s call, what a bawl.
It sounds just like an elephant’s call.

If you see a young Loon step an old rigadoon,
Better take to your heels with the chance,
Or before you can say, “Please get out of my way”,
He will sweep you up in the dance.
He will sweep you up in the dance.

All of the Loons in the land of that name,
Have a terrible habit of spitting,
They don’t seem to care, they spit everywhere,
Even under the chair where they’re sitting.
They’re spitting!
Beneath the chair where they’re sitting.

If you ask any Loon if the bus will come soon,
Or if the trains are running on time,
They will take off their hat, and after they’ve spat,
They will answer you in Loonish rhyme,
They will answer you in Loonish rhyme.

If a Loon sees a tram he eats crackers with jam,
It’s a feature that can’t be explained,
Then they spin round and round till they fall to the ground,
It’s something that’s simply ingrained,
Not trained!
But something that’s simply ingrained.

In the land of the Loon on the eve of full moon,
They get merry on sweet cherry wine,
Then they take off their shoes and go for a snooze,
And they dream of being divine,
What swine!
To dream of being divine!

There once was a Loon who thought it a boon,
To give parts of himself away free,
I don’t care to relate here his terrible fate,
For it’s far too painful you see,
Oh me!
It’s far too painful you see.

Never whistle a tune in the land of the Loon,
Or their actions will surely astound you,
Every Loon near and far with feather and tar,
Will come in a crowd and surround you,
I warned you!
They’ll come in a crowd and surround you.

Should you go very soon to the land of the Loon,
There are several essentials to bring,
A fine prancing horse, galoshes, of course,
And a bell with a loud ting-a-ling,
Oh do bring!
A bell with a loud ting-a-ling.

I would be a buffoon to malign the poor Loon,
But I think that you’ve formed the idea,
If I had to pick between the Loons or be sick,
I think I’d prefer diarrhoea,
Do you hear!
I think I’d prefer diarrhoea.

copyright Edward Ryan 2007

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wicklow Writers presents Wicklow Hospital with a cheque for €400.

The money was raised through the sales of their spoken word CD, Voices from the Shore. Hospital staff were delighted with the gift and hope to buy some garden furniture so that the patients can enjoy the warm weather.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wicklow Writers Schools Competition

1st Poetry - Roslyn O'Carroll - Domincan College

2nd Poetry - Jonathan Flood - Abbey Community College

1st Short Story - Roslyn O'Carroll - Dominican College

2nd Short Story - Conor McCall - De La Salle College

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Poem by Martin Swords

Breakfast for One

Breakfasts were special.
Two plates.
Two eggs.
Cup and saucer.
Egg and spoon.
Salt and pepper.
In kindness people ask.
I cannot tell.
Nor wish to.
One plate is lonely.
The egg is spoiled.
No pepper.
I never liked it.
Only the salt is set.
Only the sharp taste.

Martin Swords
April 2008

copyright Martin Swords 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Literary Competition Judges

The judges for the Wicklow Writers Literary Competition 2008 are
Carmen Cullen
Mary Gukian

Carmen Cullen will judge the short stories. Carmen is a poet and playwright. She lives in Bray, Co Wicklow and her publications include Class Acts, and Sky of Kites

Mary Gukian will judge the poetry section. Mary is a poet from Leitrim whose publications include Perfume of the Soil and The Road to Gowel.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Poem by Martin Swords

sharp night in Glendalough

night air in Glendalough is sharp,
sharp frost is on the ground

the frozen puddles hold
the Dog Star shining down

the Green Road sparkles icy
cold stillyness the sound

from Derrybawn as streamlets
stand in icicles hung down

on Paddock Hill the ring of stones
four thousand years stood round

hoarfrost stubbles granite face
facing Camaderry’s mound

firm footprints of the furtive
deer trail shadows on the ground

breath clouds in the still night air
as each hilly step is bound

in homes of long gone foresters
windows flicker winter warmth

valley folk in their cosy cots
sit ruddy faced at fiery hearths

in this the place they love,
this mountain Glen
this magic mystic Glendalough
alive in the sharp night air

Martin Swords
Prompt Poems
Feb 2008

copyright Martin Swords 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Space Inside
Wicklow Sailing Club
Members of Wicklow Writers will give a performance featuring work from their recent CD, Voices from the Shore
Wednesday 5th March '08
Doors open at 8pm
Admission Free
Also Featuring
Robyn Kavanagh - You're A Star
Guitarist - Neil Tierney

Monday, February 25, 2008

Voices from the Shore

Voices from the Shore, the group’s first CD, is a superb collection of poetry and prose read by the authors. It is set against a background of inspiring music composed and arranged by Ferrau Lynch.

1. There’s a Sea in My Sleep - Eithne Wright
2. The Table - Carol Boland
3. Ode to Mode - Edward Ryan
4. They Laugh in the World - Ray McGovern
5. Waiting at the End of the Garden - Janet Smith
6. On the Wing - Martin Swords
7. Pearls - Tess Doyle
8. Lon Dubh - Gerry Sheridan
9. Thornton Force - Janet Smith
10. Chaos in Hugh Lane - Edward Ryan
11. Ode to Love - Eithne Wright
12. Mountain Stream Song - Martin Swords
13. Aunt Liz - Carol Boland
14. Murder in the Kitchen - Eithne Walsh
15. The Realms of Dragons - Ray McGovern
16. Strange People - Cáit Breathnach
17. A True Shepherd - Carmel Grant
18. Wicklow Railway - Gerry Sheridan
19. Jane - Tess Doyle
20. The Photograph - Carol Boland
21. Soldier of the Great War - Edward Ryan
22. The Shadow of the Glen - Eithne Wright
23. Doppelganger - Martin Swords
24. Playtime - Cáit Breathnach
25. Kicks - Ray McGovern
26. Act of Love - Janet Smith
27. Wicklow Gaol - Tess Doyle
28. Lonely Sea - Gerry Sheridan

CDs are €5 – To buy one please email us at wicklowwriters@gmail.com

€1 of all sales of this CD will be donated to Wicklow Hospital
Sponsored by Wall Street Discount Store : Wicklow Town Council : Wicklow County Arts Office

Saturday, February 16, 2008

This Competition is now closed
Short lists - May 1st
Results - May 7th
Wicklow Writers 2008 Literary Competition
In conjunction with Wicklow Arts Festival

Short Story
1st Prize €200
2nd Prize €100

1st Prize €200
2nd Prize €100

Prize winners will be announced at The Space Inside evening
in Wicklow Sailing Club on 7th May 2008.

Winning Entries will be printed in the next Wicklow Writer’s Anthology

Rules and Conditions
· Short stories must not exceed 2000 words.
· Poems must not exceed 45 lines.
· Closing date March 31st 2008.
· Winners will be notified in early May 2008.
· Entry fee - €5 per entry or €10 for three entries
· Stories/poems must be the work of the entrant.
· Stories/poems must be titled, double spaced and typed/clearly written on one side of A4 paper. · Each entry must have a cover-sheet attached giving title of short story/poem plus entrant’s name and address (also email if available).
· Judges' decision is final. No discussion will be entered into.
· Entries are not returnable so please keep a copy.
· Submission of work will be taken as acceptance of rules and conditions.

Entries to:
C/O Gerry Sheridan
Glanmore House
Nun’s Cross
Co Wicklow