Posts Tagged ‘The Sunflower Sessions’

Irish Naval Service rescue operation – Mediterranean Sea 2015 Photo: L/CommOp Mick Ahern




(For Ruairi de Barra – Sailor & Poet,

Irish Naval Service,

Refugee/Migrant crisis, Mediterranean Sea) 



Unlike your ship the world is adrift,

washed out by the fury

of a million refugees,

all those processions

that you bear witness too,

a life experiencing the long

desperate moments in a day,

and all the days

that become a sentence

only you, a poet, can register.

You navigate towards home

and I ponder

how distant the sun is,

and yet I use it

as if torchlight in a cave,

to watch poems form

in the depths of oceans.


Michael J. Whelan 


Irish Naval Service rescue operation – Mediterranean Sea. CPO Ruairi de Barra in Has/Chem suit carrying child – 2015 Photo: L/CommOp Mick Ahern


Published in FLARE 09 (October 2018) a quarterly publication dedicated exclusively to poets and poems heard at The Sunflower Sessions, edited by Éamon Mag Uidhir & published on behalf of The Sunflower Sessions by Declan McLoughlin. See https://www.flare.ie/?fbclid=IwAR2L3bRApeMpeYMrXeAqEtbcH6hSxByFHk6FNhwDk9yHvzbLF6k_UBSr9p8


Photos credit: L/CommOp Mick Ahern – Irish Naval Service and show Mediterranean Sea rescue in progress, also shows CPO Ruairi de Barra in Has/chem suit carrying child  – 2015.



Read Full Post »




A new snow covered the meadow

and I didn’t want to touch it.

I wondered, too late,

if ever a season had passed

where man had not left his mark

crossing this landscape.

I knew the lives of wild animals were short,

a year might be their whole existence,

the winter their declining months,

this snow would one day disappear.

I felt ashamed then among the whispering trees,

ashamed that such beauty

could be ruined by a single footprint.

I wanted to leave that place to the deer,

to the hibernating bear,

to the rabbit and the fox,

to retrace my steps to the road

and in my mind

scrape the human race

from the surface of the moon.


Michael  J. Whelan


Published in FLARE 06, Winter 2017-18 – Readings From The Sunflower Sessions.

FLARE – the narrow-sheet journal of the Sunflower Sessions held in Dublin is edited by Eamon Mag Uidir and published by Declan McGloughlin

Read Full Post »

Aircraft Hangar, Baldonnel 2017 photo: (c)Michael J. Whelan




Baldonnel Aerodrome, 2017


Except for a sparrow

that came upon the scene,

I am the only one,

the only human being

in the history of the universe

since life began,

to witness the wagtail

glide through the vast emptiness

of the aircraft hangar

and land perfectly

on the hangar floor.

I watched it walk out

through the great hangar doors,

which is why I speak of it.


The wagtail standing there

looking back in,

studying me as I pondered our meeting

from within the metal cage.

I have reached 47 years of age,

the temporary hangar 100,

built to house aeroplanes

during the Great War,

the birds might be as old as the recent summer

and there we were

and still are

contained forever in 200 seconds

when our lives and history

crossed over each other in mystery.


Even now my mind’s eye still sees

that curious wagtail stretch its wings,

bounce its tail feathers

and examine the human standing there

blown away by the magic

that forms in the gifts of time,

hanging forever on the span of moments.


Michael J. Whelan


Published in the poetry ‘narrowsheet’ FLARE 05, for The Sunflower Sessions – October 2017.

Read Full Post »