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Noel Monahan – Poems for Children

Noel Monahan LE Mag April 2019

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Poems for Children by Noel Monahan

Noel Monahan has published eight collections of poetry. His most recent collection: Where The Wind Sleeps, New & Selected Poems, was published by Salmon in May 2014. He has won numerous awards for his poetry and drama. His work has been translated into Italian, French, Romanian and Russian. His most recent plays include: “The Children of Lir” performed by Livin’ Dred Theatre. His poetry was prescribed text for the Leaving Certificate English Course 2011 and 2012. His seventh collection of poetry: “Cellui Qui Porte Un Veau” a French translation of his work was published by Allidades, France in October 2014. An Italian selection of his work was published in “ Tra Una Vita E L’Altra”, published by Guanda, 2015. His work appears in the recent Anthology of Poetry “Windharp” Poems of Ireland Since 1916, edited by Niall MacMonagle and published by Penguin, 2015. A new collection of poetry entitled: “Chalk Dust” was published by Salmon Poetry in May 2018. This is Noel’s eighth collection of poetry.


For Oisín

Born 18th. April, 2018
Oisín, little deer, child from the land of youth,
Golden-haired, blue-eyed, lungs of laughter,
Forever watching our lip movements,
Jigsaw of sounds to be pieced into words,
Your hands constantly shifting from soft toys
To pillows, the odd whimper for milk on demand.
You leave your mark with us
Hand and foot in the sand
Forever framed on the mantelpiece.
Oisín, Oisín, we call your name across
Seas of sleep on your bedroom wall
To shifts of shadows, curtain of dreamlands
And the rattle and rhythm of your hearty laugh
In Tír na nÓg.

Girl in a blue dress

For Cara

The girl in a blue dress is searching
For sea shells. She sees them as stars in the sand,
Picks them up, talks to them.

The shells whisper secrets
In her ear. She hears the ocean
Thundering towards the shore.

A barnacle
With a conical shell on its back
Continues to graze on seaweed.

A black mussel
Paddles past
On its way out to sea.

And I see Cara forever dancing
On the shoreline, her yellow bucket
Full of shells.


A piedi nudi

for Naoise

I feel sorry for my toes
In a state of repose
Rigid, held captive,
Prisoners in stockings
Tied up all day in my shoes.

I’m tired of my aunts
Going on and on about my toes:
This little piggy went to the market …
And they hardly ever see my toes.

My mum and dad say:
Don’t take off your shoes.
Nothing excites me more
Than adult prohibitions.

As soon as their back is turned
I fling my shoes about the room,
Tear my stockings off
Raise my legs, chew my toes

Cosa c’ e?
Mi annoio,
I can’t resist these fingers on my foot.

Praying for snow

For Daire

We had a longing for snow and we pestered
God with our prayers:
Please God make it snow so much
The roads will be full of it
And the schools will have to close.

It was a miracle.
All the souls in heaven came down as snowflakes,
Their milky wings hovered about the trees,
The moon, a snowball ready to fall

Into the morning. Later the sun came
Through the clouds, the sky turned blue.
The day belonged to our racing hearts,
Our clothes, a rush of reds, yellows, blues
Our wellingtons sank into the snow,
Dazzling light, smoky breaths,
Our hair wet from snowballs,
Our fingers stinging with the cold.

A lop-sided snowman looked on,
A convoy of crows cawed
In the high branches of a tree,
Sunset, prayers answered
Our dreams drifted with the snow.


© Noel Monahan