poetry in English

Lines in the sand


i.m. R. J. Glasheen

there was the day
we took the ferry across the bay
you your daughters and me

you laugh and run from the camera
one buries her feet then legs in the sand
the other watches the grains flowing from her small fist
being caught by the wind and scattered
I draw lines in the wet sand

we have our picnic
lie among the reeds that tickle the unbroken blue
each lost in his or her own world

then the chasing games in and
around the rocks
in and out of the sea waves snapping
at our heels
erasing freshly made footprints

and the lines in the sand

(title poem of Lines in the Sand, Bradshaw Poets 2008)

Are you happy (for Chloë)

she leaves pebbles in shells
for the birds she declares

and tells me put Granddad
on your shopping list

she plays her harmonica
and the shopkeeper two again dances

my skin’s brown she says proud
is white
like Mummy’s

what her imaginary friend
Pastamonium’s is – I don’t know

In our games we are bears
who leave our porridge

mermaids and princesses in party dresses
creatures with purple prickles
and rolling eyes who
prowl the landscapes of our

we are pixies and piskies
and count the poxies behind our earsies
and travel our lands in cardboard boxes

every season is explored
  leaves scrunched
  snow crunched
  puddles slushed
  the sun screened out

she joys in the mirror at
the sight of herself

she takes my hand asks
  are you happy

– how could I not be –

wild and carefree
we two children
step out
  to dance
  through stars

(in Lines in the Sand, Bradshaw Poets 2008

The Feather

I planted a feather and a bird grew
and flew to heights

I planted a curl and a girl grew
and touched the stars

I planted a word and a poem grew
and shed pearls on a world

(first published in Running Water, June issue, 2004;
in Lines in the Sand, Bradshaw Poets 2008)


for Sandra

hair was always an issue she said
I don’t know why
she didn’t explain
but I would gladly exchange
her wild silver-dust dreads
for my tame mouse stubble
and what wouldn’t I give
for her warm burnished skin
rather than the chalk wrap
that encloses me

we walked scattering the
autumn leaves with our thoughts
our memory-laden shadows
one colour

(first published in Cork Literary Review 2007 in Lines in the Sand, Bradshaw Poets 2008)


the path narrows and my mother abandons herself along the way scatters her present her past. My mother scatters herself along the way each day a little of who she is, is lost, more of what she’s done, is gone as though it never happened a life like a jumper slowly unravelling

(extract from Leakage 2015)