On seeing an old Cork photograph

On seeing an old Cork photograph

A ghostly figure at the corner,
One more hovering by the door?
Two horses standing tranquil,
In a time that is no more.
The same House of God I remember’
From when I was a child,
But I’ve never seen that archway,
The street in my day was open wide.

The shops on either side have changed,
From the ones that I once knew,
I suppose they are even different now,
The years I’ve been away, are quite a few.
Yet Pugin’s structure has that familiar look,
The spires still look the same,
I’m trying to remember what that street is called,
It once was Carey’s Lane.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Photo © Pinterest. View from Patrick’s Street to Saint Peter and Paul’s Church, Cork City.

Poem from my forthcoming book of Cork poems ‘Poems On The Banks’

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Gombeens A Poem of Protest*


A Poem of Protest*

I don’t think that they realise,
I know for a fact they don’t comprehend,
The feelings outside Dublin 4,
In this now long suffering land.

They have built themselves some ivory towers,
That they allow their cronies to attend;
Where they plan and plot succession,
So that their power will never end.

When I thought it could not get much worse,
They’ve come up with a new plan,
On the seventeenth of January-
They’re going to honour the RIC and Black n’ Tans.

If it was the 1st of April I’d pass it as a joke,
But I’m assured that’s what they’ll do,
They might as well go the whole shebang –
And honour Cromwell too.

Jasus !, we must be the laughing stock of the world?
If it wasn.t so serious, it would be a laugh,
I suppose they’ll have that useless leprechaun along –
The one that lives for free up in the Phoenix‎ Park.

People have been hung from lampposts,
For doing less than this,
And it’s heading that way in this place –
But those gombeens live in an Irish mist.

They murdered Tomás Mac Curtain,
Burnt Cork CIity down.
Let’s forget this myth that they were Irishmen –
They were Forces of The Crown

In closing I must apologise,
To all our dead heroes down the years,
I’m sorry that we lost the torch –
You must be turning in your graves.

I know their ghosts are watching,
Their spirits linger on,
Traitors came and went before –
And so one day, will this foul gang.

I could write a million other verses,
About the anger that I feel,
For the love of God! For Ireland!
Boycott the seventeenth!

* The Irish government prepares to host a commemorative event on the 17th of January for the former occupation forces of Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) of which The Black and Tans were a unit.

Photo. Tomás Mac Curtain lying in state in Cork City Hall after being murdered by the RIC. Source admin-www echolive.ie

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First Snows

First Snows

Last night while I was sleeping,
Came the first snows of the year,
Falling like a whisper to the ground,
Converting ever other shade
Into a virgin white,
Painting a winter landscape, without a sound.

The fields lost that vacant look,
That they frown this time of year,
The trees had their nakedness redressed,
All the houses seem in unison,
And in harmony with the land,
By the magic wand that nature on us blessed.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)
Photo Google.

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Memories pass at breakneck speed,
Right before my eyes,
Overflowing ashtrays,
Whiskey bottles,
Whores and lies.

Old scars that hurt in winter,
Dribbling mouth and failing sight,
Dreams that come at 1 am,
And stay awake,
All night.

Loads of old shenanigans,
Far better to forget;
Tears and fears
And self-blame shame,
Mixed in with some regret.

A broken goalpost in the yard,
Now overgrown with weeds,
Stacks of dusty notebooks,
With words,
That no one reads.

Trains and planes to places,
That I have never been,
Or did I just blank them out
When I found them
So obscene?

Wars and famines flashes,
Some of them I see quite clear,
Memories that pass at breakneck speed –
And surprise me-
I’m still here.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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The Streets of Broken Dreams

The Streets of Broken Dreams
I’ve seen your vacant faces,
Heard your silent screams,
Beneath the Christmas lights and ads –
On the streets of broken dreams.
Where the neon lights are shinning,
They said the streets were paved with gold,
But all you found was apathy
Loneliness and cold.

You came across the border;
Thought you reached the Promised Land,
But those dreams, hopes and visions
Were mirages of sand.
Look, it wasn’t me who told you?
I’m not the one who whispered lies,
But behind that smile,
I see that flash of anger in your eyes.

So, we take you in our factories,
But you can’t demand the rate;
You cry or die! No problem!
Two hundred more outside the gate.
In your city made of cardboard,
And roofs of reject beams,
Easy to die, but harder to cry,
On the streets of broken dreams.

I’ve seen you in the doorway,
With that bottle to forget;
While your sister sells her body
To some stranger she just met.
I’m not here to criticise,
In her shoes I’m sure I’d do the same;
When the soul is starved of innocence,
There’s not much room left for shame.

So you work the harvest, when it time,
For those months you all survive,
Praying to your own special God
That Homeland, won’t arrive.
And it wasn’t me who gave your name?
Look to your own kind – so it seems,
Where there’s hunger…there’s no honour,
On the streets of broken dreams.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

They’ve just turned on the Christmas lights,
And changed the atmosphere
It appears as if some magic spell,
Has come to filled the air.

They look much better in the night,
So for the children, that’s a treat,
Wide eyed, walking with their parents,
As they stroll down Patrick Street.

And of course the lovers come,
Walking hand in hand,
Whispering ‘sweet nothings’,
That only they can understand.

The old folk also like to view,
As they look and reminisce,
Of other Christmas’s long ago,
That was so much different from this.

Some lonely people come to take a look,
But I don’t know what they gain?
As afterwards they all return,
To an empty house again.

There’s a figure sleeping in a doorway,
At which the children stop and stare,
The lovers just walk on by;
For Christmas, he don’t care.

In this winter city,
Of harmony and peace,
There are people going hungry,
And sleeping on our streets.

Christmas lights in different ways,
Cast out different spells,
For some its really heaven,
For others bloody hell.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Photo Patrick Street Cork. grandcanalhotel. i.e

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Remembering How I died

Remembering How I died
I cannot for the life of me
Remember how I died?
A knife?
A rope?
A bullet?
That finally closed my eyes?

An overdose?
Bad needle?
Rusty razor blade?
Did I leave the window open?
Or first pull down the shade?

A storm at sea?
A plane crash?
Or a tumble in the snow?
I wish I could remember,
If it came on fast or slow?

Some rare disease?
That cancer?
A blood clot in my brain?
I’ve tried, but can’t remember-
Perhaps I died insane?

A husband who was early,
And found me in his bed?
Perhaps I did die happy?
All I know is – I’m bloody dead!
© John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

No photo description available.

Black Rose

Black Rose

I watch my love sleeping,
In the darkness of the night,
Her petalled covered body, lying there;
The sweet aroma took my breath,
So I can hardly breathe,
Like a sudden storm that comes to fill the air.

Should I touch and wake her from this dream?
I think the moment is too soon;
So I will just embrace the image,
And taste her sweet perfume.

The softness of the moonlight,
Reflects gently on her skin;
Revealing the hidden colours of her soul;
But I can only stare,
Like a ghost returning from the dead,
And she will never know, I was there at all.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

No photo description available.

Wintering Out

Wintering Out

What will you do now, my friend?
That the winter storms have come;
And the mountain pass is blocked by heavy snow.
Will you ride down to the lower plains,
And camp there for a while,
Waiting for the coming of the thaw?

If you wish, you can stay with me,
In my cabin by the lake;
It’s the first year I’ll be wintering out alone,
There’s food and drink for more the one, and I like your company,
I have sacks of oats and plenty straw
For your horse, out in the barn.

I know you like the open road,
With freedom in your face;
And your nomads blood, does not like to rest too long,
But we can make the best of things,
While remembering old times,
Share some jokes, and sing a few sad songs.

We will not be disturbed here,
When the North road is snowed down,
Except for a pair of wild swans nesting in the reeds,
I fear that one has died this year,
I have only seen the cob,
In many ways he’s a little just like me.

You say that you must carry on?
Ok my friend, I understand,
May the road rise and the wind be to your back;
I wish I could accompany you,
But I’ve lost the will to go;
From now on, memories are the only roads I’ll track.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

From my book ‘Poems from the Shadowlands’

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