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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…

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Photo by Vasil Kunchev – free stock image from Pexels


(Haris – village in South Lebanon, 1990s)


‘I remember a peaceful Sunday

and an empty classroom in Haris,

and thinking how their enemies didn’t need

to teach the children of that old village

the grammar of adult hate.


It was written in the rubble

of the four walls of that place,

in the shattered hanging ceiling

where a rocket spelled its fate.


I could read the yellow markings

on the rocket’s splintered case,

I heard the teacher’s lesson in the silence

of an empty shoe.’

 Michael J. Whelan 

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


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Irish U.N. foot-patrol, Tibnine Castle, S. Lebanon 1994. Photo: Michael J. Whelan(L)

Irish U.N. foot-patrol, Tibnine Castle, S. Lebanon 1994. Photo: Michael J. Whelan(L)


Hi all, it’s getting very close now, so this is just a reminder that I would like to invite you to join me at the launch of my new collection PEACEKEEPER this evening (Wed 13th April) in Tallaght Library at 6.30pm.

It would be great to see you and you’re more than welcome to bring some guests too.


Promises to be a great evening,




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Hi guys, looking forward to the luanch of  PEACEKEEPER, only 3 weeks away from today. Here’s a piece about the upcoming launch of Peacekeeper‬ published in last week’s Tallaght Echo newspaper – thanks to Mary Dennehy and the team!
Doire Press


PEACEKEEPER launch Tallaght Echo article 09 March 2016

PEACEKEEPER launch Tallaght Echo newspaper article 09 March 2016

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Big thankyou to Christine Murray who has very kindly featured six of my poems on her excellent poetry site POETHEAD



In the orphanage a child
cowers from cursing men outside.
She wants to climb back into
her dead mother’s womb
and hide inside its warm, soft,
un-edged safety,
where no explanation is needed
or reason to hide under splintered
staircases or run the gauntlet to basement
bomb shelters, existing minute to minute
with strangers until the dawn arrives with her
deliverance and she refuses to be born.

© Michael J. Whelan (Published in Cyphers, Nov 2011)


It happens on a Thursday, just after 2pm,
when ancient cultures and beliefs conspire
and vultures spiral above a peacekeepers’ camp,
where cedars age slowly and the Litani River
caresses the ground where Jesus turned water
into wine, where artillery salvos rip the air
on their long flight and bite deep, deep into
that place of safety vaporizing its concrete
walls and burning and blistering and tearing
apart the…

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Tinteán online magazine is an initiative of the Australian Irish Heritage Network and they have published much of my material for which I am very grateful. This is their latest post referring to my Landscapes Of War & Peace poetry exhibition which is currently running is South Dublin Libraries, please have a read at the link…


Landscapes Of War & Peace 1914-2014: War Poetry and Peacekeeping

by Michael J. Whelan


Irish Martyrs In Lebanon by Michael J Whelan

100_6139 Gulls by Michael J Whelan

Some words we don’t read them,
we taste them
deep into our souls,
some bring back our missing memories,
our loved ones to our hearts.

Many times I saw their wives and mothers
lay flowers in my country
near the places of their martyrdoms.

My heart is like a room
big enough to receive many visitors.
My heart is a wing
to fly your martyrs on,
to reach heaven

to make them meet at the river,
to hug and kiss their children,
to sacrifice and water their thirsts
of a land with pure blood
spilled far from home

flowing from peacekeepers
into the valleys of my country
where the cedar grows forever
and remembers everything.

Michael J. Whelan July…

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Contrast - Winter - Kosovo, 2001, Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Contrast – Winter – Kosovo, 2001, Photo: (c)Michael J. Whelan



You lay in your frozen field, slack-jawed at how you

came to be there, your mouth caked in last year’s mud,

limbs twisted about your body as if in the midst of some

remembered dance or tempered at your rotting crops,

bent over in disgust, yielding in the half light and startled

at the cold – they have never felt.

This harvest, un-reaped and yet reaped upon you

hides the stale shoe and crushed spectacles,

the broken spade that hastily covered you in the soft

clay you loved, now steeled hard against the sharp sky.


I imagine the fears of your kin as they searched the high

golden horizon that summer day.

They might have felt the distant calamity that took you

following the bullet casings along the beaten track,

and I wonder if they found you,

then I see the scars of cluster bombs and scorched

stalks of your petrified labours and there, there in the shrapnel

of this bitter harvest I behold  your seed,

torn apart but reaching out to the one who bore them.


Michael J. Whelan


Grave 2 001

Street Grave – Kosovo 2001 (c)Michael J. Whelan


featured in the new anthology  And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry,  Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann is published by Muavaise Graine (Paris 2015) –

see https://www.facebook.com/mgversion2datura

The official launch of the Anthology will be taking place in Skerries as part of Donkey Shots , Skerries First International Avant Garde Poetry Fest, which will be held on the 23rd of May.


And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry Edited by Peter O'Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

And Agamemnon Dead
An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry
Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry – Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

You can purchase your copy by clicking on the link here  http://www.lulu.com/shop/peter-oneill-and-rosita-sweetman-and-michael-mcaloran-and-amos-greig/and-agamemnon-dead/paperback/product-22087100.html




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