Maurice Riordan Poems

Hit Title Date Added
1.
Digital

after the Maltese of Immanuel Mifsud

In the electronic age, every nutcase
With a notebook is writing a masterpiece.
...

2.
The Dun Cow

What’s the Dun Cow doing on the Old Kent Road,
I’m wondering, when who should blow in
But this boyo wearing the moss-green gabardine
My mother wore when out feeding the hens.
...

3.
Stars And Jasmine

Each of them has been a god many times:
cat, hedgehog and – our summer interloper – the tortoise.
A perfect triangle, they can neither eat
nor marry one another.
...

4.
Renunciation

after the Irish of Séathrún Céitinn

Dear one, with your wiles,
You’d best remove your hand,
...

5.
The Nests

for Kathryn

You ask again about the nests – the wren’s
hung in the ivy above the broken pier,
...

6.
Epilogue To The Pastoral Care Of Gregory The Great

from Old English

Here is the water which the Lord of all
Pledged for the well-being of his people.
...

7.
The January Birds

The birds in Nunhead Cemetery begin
Before I've flicked a switch, turned on the gas.
There must be some advantage to the light
...

8.
EPILOGUE TO THE PASTORAL CARE OF GREGORY THE GREAT

from Old English
Here is the water which the Lord of all
Pledged for the well-being of his people.
He said it was his wish that water
Should flow forever into this world
Out of the minds of generous men,
Those who serve him beneath the sky.
But none should doubt the water's source
In Heaven, the home of the Holy Ghost.
It is drawn from there by a chosen few
Who make sacred books their study.
They seek out the tidings they contain,
Then spread the word among mankind.
But some retain/withhold it in their hearts.
They never let it pass their lips
Lest it go to waste in the world.
By this means it stays pure and clear,
A pool within each man's breast.
Others pour it freely over all the land,
Though care must be taken lest it flow
Too loud and fast across the fields,
Transforming them to bogs and fens.
Gather round now with your drinking cups,
Gregory has brought the water to your door.
Fill up, and return again for refills.
If you have come with cups that leak
You must hurry to repair and patch them,
Or else you'll squander the rarest gift,
And the drink of life will be lost to you.
...

9.
DIGITAL

after the Maltese of Immanuel Mifsud
In the electronic age, every nutcase
With a notebook is writing a masterpiece.
They spend their nights locked up in chat rooms
And emerge with red eyes and love poems.
...

10.
THE NESTS

for Kathryn
You ask again about the nests - the wren's
hung in the ivy above the broken pier,
a goldcrest's low in the privet,
the robin's safe in the clump of pampas.
And below the Lane Gate coal tits
have built in the hollow post.
If you run your hand up the damp shaft
you'll find the spot, where the metal is warm.
They lead us away from the house,
under the barbed wire and down the lane to the Long Field.
We'll keep in the lee of the ditch for shelter.
Overhead a mistle-thrush stirs the hawthorn,
as out in the wind the larks have settled
in cups of grass-corn for the night.
When we cross to the Glen a snipe catapults
from the rushes close by your feet.
Now we approach the wall-dark of the wood
and hear within the wounded call of an owl.
We come in due course to a river, where I lie face down
on your surface, the rain soft on my spine.
...