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PEBBLES

The stars are many,

like pebbles on a long shingled beach

rippling under glassy water, moving

when the night’s umbrella slowly arcs.

Only a halo of moon on the horizon

might separate them – their aeons,

and I would grieve then for my Age,

for my years and the wonders

I have not and will never see.

Michael J. Whelan

First published as part of sequence titled ‘The Long Hours Await the Sentry’ in the 11th Anniversary issue of Live Encounters Poetry & Writing by Mark Ulyseas, October 2020.

Photos: Michael J. Whelan (2 x Kilmainham Gaol)

The ANNALS

Since time immemorial,

in the night’s dead haunts,

blackness still waves,

rolls and troughs

across vast oily oceans of this Earth,

slick and unwitnessed,

and the ancient monastery’s enchanted cat

still threads inky black paw prints

over the velum pages of a long forgotten abbot’s

unfinished transcripts.

Can you see them?

Michael J. Whelan

Reflection

O darkness

my corrupted other,

in the night’s un-curtained window

your argument sees through me,

I have no answer,

our reflections are mute.

Which is heaven, and which is truth?

Michael J. Whelan

AND THE GODS LOOK DOWN ON THE 21ST CENTURY

In the wound’s red lips
rimmed in black,
all of humanity piles,
jostling for a space, filthy and festering.

They are alone there, alone,
no gods, no power, no righteousness,
no saint protects them.
They must learn to teach their own hearts,
that all they have on that rock – that Jerusalem
is themselves, and they must realise soon
what the sun shares with them,
they must learn peace in their universe
before their moment ends
and dashes them into a comet’s tail,
this arc of sky and all.

They are the migrating bird
that drowns in the ocean
without reaching its destinations.

Michael J. Whelan

First published as part of sequence titled ‘The Long Hours Await the Sentry’ in the 11th Anniversary issue of Live Encounters Poetry & Writing by Mark Ulyseas, October 2020. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Michael J. Whelan - Writer

Michael J. Whelan at the grave of Wilfred Owen Great War Poet(KIA 04.11.1918 during World War One) Photo: Ors Communal Cemetery, France 01.07.2013 Michael J. Whelan at the grave of Wilfred Owen – Great War Poet (KIA 04.11.1918 during World War One) Photo: Ors Communal Cemetery, France 01.07.2013

WILFRED OWEN’S GRAVE

(Ors, France – June 2013)

 

 I was not born then

but I know that blood

still gives meaning to the ground of wartime.

So I stand at the place of your bones,

you’re still alive

like your words

in some other existence

somewhere else,

the cover portrait

on your first book of poems

you never saw,

the pages of its verse

I bring to you now

to place upon your head,

in the ether of the spoken words

that spring you back to life

each time I see through your dead eyes

the last days of a distant Great War

all those years ago

and I wonder

if those lines you lived in

were as close to the objective

View original post 47 more words

The Long Hours Await the Sentry

But a whisper is clearer to us than a shout to anyone else‘ – Conchobar Mac Nessa, King of the Ulaid.

All the lesser caste shadows stretch longer,

darker, reach out, creep into each other

with a coldness pulling the night into the world.

And so the long hours await the sentry.





Guilt descends in a cloud of incense,

as if a whisper of bells tolling

between darkened shapes of winter city nights,

the skyline blacker than all of space

reserved for tainted priests.





He sees all the people then

are but Jerusalem trapped by walls

that rise and fall to times moral breaches

slung by catapults and crucifixions

and the market coins that rolled into crevasses

beneath its foundations.





Michael J. Whelan

First published as part of sequence titled ‘The Long Hours Await the Sentry’ in the 11th Anniversary issue of Live Encounters Poetry & Writing by Mark Ulyseas, October 2020. Photo: Michael J. Whelan





Staring Down the Years

Red tears pooled in the street

like petals fallen from a fuchsia.

A bright flower and grass

spring from a sea of cobbles.

He realises he’s staring down the years,

the wind complains and rifles his ribcage.

He crosses far from the pedestrian black and white,

the corners howl at his hesitations.

Michael J. Whelan

First published as part of sequence titled ‘The Long Hours Await the Sentry‘ in the 11th Anniversary issue of Live Encounters Poetry & Writing by Mark Ulyseas, October 2020. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

The Long Hours Await the Sentry

Massive THANK YOU to Mark Ulyseas for this bumper (2 vols) 11th Anniversary issue of Live Encounters Poetry & Writing. Thank you for including my new poems and it’s a privilege to be in here with these crowds of wonderful writers!I have some new poems here, please check them out and please then read the work of the other contributors.

https://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2020/12-dec-pw-vol-two-2020/michael-j-whelan-the-long-hours-await-the-sentry/?fbclid=IwAR3ZNpr5Qj-bmnx-6icwdZh6xGQwyLiZ2bOLnKxdu1sgaJ4UMsCpZV63sHQ

Hi there, I have and continue to donate all author royalties from my recent poetry books Peacekeeper & Rules of Engagement to support Irish military veteran charities (the Irish United Nations Veterans Association & the Organisation of National Ex Service Personnel) who assist with accommodation, counselling, food parcels and other safety-net essential services for those who have fallen on hard times.

Please watch and share this video and purchase a copy of the collections from my publisher’s website http://www.doirepress.com if you can.

Thank you,

Michael J. Whelan