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Posts Tagged ‘Michael J. Whelan Poet’

 

Kosovo Sky 2001 (c)Michael J. Whelan

Nectar of War

The ground could feel them,
returning to nests with the arsenals
of their colonies,
rotors vibrating the air
on convoys of black silhouettes
zipping by,
dozens of helicopters
swarming overhead
like eager wasps,
tail-booms jutting out
like giant stings
with artillery pieces,
heavy mortars and vehicles
slung beneath their painted bodies
like sacs full of the nectar of war.

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in the ‘contemporary Irish poets feature’ in issue 22 of Rochford Street Review – July 2017

see https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2017/07/06/michael-j-whelan-five-poems/

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I will be taking part in this event to celebrate the 50th issue of A New Ulster (Ed. Amos Grieg)
With David Rigsbee 
and Peter O’ Neill, where I will also read and discuss poems from the Peacekeeper collection (Doire Press), which were first published in ANU. Please come along to what promises to be a fantastic event in Books Upstairs on D’Olier Street, Dublin City at 6.30pm next Tuesday evening 15th November 2016.

Hope to see you there

See details below

Michael J. Whelan - poet, Lebanon 1994

Michael J. Whelan – poet, Lebanon 1994

 

 

 

Celebrating the 50th issue of A New Ulster
With David Rigsbee,
Michael J. Whelan and Peter O’ Neill

A New Ulster magazine was established in 2012 and is celebrating its 50th issue this month. To mark this milestone, some of the magazine’s most prolific contributors will come together to read and discuss their poetry and translations. On the night we’ll have guest of honour, American poet and translator of Joseph Brodsky, David Rigsbee, as well as poets Peter O’Neill and Michael J. Whelan. A New Ulster magazine promotes contemporary literature across all 32 counties, publishing poetry, fictional prose, translations and transversions, reviews, interviews and art works from writers and artists not only from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but from the USA, UK, and the EU making it a truly international literary journal which, in its four intensely packed years, has made it truly a force to be reckoned with.

David Rigsbee is the author of School of the Americas and Not Alone in My Dancing:  Essays and Reviews, as well as the forthcoming Dream Baby (Lapwing) and This Much I Can Tell You (Black Lawrence Press). He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in Literature and awards from The National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Academy of American Poets. He is the author of critical studies of Carolyn Kizer and Joseph Brodsky and has coedited Invited Guest:  An Anthology of Twentieth Century Southern Poetry.  He lives in New York.

Michael J. Whelan is a historian and award-winning poet. A serving member of the Irish Air Corps, he is currently curator and keeper of the Irish Air Corps Military Aviation Museum & Collection at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel. He is the author of two history books and his poetry has been published in Ireland, Mexico, Paris, the UK and included in The Hundred Years’ War –Anthology of Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe UK). His debut collection ‘Peacekeeper’ (Doire Press, 2016) is the first of its kind to reference the role of Irish citizens on international peace support missions.

Peter O’ Neill is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Divertimento The Muse is a Dominatrix(mgv2>publishing, France) and Sker (Lapwing). He edited And Agamemnon Dead, An Anthology of Early Twenty First Centurywith Walter Ruhlmann (mgv2>publishing). He is the founder of Donkey Shots, an avant garde poetry festival which takes place in the spring in his home-town of Skerries, north county Dublin, where he also hosts The Gladstone Readings.

book-upstairs-pic

Tickets are  €5.92 and available at the Eventbrite link below

DATE AND TIME

 

Tue 15 November 2016

18:30 – 19:30 GMT

 

LOCATION

Books Upstairs,

17 D’Olier Street

2 Dublin

 

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/celebrating-the-50th-issue-of-a-new-ulster-tickets-29272855900?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=esfb&utm-source=fb&utm-term=listing

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Defence Post, South Lebanon -1990s Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Defence Post, South Lebanon -1990s. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

 

RECONNAISSANCE BY FIRE

 (Observations in Irish UN Operations area S. Lebanon – 1990s)

 

Just before the night

white plumes on hillsides

mark the end of journeys

as artillery bombs sweep the ground

and machinegun bullets

rip through wadis

in a reconnaissance by fire

along known approaches,

tearing up usual routes

just in case

they’re already there

preparing,

priming themselves

and then,

through darkness-spilled

shadows,

the silence is torn again

by the shrieks of screaming metal

cursing with hate.

 

Sometimes the best defence

is to attack

even when

there are no targets.

 

Michael J. Whelan

 Wadi = Dried up riverbed/valley

 

Part of a sequence of poems titled ‘Holding The Road’ which was published by Mark Ulyseas in Live Encounters Poetry Feast December 2016 see link below

http://liveencounters.net/live-encounters-poetry-2016/12-december-poetry-2016/3-michael-j-whelan-holding-the-road/

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An Israeli army Merkava tank is pictured from the Lebanese side of the border, near the Wazzani river, during maneuvres by Israeli forces in northern Israel just off the border with Lebanon on October 17, 2013.

Tank  on the South Lebanon/Israeli border

 

DEMON

 

Mechanical echoes drift

down from a black hilltop

with the threatening coughs

of an angry monster

moving clumsily

in the still night

like a drunken demon

about to chastise

his fearful children,

gearing up to spew rage

and venom

at half sleeping villages

where some await

the thunderous splash of lights

and others

holding their breaths

prepare to die

again.

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published my Mark Ulyseas in Le Poetry Magazine, October 2016 issue

see  http://liveencounters.net/2016/09/20/live-encounters-poetry-october-2016/

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Flock of Gulls - Michael J. Whelan

Flock of Gulls – Michael J. Whelan

 

IRISH MARTYRS IN LEBANON

 

(After conversations with Lebanese exiles -)

 

 

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

Published in A NEW ULSTER magazine, issue 34, July 2015

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Kosovo (c)Michael J. Whelan - c.2000

Kosovo (c)Michael J. Whelan – c.2000

THIS IS THE DAY

(Balkans)

 

Narrow lines of yellow tape

stretch up into forest hills

marking places where it’s safe to trek

between unexploded bombs

and dead refugees waiting to be rescued.

 

This is the day

a peacekeeper is blown to bits

clearing a path to a suspected mass grave

near an empty village,

where booby-trapped doors wait to be opened,

made safe before it might live again.

 

His friends finishing the search

before gathering all the parts of him,

zipping him into a dozen body bags,

each soldier sweating in his own skin

as the dead look on,

relieved it wasn’t them.

 

 

Michael J. Whelan

Published in ‘A NEW ULSTER, magazine, issue 32, May 2015

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Military Installation - Kosovo - 2001 , Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Military Installation – Kosovo – 2001 , Photo: Michael J. Whelan

 

RETRIBUTION

 

Inside the citadel

cinders flickered in the dusk,

sparks rose up from the ashes

like desperate ghosts escaping the future.

 

Outside, on the gathering hills,

while the city smoked,

the embers of burning history

glowed in the growing dark.

 

Out there you huddled with your great guns

around the warmth of thirsty fires,

boots off, souls circling the forgiving heat

as you vanquished past enemies,

relived victories, dismissed defeats

and gloried in the new justice

your liberations would soon bring

on the people within.

 

The conquered would learn to accept

their new landscapes,

and you their liberators tapped cigarettes

into empty fingerprint shell casings

building up behind your crusade,

a brass trail of stained retribution

for all the world to see.

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in The Ofi Press Magazine: International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City -December 2014

Photo; Michael J. Whelan

 

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