Thursday, January 29, 2009

Planting a hedge in Tuar Mhic √Čadaigh

I planted my heel
In the thin black earth,
Struggling for a firm hold,
Then drove the blade down,
Felt it bite on stone,
Jar my back to the bone.

Frail twigs dropped
Into v-shaped slots,
Tamped in place,
Left to face the west wind,
The drawing of the lots.

Work done, I walked
Along the lough side,
Oblivious of those
Who walked beside me,
More bowed with every step,
Dumb with exhaustion,
Eyes fixed on feet,
Cut to ribbons by the sleet.

The hillside, bare-ribbed,
Barren, dispassionate,
Observed the wretched trail
Dwindle with each incoming wave,
The bay yawn into an open grave

While the colonel and the captain
Sat before a roaring fire in Delphi Lodge,
Taking their port at leisure
And though the wind vainly
Rattled the window panes,
Nothing could spoil this simple pleasure.

The hedge has grown tall.
Strong tendrils reach deep down,
Grasping the bone beneath.
After all these years,
New life is still firmly rooted
In death.

This poem has been a long time coming. I can’t believe that almost eight years have past since Kath and I went with our dear friend Rebecca to plant that hedge. I didn’t know then, about the events at Louisburgh and Delphi Lodge, although they occurred within a day’s journey of where we were staying. Nor did I know of Colonel Hogrove and Captain Primrose and of the four hundred bodies washed up along the coast of Killary and I didn’t have a chance to visit the monument to this act of genocide in Doolough Valley which bears the words of Ghandi, “How can men feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings?” You do not have to dig very deep to uncover the most bestial acts of savagery and it seems that we will never learn. This picture was taken on the annual ‘Famine Walk’ to commemorate not only the Doolough massacre, but the two million who perished in those years and as you can see I was not the first to make a connection.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


No words - just take action brothers and sisters!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Festival of Lights

I could scarcely believe my eyes
Watching the evening news
Gathered on the hillside
A line of Hassidic Jews
Enjoying the smoke
Rising from Gaza City
Greeting each impact
With applause instead of pity,
Delirious as the F16’s work was done
As it lit its phosphorous candles, one by one.

A white candle for the school,
A white candle for the mosque,
A white candle for the market place,
A white candle for the hospital,
A white candle for TV station
A white candle for the doctor’s surgery
A white candle for the UN store,
A white candle for my daughter’s hair.

Truth is much crueller than fiction. Poster by Latuff. Other images provided by Zionism in action.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This morning a Qassam exploded

This morning a Qassam exploded
In our garden in Ashkelon.
I watched a stranger in a yarmulke
Brandish its twisted metal
For the benefit of yawning cameras,
Lyrically describing his fears
For the safety of his family.
Then, there they were, filling the screen,
Laden with bags of shopping,
Rushing back and forth
Between the BMW and bunker.

Tonight I’ll play the hopeless fool,
Crawling through the rubble of Jibaliya,
Where the flesh of my father still lies,
Near the blazing market square,
Where the last traces of air
Soughed from the lungs of my wife,
Past the ruined school
Where two daughters learned to die,
And there, beneath the starless skies,
I will take careful aim,
Towards our garden in Ashkelon
And let another Qassam fly.

“You can’t be an enlightened, intelligent, involved human being on this earth without at the same time being full of despair.”
Karin Fossum ‘He Who Fears the Wolf’

Sunday, January 04, 2009


One man threw his shoe. The President shook
Now shoes blossom wherever you look.

One voice raised in rage. Our story
makes it's mark on history's page.

One child threw a stone
but now he's not alone.

One fist reaches for the sky.
A forest of fists rises up in reply.

It goes to show you can never underestimate the power of your own actions!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Gaza Story

Nothing was left to chance.
Look at these close up satellite images.
A pilotless drone filmed the whole scene
As it circled lazily above the road.
Trained military spotters watched every moment
From the safety of bunkers just across the border.

There could be no mistake.
The donkey cart was in plain view.
It was clearly a suspicious animal
With furtive ears. It even looked nervous.
Nobody was fooled by the two little sisters
Tagging along for the ride, there to give cover,
As guilty as the flea-bitten creature itself.

And so the brave soldiers called the F16 in.
The pilot waved, gave his usual cheeky chappy grin,
Then released the GBU - 39,
The kind of intelligent bomb
You can land on the head of a pin.
Have no fear.
There was no pilot error here.

The tabloid editor downed his whisky, still smoking -
A girl of four and her eleven year old sister
Killed searching for food -
An ‘unfortunate accident’,
No interest to our kind of reader.
Forget all about it.
Drop the dead donkey.
A front page story? You must be joking!

This comes from reading Kawther Salam’s account on Palestine Think Tank and the following “The nation of Israel is pure and the Arabs are a nation of donkeys.” Rabbi David Batzri, head of the Magen David Yeshiva in Jerusalem, quoted in the Haaretz, March 21st 2006.