Sligo’s summer sun
Sets long into the west, bound
For Cape Cod, Boston, New York.
And those memories days,
Imbued with the aromas of
Smoke and the sweat of
The harried, but happy barbecue host
Come on will ye!
Yer wan is hungry here!
Cry friends and family.
And now the smoke is dissolved
To memories, replaced
By the sweetness of
Cut grass, emerald green -
Sparkling with carefreeness and hope.
Oh, Ireland’s youthful summer days,
Boundless light and energy.
Treasure the gold of summer youth,
For the decades will pass by
Like lightning from an evening coastal storm.
The Woodland Hills Evening Club
The boys chased the sun
Glinting low through
Woodland canopy and
Friendly branches. 9pm already
And the trees still dance to
A summer breeze, not yet ready for sleep.
‘When does the sun set?’
Asks one of the boys.
‘When the leaves fade from green
To black and the birds refrain from
Singing, exhausted from the long-song days.’
The sun is a summer tease, a happy stop out.
In the evening, long before the sun
Sinks towards the horizon, the boys
Crest a hill, panting quietly, not wanting their
Mates to see them tired, unfit. Never, we race to
The top – for a summer boys picnic,
Evenings filled with crisps and Dandelion and Burdock
And the most succulent berries.
Ah but the boys are now men,
Aching of knees and no longer possessed
By youthful zest. But, we still race to the top!
The crunch of tyres on gravel trails
The squeal of brakes, cresting the hill
Upon a bike. Recapturing the youth.
Panting as quietly as we can.
Road Trips Down Memory Lane
Me ma and pa up front,
The boys in the back.
A fully loaded car.
You’d think we were going
For a month or moving house.
Stacks of sandwiches in Tupperware boxes,
6 packs of Salt n Shake crisps.
A pile of beach towels, a wind break,
A flask of thickly brewed tea,
Cans of Coke for us – it’s a day out after all.
The road map spread across me ma’s lap.
Me da frowning, ‘Now I’m sure it’s this way…
Follow your nose boys!’
Closing the windows in a hurry as we
Pass a farmer, chugging up and down a field
Spreading slurry. A dig in the ribs from me brother –
‘Did ye clean yer teeth this morning eh?’
Da telling us that smell, that mature
Manure, will be your carrots, one day.
To be sure, that shut us up.
From beach days to forest glades,
The summer meadows where we laid
Sinking into the wildflowers, chorused by bees.
Following the swallow tails and sharing
Tales of escapades and plans for the next day
And the next. Those endless summers.
‘Back to the car boys’ shouts me ma.
And we know what’s coming next –
‘Fish n chips follows road trips!’
That’s our motto.
Not far to home, I think.
‘Yes please – and mushy peas!
Cod for me, salt n vinegar on me chips!’
As me own children happy-shout
From the back of the car.
Days of constant sunshine
Sprinkled with the finest sand
From a beach full of memories.
Where the breeze carried the laughter
Of children for miles.
Holidays weren’t just any old days,
They were memories made.
They were moments preserved -
Like a shell encased in a sandcastle,
Ready to be rediscovered, or gently washed
Into the future by the year-waves.
But readily brought ashore by
The Seed of Hope
I found a seed
At the side of the road,
Pocketed it and
Took it home.
In the yard
Scorched, burnt and brown.
I placed the seed
In a crack in the ground.
The fire sky lit above
Like a furnace ablaze,
And the ground cracked asunder
Where the seed now lay.
Infernal, eternal, inviolable sun - yet
Horizon clouds at last gathered as one.
A riotous tumult split the sky,
The monsoon is here, the monsoon’s begun!
A deluge, a torrent
A downpour, an outpouring.
A single thunder crack and the
Heavens opened without warning.
A joyous smell of sodden green.
The smell that caressed the earth,
Of freshness, of hope reignited,
Of streets washed of dust and dirt.
With the drought’s approach
There’s an impending dread,
What life can survive intolerable heat
What will thrive beyond the dead?
And each dry season
That passes to monsoon
I watch that scent-full rose bush
Flourish from that seed
Like a child, full grown.
Where do summer stars go?
Do they take their leave
And journey to an infinite darkness?
An ever-winter, where
The nights are drawn out and
The peacock-proud stars
Shine their fullest.
The summer stars are obscured
By the evening light, the extended sun.
And no one stops on the pier
Or promenade to gaze heavenwards,
Scanning for evening stars.
At 9pm on a summer’s night
The stars don’t exist.
Well, actually they are there,
Scowling at the evening strollers
From behind the fading blue.
Jealous of the high clouds that survey
The gentling waves and the swirls
Of the final vanilla ice cream cones of the day,
Where the beach and waves were stars.
And by the time the sea has
Watched the tide of wearied holidaymakers
And home-towners drift into back streets
And B&B’s, bustling Italian restaurants with posters
Of Sorento, the Amalfi Coast –
Not a patch on Hastings,
The stars emerge, revealing themselves to no one.
The sounds carry differently in the warm, still air.
The valley twinkles silver from a glinting stream
And the trees drip with leaves, green in every shade,
As the young ones miss nature passing by
For a lick of pistachio ice cream.
Steppingstones across a cool brook;
Decades swirl and flow past, sunlit years
Of dappled memories, listen to the
Water babbling – chattering like old friends
And cherished departed loved ones.
The children forge ahead,
Rising from the valley floor,
A gorgeous gorge you tell them,
But the children skip ahead,
It’s not time for jokes, only to play.
And create memories of grazed knees
And climbing trees, swinging from branches
And numbing feet in the ice cold stream.
The sounds carry differently in the warm, still air.
The sounds of youth, budding youth –
The infant and the innocent.
As fresh as the woodland brook.
Will teenage years trade places
For a raging torrent and will adulthood
Becalm them – gentle, soft flowing through life?
Until then, we’ll enjoy nature
As we nurture the woodlanders,
The curious, adventurous, ice-cream smeared
Explorers, the splash and be splashed smilers
Of today and tomorrow.
Storms and Teacups
Roaming, not going home in
All weathers, me and the fellas
Down by the beach, a bench, a seat,
A plaque near the beach shacks
‘In Loving Memory of Rodney Jones,
Lover of Birds – The feathered kind!
The slowly sinking sun
Casts languid late afternoon
Shadows across the sands.
Low tide for some, high time we’d
Better be headed home, I can hear
Me mam calling for us now,
Yer tea’s getting cold…
Well the Findus Crispy Pancakes are,
Not your Arctic Roll, but you’ll not
Be having that until you’re in, boots off,
Hands washed and sat at that table.
A fresh pot, a new brew,
A reviving cuppa to wash down your supper
As the summer clouds roll by,
Peering in through the window.
Hungry faces scraping plates and wiping
Sauces and gravy with a slice of
Sliced white bread, the best thing since…
A sudden crack of thunder
Shocks us from our plates
Forks dropped as forks of
Lightning illuminate the sky.
Summer storms, flash…count the seconds
1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thous…BANG
It’s getting closer.
Now the rain falls, and the air steams
As the parched earth sighs in relief,
And the grass breaths its delicious petrichor
Once the rains and storm has passed.
And the clouds go on roaming
And Dad gives us that look that says,
‘Oh, go on then, but don’t stay out too long.’
And I’m out the door
Faster than lightning.