Writing Wednesdays

Nóirín Kavanagh is a blow in who has made Leitrim her home for over twenty years. She loves reading, music and Leitrim! She has recently started to write and shares these poems with encouragement from Mary Branley and the Poetry Clinic group.

A Moment

The clouds seemed full of indecision

As they peopled the sky over the lake,

Some bright and pure,

soft sweeps of the brush against a patch of blue,

claiming the summer,

More grey and confused jostling for position,

awkwardly blocking the light as they held onto their load.

A soft breeze entered the fray and

for a moment the evening sun broke through,

scattering glitter on the water beneath.

I saw them then, at the edge of my line of vision.

They flew together, rhythm constant, wingbeat for wingbeat,

And without a glance pulled up and came to land.

Barely breaking the surface of the lake, now bathed in silver,

I watched as they moved,

the confident arch of their necks, their unspoken understanding of what to do,

unperturbed by the unfolding drama above them.

Heart and purpose at one, unaware of their fragile beauty..

I stared out across the lake, still now and waiting.

When I looked back they were gone.



Sonorous and deep, the voice booms an old tune from the radio days,

Bad signal, background static, not even the original singer

Yet so close, so close…

My senses are suddenly filled with the smell of stale smoke, Sweet

Afton, Woodbine, mingled with old coats damp and drying by an open fire,

Whiskey, Guinness,

The low rumble of men talking in hushed tones,

Intense and passionate,

Secrets, schemes, rights and wrongs, and the fixing of same

So young, and swept up in the fever of the time,

I shook with excitement then,

Something was going to happen

It was going to be important, and afterwards

Everything would be different

And inhaling the stale smoke,

Feeding on the intensity of the conversation,

I thought I was a part of it

And maybe, in a way, I was.

The song ended, and I return to the present.

I sit, as the energy drains out of me

From the mere recollection of those times.

Visions of a world transformed

A new age

Everything old and new at one and the same time

Broken things restored

Broken people…


No resurrection there.

I sigh and consider

How so much changes without actually changing very much at all.

Cynicism makes me old, and deeply suspicious of visions,

Yet hearing that song

Reminds me that I wasn’t always so.

Reminds me that once I knew hope, and passion, and I believed.

Reminds me that even if the world was not transformed, for a time

I was.



What will Mother Earth,

The child-woman-crone

Who watches and waits while we stumble through our years

Teach me today?

I sit by the sea shore patiently

(Yesteryear’s lesson was How To wait Patiently)

I recall an image of the child I was, catch a fleeting glimpse of myself

Chasing the waves at the edge of the shore but not daring to go further in

I was old then, so careful, in my child’s way, even sensible

But mostly old in my knowing

I knew too much, and understood nothing

This is not today’s lesson.

The scene shifts and I am still chasing the waves but now holding my own children

I am woman and mother; I carry them out to the waves chest high

They squeal in terror and delight, gripping my arms, clinging to my neck

As the waves crash about us

I want them to learn courage

And hope they also learn trust

But not too much!

This isn’t today’s lesson either.

No images now

I am still within and without

As the waves do what they have been doing

For all time

I draw breath

Old, yet younger than I have ever been

Now I am crone

And the child within me is free at last

I am crone

And the woman within me exults in all the power that is woman

I am crone

And so much of what I once knew is forgotten

But I finally begin to understand

This is the season for bargains to be struck:

Trading memories and facts for innocence and wonder

Letting go of things once held dear for gifts more precious, should we find the courage,

Realising how we are small and great all at once and seeking no explanation,

Just dwelling in the mystery

I offer thanks in silence

This is today’s lesson



The snow fell

And covered the hills.

It filled the crevices, bridged gaps, adorned

The shapely curves of ancient stone.

The snow fell, and

Filled the hearts of the young

With exuberant joy, and

Brought tender smiles to older faces.

The snow fell like a benediction

On the tired earth,

Covering all that was in twinkling splendour

A blanket of purity, a silent presence.

The snow fell, and

Before our eyes the familiar was transformed

And seen afresh, and we knew delight,

Even as the thaw was setting in.



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