Empty Hand

Empty Hand


The battlefield is silent now,

In reverence to the dead,

A pageant sound hangs in the air;

The carrion crows have not arrived,

Which in itself is strange,

As the eyes of death, assemble in a stare.


The drummer-boy has sounded

The last beat of his tattoo,

The sergeant majors orders, shout no more,

Their uniforms are not in line

With military concept;

Crumpled up in bloody stains of gore.


The wind gives no contrition,

As it is impeded by the dead,

Flapping at both enemies and friends,

Tearing half held photographs,

That those dying slowly had retained,

Leaving just a limp and empty hand.


© John Anthony Fingleton  (Löst Viking)



Remembering a West Cork Road

Remembering a West Cork Road



There was a softness about that evening,

It somehow infiltrated to my soul;

Transgressing all the distance in between.

It felt just for a moment, the same way it had done,

All those years before –

On that small road near Skibbereen.


Yet, I was here in Paraguay, on this pequeño carril,*

Red earth stacked on either side,

With no resemblance to that leafy lane at all;

The smell of fires from terracotta stoves,

Baking chipás’ for to sell,

There was nothing there that should trigger that recall.


I suppose memories are frozen?

To be awakened by a ‘thing’ –

As each sound or aroma leaves a trace,

Still, there was nothing here I recognised,

Except that distant señorita dressed in red,

That activated memories of wild flowers, in that old place.



© John Anthony Fingleton  (Löst Viking)




  • little lane

Bits of Bob – The Scythe

Bits of Bob – The Scythe


“The scythe cut the last crop down,

To bring home the harvest of the dead.

There was silence on that battlefield,

Not a birdsong, could be heard’.


It blew them all to kingdom come

The soldiers, and some mothers sons;

Their body parts ploughed in the land,

Their blood was filtered through the sand.

While vultures circled overhead,

To pluck the eyes out from their heads.

And bits of Bob my boyhood friend,

I searched, but never found again.


Was there glory on our side?

I remember that the drummer cried;

And spreading on that field of Hell,

The single toll of some church bell.

Bloodied lips pressed in the sod,

Calling some unhearing god.


Now people point and turn their heads

Whispering, I should be amongst dead.

And have I guilt that I survived?

Perhaps they’re right, I should have died.


© An Exiled Poet


Painting by  Laszlo Mednyanszky




Poems from the Norse-lands The Blood Oath – Brothers of the Sword

Poems from the Norse-lands

The Blood Oath – Brothers of the Sword

Then Vithar spake:

“I swear by my blood on this sacred sword…..Before Odin, God of All….. Before Thor, God of Thunder….. Before Tyr, our God of War….. That I will fight with honour to protect the Ancient Ways…..Defend my family and kin…..Rather Die!! Then ever wear the chain of slaves.
I call on the Goddess Freyja, to bear witness to my oath…..So that when I die, – and her Valkyries ride…..They will recognise my soul.”

The harvest has been gathered in,
And the season turned to war;
All longships have their riggings checked,
New sails and weapons stored.
Children play with wooden swords,
Attacking phantom things;
The women hide their sorrow,
Young lovers carve their rings.

The Old One, will soon casts the runes,
And listens as they fall;
His eyes are blind for many years,
Yet their sound, still tells him all.
When three full moons have passed the sky;
And the rituals have been sworn,
The ships will cast off to the fjord,
And be rowed into the world.

A prayer then said to Njord,
When we reach the open sea;
Where sails are set for western lands,
And dreams of victories;
Some of us, will not return,
But fall in the storms of war;
To reside in Valhallas’ place,
As Brothers of the Sword.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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It snowed last night a heavy fall,
Making one colour of it all;
My footprints crunched a virgin path,
Like an alien on the Moon had called.

The woodpile seemed an odd shaped stack
Always covered in a sheet of black,
Now stood there like a marble tomb,
With no name on its front or back.

From inside the forest a sudden boom,
As clouds of snow tumbled down.
While branches sprung back into shape,
And flakes like white butterflies flew ‘round.

I looked all around this new landscape,
Not one position had escaped,
So moved on with a sudden haste,
To test the new ice on the lake.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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A Pink Tree in Paraguay.

A Pink Tree in Paraguay.

I was never good at knowing trees,
Except Irish oaks, and elms,
But this morning I saw one in Paraguay,
With all its flowers dying.
Pink colours fading from its soul,
Branches outstretched in one last hope,
The Sun reflecting on its agony,
Which the soft wind just ignored.

Birds abandoning near naked branches,
Felt no remorse or empathy,
A condor looking for a place to rest,
Just choose another tree.
It was not in my back garden,
But I expect there was a flower carpet in that place;
I could even smell its dying;
As the hot morning Sun effaced.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Photo © John A. Fingleton.

Image may contain: plant, tree, sky, outdoor and nature

Ripples of the Fjord

Ripples of the Fjord

In those days I went to the fjord
With my friend Erik
Sometimes we swam
In the tears of the mountains
Then lazed on the warm shore
Listening to the lapping music
While watching the circus
Ring of clouds
Later we carefully choose the flat stones
The skimmers
This was our favourite game.

It was on such a day
That the stranger arrived
Without warning
Just a one-eyed man and his bird.

‘Take nine stones and throw them in the water
one by one, but rapidly you must count the ripples
to see the years the Gods have given you –
but be careful choose carefully.’

To children an unknown word –
We began at once eagerness overcoming caution.

When we turned to look, he had gone
As suddenly as the black raven
That watched our game arrived
Twitching his half turned head
In idle curiously
Amused by our behaviour.

We continued to toss the stones.
One-Two-Three –

Erik died last year –

I am still counting….

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Image may contain: water and outdoor

A field at change of season

A field at change of season

I found this field, just lying asleep
On the low and rolling hills;
Its last flowers of summer, were slowly dying,
And the wind blew at its will.
The woods all around shed their brown autumn leafs;
Like the tears of children crying.

Song birds twittered, in branches bare,
For everyone to see,
In this wild and lovely place
Awaking a soul, I thought long-time lost in me;
While in the contours of the sky,
I saw one paint stroke –Of His face.

© John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Image. ‘Seasons’ by Peggy Immel

Image may contain: tree, cloud, sky, plant, grass, outdoor and nature

Detained by Darkness

Detained by Darkness

The darkness had a density
I could almost feel its touch,
Slippery sliding fingers on my face,
I could barely see the next step
As I probed with just one foot;
Into that anonymous black space.

I knew the road
I had travelled it,
It was now an alien place,
Sublimated by the element of fear,
I stumbled – almost fell,
Until I reached the crossroads bend,
When suddenly it released me,
Into a different anthrosphere.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

Image may contain: outdoor

Insomniac Dreams

Insomniac Dreams

I just want to sleep,
Forget this night, that darkness keeps
Within the shadows, in the corner of my room.
The voices that invade my head,
Of the living and the rotting dead,
I pray to hear the sunlight coming soon.

I just want to sleep,
So I can’t see that body heap;
Some eyes ajar, amazed that they are dead.
The wars that I have won and lost,
Remembering the mental cost,
Makes me claw the morning to my bed.

©John Anthony Fingleton (Löst Viking)

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