Finbar Lennon – A week of days

Lennon LE P&W May 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2023

A week of days, poems by Finbar Lennon

A week of days

Pails of water collected after rain
mobile step count keeps me sane
diversion slows down drive to grave
pedal hikers claim right of way
some speed by me breaking red
inspiration comes at Eavan’s bed
cemetery bulging towards its peak
margins creeping closer to the creek
most headstones figure only one
shared smile, home now, day is done.

Up at sunrise, work on bus
respond to mail, avoid the rush
students fail to show, took history so
pick-me-up in Berkley row
candles lit for one to grow
follow steps of Yeats and Pierse
GPO and Clerys’ clock unique,
time the same on Eason’s piece
return to what’s in larder’s store
day that should have yielded more.

Home alone to brood and write
draughts and shivers dull the light
age thrives in heat, fades in cold
pen can only parry daily mould
words reviewed my desk unlock
grotto walk, cure for writer’s block
trees felled, designed to burnish blue
and open views to welcome queues
holy muse on homeward lap renews
pick up pen to write anew.

Springtime mood greets green array
deadhead day for fading blooms astray
‘gnome’s’ shears swirl and swoop
errant footsteps tread on rising shoots
blades slice feinting leaves on fly
mind spurred on by ruddy sky
fallen shrub laid rest on mound
new growth lies above the ground
surgeon’s handwork shines in sun
barber’s fault if trim is overdone.

Day to learn lines for offspring
chance again to buy some time
reach above that bar am scared
glance at four, eye one who’s fair
so much time they spend with theirs
how to make up loss of years
space each week to visit three
fly over equal days for she
they see my motives truly fair
playing catch-up works if shared.

One set aside to exercise my lungs
weekly trek to stay forever young
air I breathe at woods and sea
a mix to cleanse and nourish me
missing words that rhyme and chime
jump out of mind in ramble time
lines now much better than before
is there time for any more
not alas my call to make
deep inside my frame I quake.

Day to listen and to preach
my voice begins to overreach
lonesome words on pad sit still
hollow sound with echoes only thrill
forget the gathering gloom and grief
cold aching bones here to stay
memory last to go they say
mark the slate, try game of fetch
year of months too long a stretch
best fill coming days with weeks.

Another Day

As daily evening light recedes
dishes hand-washed, dried and
set aside, cloth to wipe away
waste and trivia of forgetful day,
mind to guide those gestures fine
of head and limbs and spine.

Growing Old

Shock image of age in single frame
still shots of frozen faults and frailties
never knew that looks deceive at rest
roll out winsome views in mirror fair
as silly bleeders follow moving blade
to facial hollows, ramps and wrinkles.

Unconscious Bias

The more I read my poems
the better they become
faint praise no – just true
try scan across your sum
it will the same for you
eye to figure who else too.

Return to Sender

An unexpected email
from Dennis – in the sense
I start most conversations
add a subject after prompt
in this case he is subject
object in my box –
am I the prompt
that forced his hand?
is concerned my flow
of verse has slowed
reminds of Dylan Thomas
working on the drafts
he not far off half my age
at rest below and counting!

my prime is gone
my rage is spent
my time insipid,
snakes and gnaws
along – while fill
of worthy deeds
and promises
are stuck at still;

scribblers both
on copy books and envelopes
homework masking lines
he crops to bones
I dress in flannel
Dylan wrote them cold
to warm their hearts
they won’t remember mine
before or after Mass.

© Finbar Lennon

Finbar Lennon is a retired surgeon, accidental author and poet. He co-authored his late wife’s memoir “The Heavens are all Blue” published by Hachette Ireland in 2020. He is the author of three collections of poetry, ‘NOW’, ‘A Thimble on her Finger’ and ‘VOICES’ (Lapwing Publications, Belfast, 2021/2022). His latest collection ‘VOICES’ was launched in the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin in March 2023. A number of his poems have appeared online on Planet Earth Poetry and Viewless Wings and in the ‘Consultant’, an Irish medical print journal.

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