Programme titled: ‘WHEN THE WAR IS OVER,’ (a phrase from ‘The Place’)

Centenary of death of Irish Poet Francis Ledwidge 

Friday 23 June at 7 pm on RTÉ Lyric FM Radio.


Hi all, just a quick reminder for your diaries, Claire Cunningham’s radio documentary produced to commemorate the life, poetry and death of Irish Poet Francis Ledwidge, and which I was honoured to have been asked to contribute toois due to be broadcast by RTE Lyric FM on Friday 23rd June 2017.

Francis Ledwidge Irish Poet killed in action WWI


This year marks the centenary of the death of the poet Francis Ledwidge. Known as the Poet of the Blackbird, he was born at Slane, Co. Meath. He served as a soldier in the British Army fighting in World War One and was killed at the third battle of Ypres on the 31 July 1917 just seventeen days before his thirtieth birthday. I know how much work has been put into the making of the programme and it promises to be a fantastic production, hopefully you can tune in wherever you are in the world.

Poet Michael J. Whelan at the grave of Francis Ledwidge- Artillary Wood Cemetery, Belgium

1 am very much excited and looking forward to reading with the other contributors to the collection at ‘Circle and Square,’ an International Literature Festival Dublin event, on Monday, May 22nd at 6.30pm in Tallaght Library. Please come along and say hi!

The International Literature Festival Dublin, founded in 1998, is Ireland’s premier literary event and gathers the finest writers in the world to debate, provoke, delight and enthral. Described by the press as ‘boasting a stunning array of top international literary talent’ and ‘the country’s most successful and easily the best annual literary event’, International Literature Festival Dublin line-up is sure to impress.

Writer and editor Eileen Casey will present an evening of live readings from Circle and Square, an anthology of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, all inspired by experiences at The Square, Tallaght.

Date:  Monday, 22 May 2017
Tallaght Library
Admission:  Free (Book Here)

Confirmed contributors to the collection reading on the night include:

Michael J. Whelan
Mae Newman
Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon
Tony Sheilds
Vivienne Kearns
Orla Donoghue

Details for the evILFDublinent are available here: http://bit.ly/2pKTovb

Irish Peacekeeper - Lebanon 1990s. Photo: (c)Michael J. Whelan

Irish Peacekeeper – Lebanon 1990s. Photo: (c)Michael J. Whelan




The peacekeeper,

flak-jacket buttoned to the neck,

blue helmet fastened tight

under the chin,

rifle slung across the chest,

muzzle pointing at the distant ground,

trigger finger tensed

along the trigger guard

switched to automatic.


Alone he stands there,

holding the road

in front of wire entanglements

and tank-stops

in the narrow chicane

of a sun trapped checkpoint,

left arm raised high,

the palm of his hand

facing the threat.


Michael J. Whelan

Published recently in L.E. Poetry Magazine April 2017 issue  http://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2017/04-april-p-w-2017/michael-j-whelan-the-hero/


Irish Peacekeeper on foot-patrol in South Lebanon -1990s. Photo: (c)Michael J. Whelan




You say I’m the hero.

I save you, saved your broken heart

but I am stilled,

eclipsed forever in a burst

of perfect colours,

a flash of brilliant light

where I am killed.

Ever waiting

in this living moment

I become the Universe

and all the world within.

I touch you

and I am saved again.


Michael J. Whelan

(In memory of Irish Peacekeepers

killed on U.N. Peacekeeping service in Lebanon)



Published in L.E. Poetry Magazine – April 2017 issue http://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2017/04-april-p-w-2017/michael-j-whelan-the-hero/

Re-sharing this for World Poetry Day 2017

Michael J. Whelan - Writer

Michael J. Whelan - Lebanon 1994 Michael J. Whelan – Lebanon 1994


I am forever walking upon the shore

       betwixt the sand and the foam.

       The high tide will erase my footprints,

       and the wind will blow away the foam,

        but the sea and the shore will remain forever…’


                                                                         Kahlil Gibran

In Lebanon I sought redemption

like the pilgrim at the crossroads of Heliopolis,

on the Bekaa’s great range where Bedouin caravans met

and Romans laid their bodies down in supplication to their gods,

to Aphrodite and Jupiter, and long before this peacekeeper came

on what seemed…

View original post 553 more words

Irish U.N. Patrol - South Lebanon c.1990s Photo by Michael J. Whelan

Irish U.N. Patrol – South Lebanon c.1990s.Photo by Michael J. Whelan


 (South Lebanon)

‘The sun is not to overtake the moon

nor the night to outstrip the day

and each swims in an orbit’ –Qur-an 26;33-58



Ancient minaret,  

sentinel monument marking

this splintered place. Village of the old,

counting days and mourning their dead,

the young flung to the corners of the Earth.


Beneath your silence quietly we pass

through battered streets,

guns pointed at the ground,

peppered walls keep your story.


Loud in flags of nations but enfeebled

by ghostly eyes whispering fear from the dying

our patrol follows the paths worn by many,

afraid to disturb their memories.

Our footsteps bear no echo

on this broken road.


Michael J. Whelan

Published recently in the USA as part of a sequence  in ‘From the Cradle of Civilization: Contemporary Arabic Poetry”, the fifth edition of Life and Legends’ http://lifeandlegends.com/cradle-civilization/

Bunker S. Lebanon, 1994. Photo: Michael J. Whelan




In the darkness

you feel it

hunting you,

smells your blood,

vibrations pulsing

through the valley

like a beast.


Michael J. Whelan


Published recently as part of a sequence  in ‘From the Cradle of Civilization: Contemporary Arabic Poetry”, the fifth edition of Life and Legends’ http://lifeandlegends.com/cradle-civilization/