This year has brought many opportunities for reading and performing for which I am eternally grateful! The weekly Open Mics at Not the time to be silent Open Mic Nights and Cultivating Voices Open Mic allow sharing and hearing poets from Ireland, the US, the UK and around the world, and have sprung out of writers reactions to the limitations of the pandemic.
My last gig before lockdown was at the The London Irish Center where I shared the stage with amazing poets, writers and actors as part of the Women Of Wit ensemble for International Women’s Day 2020. Before that I got to perform in Bewleys in Grafton St, Dublin (also closed now, am I a jinks? 🙂 ) Civic Theatre in Tallaght, the The Dolmen Theatre in Bray and the fantastic Droichead Arts Center in Drogheda.
London March ’20 Drogheda Feb ’20 Bewley’s 2019
The move to Zoom has been a learning experience but one that allows me to participate in an online collaborative project writing libretto for opera with Performance Arts Lab in the first online delivery of a Composer & Writer’s Studio with Composer Stephen McNeff. This promises to be the learning on a new scale but a fantastic opportunity to work with singers and composers from Ireland and around the world so I am really looking forward to it!
Awarded 3rd prize in the 2020 Strokestown International Poetry Competition
The coat in the hall is threadbare
After 27 years I still stop and stare at it,
Willing it to tell me what it knows
to tell me where you are
or where you went
when you went missing.
Still hung on the same hook,
the same sci-fi book
poking out of the left pocket,
a half empty pack of Amber Leaf
nestled in the right.
At night I touch the frayed edges of the sleeve,
And hear your words above the clang
of metal on the gate
“Don’t wait up, I’ll be late,”
then you were gone.
The echoes of that metal jangle
still rankle as a last post and chorus
for a lost son.
I will never know if the river was your bed,
if your limbs are still entwined around some broken
scrap of metal, or pipe of lead
dug deep into the mud somewhere.
All I know is
that I should have known;
that last note of the metal gate was too late.
You see I know,
you would never have left the coat.
There are days I want a grave to kneel at,
to dig my fingers into wet clay and to know
your bones and flesh are sleeping now,
But I always knew the best of days
were still too difficult for you.
Other days I wait and watch the road where you walked
the hundred yards to get the school bus.
As a child, you thought that cobwebs were made of silver.
I never told you otherwise.
Now there is only us.
I look to see a blue ridge of gelled hair and the rattle
of a bicycle chain slung low around your waist.
Black eyeliner was “in poor taste for a boy”
according to your father.
He left too but not like you did.
He sits by day at the window sill,
waiting, wiping fogged up glass
with baited breath and woollen elbows,
his thoughts mixed up with memories and bits of things
I sometimes think he knows,
but then he stands and asks
“Is Aidan in yet?”
On his way to bed he touches the coat and tells
me that he never read a science fiction book.
And with a tender good night kiss
he asks me every single night
“Whose coat is this?”
by Anne McDonald.
Precious Treasure Poem 2020.
Three Hours Out published https://poetsdirectory.co.uk/192 September 2020.