Miceál Kearney – Renovations

P Miceal Kearney LE P&W Vol 2 2019

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Poems by Miceál Kearney

Miceál Kearney. 39. He lives and works on the family farm in the West of Ireland. He began writing at the turn of the century. He has published 2 collections of poetry. Inheritance; Doire Press, 2008 and The Inexperienced Midwife, Arlen House, 2016. He has also had 4 plays staged.


A universally green tractor
and trailer is the first to land,
packed with necessary attachments
for hydraulic hands. Then another
trailer arrives – low and longer.
Fitting for a feline: a big fancy
hack and shovel.

Next on the schedule: a van
or jeep pulls in. Sometimes a car.
An employee or two, depending.
Though even the boss
dons his employee cap
when talking to the land owner
who goes back to report to the wife.

But that’s not important to the Cat.
Purring; tearing the soil.
Clawing up the rocks, unsettling
the foundation of everything
where we add necessary subjects –
black fence posts, yellow strands of wire
white electricity and a red gate.

After the operational exodus
the only evidence of presence
is obvious. The trick is to dig
another hole to hide the excess
so the carpet sits smooth – where
the wind is fond of planting seeds
from the ballot box tree.

Spalpheen Inc.

A pissy day in an Ardrahan field
or a sunny day in a Fallen field
partnered with a mechanical Caterpillar
called Damocles or solo with the bar;
hack and a hammer, if I think of it –
2 brittle hands position defiant stone.
Planking horizontal: stomach and knee
deny gravity her desire to have it
perpendicular. Instinctively wedge
the Goldilocks rock in-behind it.

A taste you develop quick.
And yer eye; the potential.
Find the face, edges can be worked.
One line in a poem – sits comfortable
into the previous yet accommodate the next.
Tetris, until the long red line measures down:
laughing in the universal language
of inches.

A sunny day in an Ardrahan field
or a pissy day in a Fallen field
the uniform never changes.
Damp knees and elbows
that never really dry –
near identical to midwifery
stains. The extra hang
in the gloves and the usual
smear across the chest.
It just happens to be snowing
this Tuesday.

Ardrahan: small village in the West of Ireland
Fallen: small village in the South of Sweden
Spalpheen: Wandering farmer labourer

Set in Stone

Australian keys jangle into position,
freeing locks. Polling stations open.
Staff then wait for the queues of wise.
I take control of the wheelbarrow,
guide it through this Swedish grass;
expert in such a field of more-or-less.
Drawn towards the heap.

Homing hands find potential
and fill it full of prefect ones,
I hope, to plug the gaps between
the bigger stones brought
by the tractor, yesterday. And this
blend of efforts produce a stage
so other agreeable rocks can act,

serve a function – like the printing press
birthing the election poster – as long
as gravity and external forces are favourable.
While fresher fingertips Down-under
wait; eager to count, sort the piles
of paper heaped on sturdy tables:
deciding what rightful Emperor, which

varying shade-of-grey Mongolian,
will govern then charge the neighbour
and take their stone for our walls.
That are powerless to thwart
abstract rings and untaxable roots –
reducing bastions of boundary
and Nobility to crumbs.

Invisible through the ages,
disturbing and gerrymandering.
Playing hell with the soil
where we, by default and habit,
delight in building our required
institutions and structures upon.
Jokes on them, we have the bomb.

Work Experience

In the age of AIM on BETTER farms
Hi-Macs and Hyundais are John Deere-d
around small roads into smaller fields
to retcon the efforts of the dead.
Their self-perpetuating tracks
flatten the feidínís deeper into the ground
that great great grandfathers
broke their backs fishing them from
that broke the hearts of great great grandsons
chasin’ Limousins and minding sheep.

Gas-cut and forge-beat, mig-welded
into Frankenstein’s fist: 5 metal fingers
that can break though they’ll never feel it.
A fancy extension of the hand –
piston ligaments and hydraulic reflex;
eye it up first, twist and turn: picture
its place then grab an’ lift with ease
a 3 ton rock – the length of a good gap,
propped up and topped with a safe pass
and protective footwear.

In their wake a solid line
no animal can outrun
but prefect for the passing crow
to perch and poop a manure-d seed
that’ll ripple; laughing long after

we’ve returned to the dirt,
making our way through
the intestinal tracks of history –

upon which the procession continues
until their remains are resuscitated

by spalpheens in mec-suits.

AIM/BETTER: reference to modern/online farming
Feidínís: small stones
Spalpheen: wandering farm labourer

© Miceál Kearney