Phil Lynch – Christmas Present

P Phil Lynch LE P&W Vol 2 2019

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Poems by Phil Lynch

Phil Lynch’s poetry has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. He was the winner of the 2018 Intercollective Poetry Competition (live performance), a runner-up in the iYeats Poetry Competition (2014) and shortlisted in a number of other competitions. He is a regular reader/performer at events and festivals in Ireland and beyond. He was a co-founder of Lingo, Ireland’s first spoken word festival. His collection, In a Changing Light, (Salmon Poetry), was published in 2016.

Christmas Present

I wanted to get you a poem for Christmas
but the poem-shop was all sold out.
I asked the assistant behind the counter
if he knew what it was all about.

He said there had been a run on poems,
people were buying them up in tomes,
something to do with the talk of war
suddenly people seemed lost for words.

It was panic buying and nothing else
hoarding and hiding on secret shelves,
there might even be rationing,
the assistant said,
a few lines at a time
even they may not rhyme,
will it matter, I thought,
to the dead.

It is onward now as we watch the clock
a time-bomb ticking away
soldiers waiting to go over the top
know not the hour nor the day.

Is it onward now and over the top
down into an unmarked grave
or will someone give the order to stop
is there anyone still so brave?


The guns fell silent
to a universal cry
of never again;
relief overwhelmed
by disbelief,
the fallen left behind.

A rumble soon began to rise
from between the lines
drawn at Versailles,
it came crashing through the night,
unstoppable lava
in a rush to encrust.

Millions turned to ash dust
by a power born of lost pride,
even while the seeds
of peace were incubating
in the corridors
of braver minds.

A plan, fuelled by the shared
energy of former foes,
constructed to ensure that words
would gain the upper hand
and lure curious neighbours
to visit and remain.

Suddenly a shock wave
shook the common ground;
friends gathered at the crossroads
to talk things over,
to mould with words a future
to protect us from the lurking past.

Burger Off

23 July, 2019

this is no day to be writing poetry
the weather is far too fine,
sun so high in a cloud-free sky
temperature temporarily trending tropical,
sweet-smelling flowers in full bloom
the juicy waft of grass new-mown
and all the other scents of summer;
birds a-flitter in sweetest voice
nostalgic Sixties music playing
meat prepared and marinating,
prosecco chilling, beers on ice,
chairs, of dust and cobwebs cleared,
patio swept and ready waiting
parasol primed for shady cover
friends on the phone coming over;

go inside for a glass of water
backstop for the dehydration,
radio running since early morning,
newsflash just as I am passing,
Boris to be PM has been selected,
an outcome not so unexpected
but suddenly surprisingly real,
a big deal, could mean a no deal.
I reach for a pen and piece of paper
and make a note that from now on,
what with Boris Trump and Donald Johnson,
there can never be a day for not writing poetry;
whatever the weather
poetry can always make things better.

© Phil Lynch