Mark Ulyseas – Ravens are Dark
Book review of Fourth Floor by Terry McDonagh

Terry McDonagh LE P&W Jan 2019

Available at:

‘I’m creating my world bit by bit.
It’s an enormous balloon falling
upwards on its way down to earth.
I puff and puff till I blush, crimson
as a teenager caught in the act – afraid
to stop in case my dream collapses
into the comings and goings of fate.’

Terry McDonagh, Ravens are Dark

Soliloquy in verse, self-induced solitary confinement of the soul seeking refuge from the Ferris wheel of life…

The protagonist is ensconced in a flat on the fourth floor of a building. From this eyrie he keenly watches life’s flailing. Observation and procrastination by a Buddha in an armchair reflecting on the moving images in the street below.

Much happens between the pages from…

Setting Out

I will.
Words are mine.
Mine to speak.


All in My Head

I have only one heart to care for
absorbed as I am in sounds of
absent-minded ghosts and people passing.



I’m back and forward to my window
watching a bean of a bloke pushing a bike
as if unsure of his next move.
A Hamlet for sure. A procrastinator.
I’d almost run down to help him if
I wasn’t up here on the fourth floor.
He’s probably got a puncture – leaking air.
Can’t decide to cross the road or stay put.

And immersed in…

In Vino Veritas

I have a nice bottle of Merlot to help
travel beyond pesky inhibitions.
A glass or two should level my hills.
I can visit clay sculptures on cloud nine,
Or listen to a nightingale
serenade a dew-coated sunflower
and I can do it from my perch out of harm’s way.

To finally…

Conversations with Self

‘I write but I was a better poet
in days when I’d look into
pools to see dark portends
bubbling up. Wistful yearning
in a fourth floor flat – if nothing else.

Silhouettes of life, shadows gyrating on the side-walk and murmurs of the heart juxtaposed between mind and matter, between self and soul, transforms these poems into a thought provoking diorama infused with the energy of the watcher from the fourth floor.

This collection is a refreshing reminder that all is well with the world of Terry McDonagh for he has moved onto another plain of thought, exploring exciting new avenues with words destined for posterity.

Definitely a book to buy and read anytime, anywhere.


©Mark Ulyseas

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