Not a Pilgrim’s Path

Not a Pilgrim’s Path

This is not a pilgrim’s path,
Carved out by praying feet;
No, this leads to the field I keep my sheep,
Countless generations
Have trodden here each day,
Now it is my turn, to follow these.

Sometimes a stranger passes –
A pilgrim that’s lost their way,
While searching for the near-by holy place;
But very soon they are perturbed,
For when they reach the gate,
They find their gaze returned by grazing sheep.

Even at the winter solstice,
When the storm clouds threaten snow,
Some hardy ones will come here by themselves,
This is my time of vigilance – even more then lambing time,
As from the northern forests –
Come packs of hungry wolves.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Photo credit Kersten Howard photography.

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Cave of Shadows

Cave of Shadows

There is a cave up in the mountains,
Not unknown to man;
Where the shadows of the dead go to retire.
There they wait the final judgement,
When Armageddon will arrive,
And the decision between the garden and the fire.

There they enter great discussions,
About the gravity of things;
Some say there are no gods at all,
Just some poor old spaceman,
That lost his orbit in the stars,
And landed here when he ran out of fuel.

An elephant that became Devine,
Crocodiles that walked like men,
Mountains that were sacred for a while;
These are some of the theories,
Tossed back and forth each day,
Shadow thoughts made to pass the time.

One thinks the Caesars were real Gods,
Although most of them deny;
Except the one that really was insane,
Then there’s one off in the corner,
Repeatedly muttering to himself –
‘Father forgive them in my name.’

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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Poems from the Norse-lands The Witness – The Dream

Poems from the Norse-lands
The Witness – The Dream

It was a long and rambling road,
The hardest I had ever had to go;
But the old man I carried on my back,
His feet were caked with snow.
From time to time I’d look around,
To check that he was still alive,
I could feel his blood upon my skin,
From the seeping wound pierced in his side.

Sometimes he moaned,
A woeful sound,
As if returning from the dead,
And his voice was like no other;
But like the resurrection of himself.

One eye was blind – shaded down
But no blood seemed to flow,
As if given freely for the truth;
He muttered runes words, I did not know.
Then I felt his power returning,
His fingers seeped into my bones;
And when I awoke by the tree-
I was by myself – alone.
Yet marked upon my skin I found
The Valknut, of Stora’s stone,
And a voice that insisted in my head –
“You are the witness –
Now write what you have seen down.”

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

No photo description available.

The Mourner

The Mourner

By August of the following year,
Jimmy Joe had died.
They never found his body,
It was taken by the tide;
A wake was held in Murphy’s Bar,
And a Mass at Reenrusheen,
And someone placed a memorial stone,
On an empty grave in Cahersiveen.

Jimmy never married,
So the nephews got it all,
The house, the little horse and cart,
While some people thought ‘what a gall’
Jennie Flynn, the widow –
Who had been his housekeeper all these years,
She was left with nothing –
Just memories and tears.

Every Sunday morning,
Fresh flowers were placed upon his plot;
No one knew who the mourner was,
But many knew, who it was not;
The nephews sold all he owned,
And never gave him a second thought or prayer,
But when Jennie Flynn, the widow died –
The flowers just disappeared.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

“Washer Woman” by Martin Driscoll
Permission to use this image granted.
For more details on Martin’s work contact – Felix Kleighttps://www.facebook.com/IrishArtofMartinDriscoll

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The Great Loss

The Great Loss

A poignant hush fell on the crowd,
As the coffin was nailed down;
It was as if the sounds of striking death,
Could be heard off in Clonakilty town.
The tri-colour was unfurled,
And placed besides the cross,
And Ireland was united, for a while,
In grief and sadness, for her great loss.

Through the silent streets of Cork,
The cottage slowly moved,
And candles lit in every house,
From Passage West to Cobh.
As they placed him on that steamship,
For the voyage to Dublin Town,
It seemed that even God Himself was saddened,
As the rains came pouring down.

A single volley filled the air,
When she berthed in the Docks,
Ireland had lost another son –
The Minstrel Boy, from Cork.
For three day he solemnly laid in state,
Inside the grand old City Hall,
As Dubliners traipsed slowly passed,
In prayers at the sadness of it all.

On the twenty-eight of August,
He was brought to Glasnevin’s weeping meadow,
And with pomp and ceremony, they laid him to rest –
Mícheál Ó Coileáin – The Big Fellow.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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The Substitute

The Substitute

He’d sit there in soft solitude,
In the shadows of his past,
With the ghosts that had found refuge in his head,
I watched him as a youngster;
As changes came into his eyes,
And knew that he was thinking of the dead.

He had his own quite barstool,
Where he came most every noon,
For a pint of stout, and to read the fresh news of the day;
He liked this solitary existence,
While still in arms reach of mankind,
And I must admit, I’m a little too that way.

I’m unsure just why I thought of him?
It could be that music I heard play?
It’s been awhile since he came into to my head,
But it’s time to finish up my drink, and go;
I’ll be back tomorrow about noon,
I’m now playing as the substitute for the dead.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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Le fumeur (The Smoker)

Le fumeur
(The Smoker)

He puffed on his Gauloises cigarette,
In that cool gallic way,
Reminding me of strolling by the Seine,
Watching vendors call ‘bonjour’!
To tourists as they passed,
Selling books well out of print,
And ancient scenes on cartes postales
Of Paris, in her glory days.

The aroma lingered after he had gone,
Provoking a sense of nostalgie;
I was marching again slowly down des Champs-Élysées,
The band was playing “Le Boudin”
And old camarades came to mind,
Many of them now have gone to seed –
Others lost in long forgotten wars,
But all, never dead to me.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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The Netman

The Netman

The sound of cork floats on the ancient wall,
Reverberating with the wind,
A hollow noise that had no tubular beat,
Flapping nets tormented from the anguish of the waves,
Drying on the breeze from Sully’s Quay.

It was near this bridge that I first saw you,
Grey cap tilted, black pipe, puffing,
Eyes of hidden tales,
As I wondered what type of fish you caught?
And where you kept your boat and sails?

You probably never noticed me,
Or if you did, thought I was one of those whippersnapper’s,
Out of school,
Interested just in comic books,
And acting the bloody fool.

Little did you realise then,
And if truth be told,
I was the very same;
Through the years I would write several poems about you,
Without ever knowing your name.

I supposed you passed on long ago?
And your nets well out of style;
Its plastic floats and polyamides these days,
You wouldn’t recognise the place, it has change beyond compare,
You are part of what was, the olden ways

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Image South Gate Bridge Cork. Built 1713

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Incomplete Innocence

Incomplete Innocence

It was the perfect Summer,
The type you read about in books,
Or old movies of the 50’s would portray;
Days of endless sunshine,
Soft waves rolling on the beach,
Lovers walking hand in hand, thru fields of new stacked hay.

That hazy sort of feeling,
When you met up with your friends,
Just to take a walk into the countryside,
Ok! We might slock a few fresh apples,
From Pat Mulcathy’s orchard now and then;
And have to race along the lane to hide.

But all and all it was innocent,
Even if you snogged a girl,
Which back then was the most adventurous thing to do;
You’d cuddled up in bed at night,
Holding a book on Rupert Bear,
While thinking if Mary, Ann and Sue.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

The autumn leaves are falling
In their old spot on the lane,
Attracting ages of all kinds;
The young ones like to scatter them,
Until they fall like rain,
The old ones just flick them,
With their canes.

The lovers barely notice them,
They can’t see beyond themselves,
Until they stop,
And hear them crinkle when they kiss.
Then they laugh and sprinkle them,
Like confetti at a church
A symbol within a secret wish.

For those alone, a memory,
Of this season long ago,
The crunching underfoot becomes alive;
Voices filter through the leaves,
A medium of sounds,
As if the dead recalled the dead,
And were rekindling on the ground.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Painting ‘Golden Fall’ by Leonid Afremov

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