Thursday, 8 December 2016

RIVER BANK

RIVER BANK

After the yellow-brown leaves
Are washed with sunlight,
I’ll be the dipper that flies
And returns; when the water low
My poetry slowed to a trickle
The remaining ripples, like leaves
Disappeared; or ink from my pen,
Seeped into river-banks again....



Published in Stanzas and The Galway Review

Sunday, 30 October 2016

A NEW DAWN OF WORDS

A New Dawn of Words

I try to let time pass,
Slowly - as always,
Yet it still
Goes fast
Beauty of Words….

Ordinary life dimmed
Yet not put out
By this glorious light.

Peace surrounds me
Like a forgotten vale:
Un-earthed from childhood:
A forgotten state of grace.

A web of story-telling -
In a different place
This time....

https://thegalwayreview.com/2016/05/13/helen-harrison-two-poems/




Thursday, 29 September 2016

SIMPLE WAYS

SIMPLE WAYS

I remember every brick in the door frame,
her silhouette.

Nellie, an aproned sixty-nine had
never watched a movie,
still thought meat was
the main part of a meal.

She picked bunches of yellow roses
for homeward bound church-going
bachelors; pitying their lonesome ways.

Her spinster world was gay
with giving; usually to old ladies
stiffened by religion and age.

Her greasy hair
her shy smile -
hands filled with care,
.
Gathering eggs
in the hedge,
throwing kindness to hens;
setting jam to seal -
neighbourliness.


Published in https://tintean.org.au/2017/02/06/poetry-13/


Saturday, 27 August 2016

BITE

BITE

Glad I can’t mould sea, like land,
It just seeps into my soul, through
My fingers -

Out of my hands. Poems like
Broken shells; fragments of
A person’s life;

All weakness, and strengths -
Exposed to the bite....


https://abegailmorley.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/helen-harrison-featured-poet/


Sunday, 14 August 2016

.....SEEDS

            SEEDS

               1

On a Sunday in mid-summer
Right at the edge of the park
You come to me;

Talking future plans,
Shining eyes,
And a heart that dared.
We saw ourselves

Buying a car to travel
Down to the coast
Whenever we took the urge

All planned out under the elm
Of eager spreading roots.
Many seeds scattered

Ideas with wings on the breeze
Hope floating all the way
Towards the sea along winding
Open-windowed roads.

           
             2

Smashed in spring - the last                            
Season you inhaled;
Lying singing on the back seat.

The front driver’s side was saved,
Letting me drive
To dreams that died.

Dreams have a way
Of coming at you by the front
And leaving by the back door.

I pass it now, the car
In the scrap yard
At the edge of the town
It’s only half now.

https://tintean.org.au/2017/02/06/poetry-13/

https://sites.google.com/a/lapwingpublications.com/lapwing-store/helen-harrison

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

POTATOES

POTATOES

I can smell the sweet potato peel
Upon my skin - and I visualize walking
Amongst the summer rows.

I pick over the box of earthy potatoes.
When I pull one that is perfect
I turn it in my hand like a gold nugget -
Buried in my memory - a charm.

I peel back happiness from the soil,
Memories drop into a watery bowl;
The day we planted them - sowing
Love which had lain on the edges.

Uncertain, I nearly threw love out
With un-seeded tubers; to decay in hedges.
Instead I wrapped them and stored them
In a cold shed - for spring planting;

I can already see your face shining pride
At flowering drills; you stand with a wide-stance;
The posture of the accomplished soul - your eyes,
Stare lovingly at each planted offering.


https://poethead.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/the-last-fire-and-other-poems-by-helen-harrison/

https://sites.google.com/a/lapwingpublications.com/lapwing-store/helen-harrison


Sunday, 17 July 2016

WHEN I FALL

WHEN I FALL

Why is it that the path
Has to mist before
We see ourselves,

Cracks and roots exposed
To an empty ditch
To reveal a broken stem;

Vulnerable, collapsing
Covered in isolation
And open to pain.

Maybe it is necessary for us
To suffer occasionally -
For compassion to remain;

Like a stunted tree, a trapped
Fly, before we can see
Through another’s eye.

My path has been mostly clear
Or as far as I can see
Alone, but never lonely.

Not intentionally
Do I fail to notice
A troubled mind,

If you fail to see me
When my mist approaches.
I won’t think you unkind.



Sunday, 12 June 2016

KILLRUDDERY

KILLRUDDERY

Beneath the elders
Where bumble bees
Lose themselves
In flowering thyme;

I lie down in dew-soaked ease.

And dog-rose is the scent
That makes my spirits rise
In the kingdom of the low –
Flying bird.

I take comfort on the mossy soil;

Last years leaves sweet;
Damp In the wing-tipped breeze,
To ease my mind and soothe
My brow;

In dappled light my speckled thoughts take flight…

And the worm-seeking thrushes
Make a rustling sound
Where life goes on
Underground –

Beneath the earthy mound.

                                       
           
               https://poethead.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/killruddery-by-helen-harrison/

         .                                                'Killruddery' is also in my collection of poetry:

Monday, 6 June 2016

PASSING SUNSETS

PASSING SUNSETS

Evening, and there is nothing
To temp me indoors.

Warmed from a day spent in the sun;
I spin it on my fingertips,
Pass it, to my team-
Mates.

Scoring goals
Win rolls of respect. Talents
Swaying to the chants; that
Tribal-like victory dance.

Ball of mesmerising fire -
Football skills that inspire. Cool
Moves; dipping, diving,
Thriving, in the company,

Until friends slip away,
As they are called in -
One by one.

Alone, with a crimson sky;
The breath I take is sharp
Like loneliness,

As the night turns - flat.
     
       https://poethead.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/the-last-fire-and-other-poems-by-helen-harrison



Saturday, 4 June 2016

INJURY

INJURY

‘You’re dead whoever you are’
He screamed as she hobbled away
On crutches ‘you’re dead’
He repeated, dragging his tattered
Damp sleeping bag behind him.
She limped away; and from afar
Turned once more; naming the
Freezing Dublin man as a
Scumbag drug addict.

The homeless man I felt sorry for
She a stranger judging him
With passing, cruel remarks;
His life already dark; a
Desperate situation: I could
Only contemplate what her
Injuring tongue must have said
Before. Her only temporarily
On crutches.

While this so-called modern-day
Society; held him permanently
In its clutches. Angry
And hurt; he raised his fist at air;
Voice cracked and broken;
 ‘You’re fuckin dead’, were the last words
 I heard spoken. He lowering
His head. It was then I knew –
It was he who’d died
Long ago, inside.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

CROSSROADS

CROSSROADS

Nineteen forty-five was like that
Free-wheeling to the crossroads;
Fifteen miles later; her own birth place;
Travelling was the best part, the wind at her back,
A greeting ahead.  News from home....

Roaming the familiar lanes, sisters
Continuous chatter; away from the
Clatter of feeding hungry hens, pigs and
Cows. She could roam without children,
For a day: Pause for some rest.

A small slip of time away from the chores
That shaped her life. No sooner had the
Ceili begun, it was time for the door: among
Promises to write, feeling satisfied to have rested
Those tired limbs. She’d set off, her frame;

Feeling heavier, cycling up hills, the thrill
Of the annual visit finished; her spirit slightly
Diminished, yet younger. She’d relay through letters,
How when she got back to the crossroads....the
First thing she’d hear; to spoil her wonder

Were her pigs squealing with the hunger....

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

THE LANE WHERE LOVE WAS LOST

 THE LANE WHERE LOVE WAS LOST

The lane lush with high banks
Yet to be adorned with spring.
New life to creep from the earth
It whispers promise in the wind.
I smell it in the mossy soil
After rain that has left –
A shiny greenness which spreads
A canopy to carpet the edged paths.
What though of the end and edge
Of love that lived in empty houses?

The plastic vehicles of joy
A bike, a scooter and toy tractors
Amongst farming fields and hills.
No rows among parents whose love
Was peeled like paint off the walls
Of now; while un-treaded lawns here
Lie rich in moss. The relics of once-was
Still show – in the faded glory of bungalows;
Rotting, moulding timber and missing tiles,
That which stole planned lives, hopes and smiles?

Swallows will nest where no broom knocks
Them down, though even the bird-song isn’t as sweet
Without the laughter of children.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

AFTER THE DROUGHT

AFTER THE DROUGHT

The climate that dampens a human heart
Is the one where the heron thrives, feeding
Nourishment they need; frogs, insects and seeds.
Though seasons that flow soon suffer drought
As humans suffer pain and doubt, until all
That’s left to soothe a heart; is art.

To tap-in to a creative zone; find
Calm through all climates; like a herons
Individual-path of flight. Put the human
Mind to use. Make no excuse for unnecessary
Hardship; find your gift then feed your art
To find some peace within your heart.

Friday, 22 January 2016

WORDS

WORDS

It was really aggression
When it came to it
You burnt anger as fuel
And blamed the excess
On me.

I tried to oil your mood
But it caught fire,
I watched the road,
Willing it to clear
Like my splitting head
Afraid to block ears,

Held a barrier that bounced
Off the steering wheel
The dash, the roof
Through windows
And gaps.

I shuddered but it didn’t
Stop, it kept rolling
And rallying, raging;
Collapsing my world.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

WET DAYS

WET DAYS

It was Monday
Everyone at school or not yet born.
I remember every square in the pavement.
Wet days remind me of mum wearing a sad face,
Walking towards the village determined
To fill shopping bags with the beginnings
Of busy meals for milling children.
It was the only time I felt close.
Sometimes she’d say something,
Tell me who lived in which house
And how nice they kept their gardens.
In days when it rained
Our closeness dissolved in stooped shoulders,
The anticipated heavy bags, against the rain.
When the sun kinder, other women
stopped to chat;
I didn’t like that,
They came into our space,
Mine, mums and cracked pavements.
She measured her marriage against other couples
Who passed in cars, or walked side by side
Chatting, smiling, swinging shopping bags in unison.
Too proud to carry shopping or feelings -
My dad; being a farmer,
Never looked inside the heart.
On rainy days he was in the pub
Until closing-time.
 
At home, he opted for sleep and
Peaceful isolated dreams.
Mum pulled the scarf around her head,
The wind flapped her mackintosh,
Her slim legs moved purposely through life.