granny’s garden


the dying daffodils reminded me

of a long ago tended garden.

Each flower had a place

Reds on the left and yellow to the right


Granny pulled their heads off

and stomped on each stalk

frenetically each day she roamed

the rows of yellow daffodils


grandad could kill nothing,

not even a slug so he slunk

behind and gathered the leaves

tying them all together

with ribbons of concern

weeping as the willow by the pond.


I used to think granny hated

like hated every thing

but I think she was broken hearted

for the man she knew before


Grandad’s heart was aching

for all the men he’d known

who laid down their lives

in the war to end all wars


Granny played a lot of things

taking the role of winner

She hated the name granny

Preferring formal Grandmama


But I loved this statue of

ice cold tendrils

I was never scared like the others

She brought fear to every one

But I heard her pray once

For me and R and J

And for the two H’s in her life.


Two broken hearted people

Living in a box

Unable to talk or even to listen

Forever bound in silence

On reflection of the pond’s surface

Of a childhood long ago

The only way they could converse

Was having red on the left

And dying daffs on the right.


She stumbled out of the Parrot

Holding the window for stability

The red ruched too tight shift

Barely covering her awkward frame


How different from a few years before

When she ruled the Parrot and the men

Taking them one by one to the canal bank walk

Tossing her ponytail with glee


Of course she took the uppers

Snorted white lines with lies

Pierre took care of her every need

She was loved and basked in the glow.


A year or two before this Angelina

Fresh faced and fuchsia pinked

Took a job as a trainee technician

In a Phibsboro’ beauty salon


The women there got huge tips

But Angel was just a trainee

So they looked after her and taught

Her everything they knew.


How easy to give the extras

How easy to start the slide

From fresh to ripe to rotten

Rotten to the core, through and through


As Angel stumbled last night

Near the canal, Bert watched

He saw her walk unsteadily

Where horses once had plod


Her body was found a few days later

The men from the Red Parrot bar

Described each scar, and the landlord, Bob

Identified Angel and held a wake in the pub.


A few weeks later Cherylann arrives

To be a beauty trainee in Phibsborough

Her hair is short and punked

Her fuchsia pink bag sways with her at-it-tude.


daughter of the King

Don’t remember the prior things;
don’t ponder ancient history.
Look! I’m doing a new thing;
now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert,
paths in the wilderness. (Isaiah 43:18-19)


I met someone recently who did not have it all together. For some time I had seen the edges of her life fray but now “it” was bursting through the seams. Depression was hitting her, wave after wave of inky blackness. It broke my heart that there was nothing I could do at that moment for her. Not because I was busy or doing my own thing but because I had no words to help. I did suggest we meet and I hope she turns up at the appointed time or maybe we will hook up and travel together. Words can be so strong at times that it is better to hold them in than to let them out. It was not the right time, we were within a throng of happy people. So I reached out and touched, prayed for her and then she was gone.

Last night I heard that God loves me, I had been hearing it all day. I heard it in the hugs of women, in the conversations of men and in the gratitude of children. I heard and was challenged by the words of a prayer, texted to me from the West of Ireland. I heard that God loves all.

This morning I listened to the testimony of Chryshtal, a young woman who has overcome the extremes of life to know she is the daughter of the King. I listened to her story of a desperately hurting small girl who was transformed into a godly confident young woman who spoke of the truth and beauty that was now in her life.

Yesterday I looked around a room full of women that had always known they were daughters of the King and I remembered in that moment a guy who told me people like that would never understand what we had been through or done. I can remember, even, then, just slowly nodding because back then I could not challenge things that did not sit well in my heart. “Some people glide through life like a fried egg on a Teflon sheet – nothing sticks to them.” That is what I used to think about these women, but I now know better. Inside those nice clothes are women who are broken. As time has gone on in our lives, they have shared their heartache, their quashed desires, the losses in their lives and the incidents that turned their faith upside down. They say things to me they cannot say at home and each meeting I have had with them, a new person comes forward out of their niceness to get raw and honest for a moment.

My friend is not stuck in the moment. If I had thought she was stuck I would have stopped time to be with her but I know she will in time tap back into the journey God has for her. I had a dark moment this week, it lasted more than twenty four hours and that is why the West of Ireland prayer pierced my soul. It was a very “How very dare you?” and it convicted me.

In the midst of this moment, today, I am loved by the King and I am his daughter, later I will need to straighten my crown and remember this truth. But this moment is full of praise and full of wonder.


You’ve got stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it

Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it

And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if our way should falter
Along the stony pass

“Stuck in a Moment,” by U2


bluebell {trapeze}

In Dublin I walked past a houseWith five bluebells in the yard

Looking proudly out of place 

In a mostly peculiar way. 
Three crows called out 

From a tree by the river 

And an elephant rode by 

On a circus truck
I know a girl who ran

To the circus for a time

She learned the high wire

Trapeze and cream pies.
She left to attend study

And sits quietly in class

Dreaming of not running away

To three rings of death defying feats.
Bluebells sway demurely 

Like a girl balancing in the air

Delicate blue skimming in

The early morning sunlight
Girl sits in class modestly unassuming

Eyes that flash like sapphires

When interest is peaked

And fade to dull aching
When the lecturer snores his words 

drowning the room 

with waves of hibernation

The dreams of faded tutus return.
She really is an oddity

The stunning long legged beauty

In a space of elder haggards 

Exuding confidence aloft

In a mostly peculiar way.


I need an intervention.

I need surgery. There is something wrong, water cascades down my cheeks at the slightest thought. Today it was a rainbow, a small, tucked between two sets of clouds, sweet spectrum of delight. Where I stood my little finger was bigger as I held it up to measure. It was there.

Today it wasn’t just the rainbow. It was many things that I cannot write about. It was memories. It was present. It was future imperfect. Mother hen frustration as a fox slaughtered chicks. Deep rooted helplessness. And then the rainbow reminded me of a long ago binding agreement. And although I had been doing it all day, I prayed a new prayer. Standing in the sight of the variegated hues I asked for more. 

I need surgery to remove the dampness from my cheeks, my neck, salt stained my t-shirt. My eyes feel ever so puffed, distorted by this reviled, ridiculous inability to stop the waterfall.

I need a divine intervention, transcendent surgery of a broken heart.

I could do with some verbal articulation too but… One thing at a time 

omelette face

eggs crashing on the supermarket floor

face smashing into the bathroom door

Will it ever end?

toddler screaming for one more bar

girl shrieking – the loss of more hair

Will it ever end?

the shelves full of hopes and promises

the lies and deceit of joyful fists

Will it ever end?

fresh meat pertly pink in cellophane wrap

new bruises – spectrum exploded on facial map

Will it ever end?

row upon row of parting with money

line upon line of smarting agony

Will it ever end?

One day will I rise up

and say – enough, no more

Will I glide along shelves pouring rubbish in my trolley.

One day I will rise up

and say – enough, no more

Will I be punched and kicked and torn limb from limb.


The hushed tones behind the fluttering curtain

The eye tries to wake

The limbs try to move

The mind tries to grasp

as the green sheath cocoons

the broken body


the news reported an arson attack

on the giant of surpermarketing

a girl was in hospital, no other injuries


the man came, full  of charming patter

that did not pass the chaplain’s muster

in the middle of the night

Salesian Agnes took the girl

And wrapped her in blankets and quilts.


the arson attack caused little damage

setting fire to oneself causes different scars

to hide the ones made by prince charming

Agnes soothed the brow

She ladled soup

and the girl, me,  slowly walked… away


I have to write a strategy for a disciple-making group. Already three versions have been torn up and thrown away. There are so many ways that discipleship comes into my life, both for me as a person and me – making disciples.

This week it seemed that every phone, text and email pointed out how I had failed to meet people in the last six months. Would it be fair to tell them this was an intentional, God directed, minister endorsed move? Did anyone need to know outside this circle of three? Was I selling “my” people short with pithy texts and Bible verse devotions by email?

Yes, of course is the answer and yet I need to back off and back away for a season. The season ends today as I line up three meetings before some V.I.M stuff. Looking at these people now as opposed to when they first were laid across my path I am amazed at how God can work in the unlikeliest of places (me) and how humans love to put up barriers to that change.

I was again reading “The Radical Disciple” last night. A book that moved me along the road some time back. In that time when inanimate objects like books could speak to me more effectively than humans. There has to be change, there has to be real, lasting change. If we agree to repent, there is no turning back. It is a complete 180 ° turn away from the things of old and and turning to the new thing, the things of God.

I epically failed in my V.I.M. stuff yesterday, I gave up and I gave in. Or did I? I still have a very, real peace about what I said, did and prayed. It was an acceptance that some things cannot change and therefore it is much better to let go of the whole situation.

Today begins a new chapter and the paper will be written tonight. As I sit here, preparing for that situation my prayer is of hope and surprise and the pure unadulterated wonder of love.

In Japan, when a vase or pottery is cracked, there is a process which binds the broken pieces together again. It is called Kintsugi: Kintsugi (金継ぎ?) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い?) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum a method similar to the maki-e technique.[1][2][3] As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
In Japan, when a vase or pottery is cracked, there is a process which binds the broken pieces together again. It is called Kintsugi: Kintsugi (golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (golden repair.)  As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.