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WWI Scene – Soldier on Wire (c)Michael J. Whelan, 2009

 

TO ALL THE PRESIDENTS, ALL THE KINGS, ALL THE GENERALS AND POLITICIANS

I have seen the wire
that caught on the uniforms
of unlucky soldiers,
touched the pointed barbs
that pierced their skin
before the bullets
that took them,
stood where the missing lie.
In my pocket
is a poem
that brings me back
like a bridge.
In my pocket
is the blood coloured rust
of the rage of men.

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in ‘One Hundred Years From Now,’ a sequence of poems by Michael J Whelan in LE Poetry & Writing, Edited by Mark Ulyseas, Volume One December 2018

see

https://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2018/12-dec-pw-vol-one-2018/michael-j-whelan-one-hundred-years-from-now/

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War Graves – WWI. Photo: Michael J. Whelan 2017

AWAKEN HISTORY’S DEAD

The impacting shells of modern wars
always threatens to awaken history’s dead.
If vibrations disturb old battlefield’s bled
would the warrior ghosts recognise the modern cause
as we have claimed their allegiance to ours,
if not – who would be our enemies then?

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in ‘One Hundred Years From Now,’ a sequence of poems by Michael J Whelan in LE Poetry & Writing, Edited by Mark Ulyseas, Volume One December 2018

see

https://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2018/12-dec-pw-vol-one-2018/michael-j-whelan-one-hundred-years-from-now/

Thiepval Memorial to the missing on the Somme, World War One. Photo: Michael J. Whelan 2018

AFTER THE GREAT WAR

do not ask what all the sacrifice was for
or ponder on its worth,
the future should fear no vengeance
from the past
for in the years of remembrance
a hundred years hence,
when the last veteran has finally passed
we shall be at war again.

Michael J. Whelan 

 

Published in ‘One Hundred Years From Now,’ a sequence of poems by Michael J Whelan in LE Poetry & Writing, Edited by Mark Ulyseas, Volume One December 2018

see

https://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2018/12-dec-pw-vol-one-2018/michael-j-whelan-one-hundred-years-from-now/

At the graveside of war poet Isaac Rosenberg, killed during the Great War Photo: Michael J. Whelan, France 2018

ONE HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW

I was reading lines from a famous poet
killed while fighting in the Great War.
We never met but through his poems I know him,
what he saw and felt a hundred years ago.
He resonates with me, now,
we are connected,
his emotions are mine as I read,
his body – gone, but he exists
and I know his feebleness as I write.

 

Michael J. Whelan

Published in ‘One Hundred Years From Now,’ a sequence of poems by Michael J Whelan in LE Poetry & Writing, Edited by Mark Ulyseas, Volume One December 2018

see

https://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2018/12-dec-pw-vol-one-2018/michael-j-whelan-one-hundred-years-from-now/

TIME PASSING – ROWAN TREE (by Michael J. Whelan)

 

AUTUMN COMES

 

It happened so fast I almost missed it,

the Mountain Ash turned to red,

a magpie stole berries from the Rowan,

each year two trees in the place of one.

 

*

 

My mother had blue woolly socks on her feet

when she waited in the coffin,

told us she didn’t want to be cold

when they placed her in the ground.

Seven years later my father’s socks were orange,

his funeral was in June, hers in November,

same plot.

 

*

 

The carnage of fuchsia flowers

fallen to the pavement

under weight of rain,

like the battlefield remains of the rearguard,

over-run, piled high at their last post,

a bed of blood near the greenest grass.

 

(c)Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Magazine, September 2018 Issue

https://liveencounters.net/2018/08/24/live-encounters-poetry-writing-september-2018/

 

 

Lifting from the water (c)Michael J. Whelan

 

INSTRUMENT

 

I imagined

someone’s last breath

caught with little

droplets of moisture

on the spider’s web

in my garden,

a dream catcher

of what might

be carried on a final sigh,

words resembling

a gesture of love

to be heard

if the breeze

passed through

the glistening threads

in the right fashion,

when the web curves

like an instrument

returning the pulse

of someone lost,

who left something

unheard but gifted,

and so I steeled myself

each and every day

with a prayer

and the memory of faces

to protect what might

be there

until it came

to its natural end,

till the silver faded

even though sunlight

always told me

where it was

and then, in my head,

just before a hurricane,

the voice of reason

spoke a poet’s verse

and said

open your notebook

and listen

for words

falling from your pen.

 

(c)Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Magazine, September 2018 Issue

https://liveencounters.net/2018/08/24/live-encounters-poetry-writing-september-2018/

 

Herons- Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght

 

THE AVIATORS

 

Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght

 

I was throwing bread and became surrounded at the water’s edge,

engulfed by gaggles and screams, of birds of all kinds,

as if I had entered the wrong place at the wrong time

and my intrusion was being discussed.

 

A bawldy magpie digging a hole stopped every so often, stared me

up and down, paranoid, tilting its head, listening for bugs.

Its body seemed swollen, the wings raggedy and tired, feathers in tatters,

it seemed confused, limping, beaten upon and outcast by its peers.

Even the ducks and seagulls kept their distance.

 

I never throw bread into the water; it isn’t good for pond life,

the magpie seemed afraid to approach where I had left a crust

on the ground, I felt sorry for it.  A heron stood watching like something wise.

Some humans passed by, crossing the red bridge on their way

to the children’s playground. The heron turned to study them.

 

When all the bread was gone some ducks waddled up to my feet, a little non-plussed

at my recent behaviour. I could see their beautiful colours, it felt like communication

having to prove my worthiness by showing empty hands, the aviators left then

and I was alone for a while with the wonder.

 

(c)Michael J. Whelan    

Published in Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Magazine, September 2018 Issue

https://liveencounters.net/2018/08/24/live-encounters-poetry-writing-september-2018/