Terry McDonagh – Time Capsules

Profile Terry McDonagh Live Encounters Poetry & Writing 8th Anniversary December 2017

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Time Capsules, poems by Terry McDonagh, Founding Contributor of Live Encounters

I am working on ‘Time Capsules’, a poetry manuscript for young people.

If you come upon this book
     in two-hundred years
how will we appear to you?

I have read and discussed the poems in classrooms and have been encouraged by the response.
The work is aimed at young people from about ten into teenage years


January 2017 snow outside
ice caps melting elsewhere
fear of global warming
seas keep rising
druids don’t make a difference.

A boy sits reading a book
a bell rings
in the far distance
where his future waits
for him to catch up.

In two-hundred years
you will know our destiny
but not your own…

will a blade of grass
be a blade of grass?

Knowing the future
is like fixing fresh air.

Food Chain

Food chain’s on everyone’s lips
nutrients and energy
from creature to creature
plant-life to animal-life.

A baby carrot looks up
sees the rabbit coming
and shouts oh oh oh no!

The rabbit grows big and strong
the carrot keeps its head down
a farmer snares the rabbit
the farmer grows big and fat
gets old
joins the carrot and that’s that.

A little girl plucks daisies
to make a daisy chain
and all of nature looks on
waiting to join in the fun.


It’s a tired time…still no woman president
after two-hundred years of democracy and
the USA can only come up with this Trump card.

Tear up rules of behaviour
Rip into morning silence
Undo the dignity of woman
Mess up the environment
Plan the demise of our universe

and some people strive
to grasp his hand
in the land of the free.


It is said by some
that a god smiles
on bomb makers…

on sad young people
detonating themselves
in public places
till there’s nothing left
but silent streets
a silent earth
and all for a life of plenty
in Paradise.

There are anointed leaders
that say
women can leave earth
as they have little to lose…

but gods don’t say such things
I think
nor do they dance
out of sight
out of reach
till they cannot be found
in eternity or between
any of the four winds.

A god doesn’t dance
to any tune…
but you’d wonder.


Brexit and breakup
wannabe despots
so loud
thunder and rain
has no chance of being heard…

even dogs and cats
have given up on finding
a silent corner…

how happy is a lilting stream
making way
for spring raindrops.


Terry McDonagh poet, translator, dramatist, taught creative writing at the University of Hamburg and Drama Director at the International School. Residencies in Europe, Asia and Australia. Publications: 9 poetry collections, letters and prose. Translated into Indonesian and German. 2015 Out of the Dying Pan into the Pyre, long-listed for Poetry Society Poetry Prize. 2016, highly commended in Gregory O’Donoghue poetry comp.. 2016, Lady Cassie Peregrina – his latest poetry collection published by Arlen House with beautiful cover design by South Korean artist, Mikyoung Cha. 2017, included in the Galway Poetry Trail on NUI Galway Campus. 2017, included in Fire and Ice, poetry for sec. Schools in Ireland.


© Terry McDonagh