Derek Coyle: Six Carlow Poems

The High Window

derek carlow cropped 2


Derek Coyle has published poems in The Irish Times, Irish Pages, The Texas Literary Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Orbis, Skylight 47, Assaracus, The High Window and The Stony Thursday Book. He published his first collection, Reading John Ashbery in Costa Coffee Carlow in a dual-language edition in Tranas Sweden and Carlow Ireland in April 2019, and it was shortlisted for the Shine Strong 2020 poetry award. He lectures in Carlow College/St Patrick’s, Ireland. His second collection, Sipping Martinis under Mount Leinster is due in 2023.



‘After being raised on a sensibly robust and nourishing diet of grounded and tangible poetry for much of my adolescence and young manhood – Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, and Derek Mahon in Ireland, and Akhmatova and Cavafy further afield – I took a strange turn towards the surreal and the fantastical in my maturity. Something…

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#BigGardenBirdwatch 27-29 January. Over these days please join Peter Donnelly, Su Zi and I to celebrate our Garden Birds and count. I will feature your draft or published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about your garden birds. Please include a short third person bio.


I saw them once at Aberystwyth Pier,
before I knew what a murmuration was,
or even that they were starlings,
nevermind their Welsh name, or if they had one.
Again years later near the racecourse
as we walked by the canal.
Today they fly over your garden,
I was going to say like plumes of smoke
from your chiminea, then I see that
in fact it is smoke. When they come
in the other direction they are not camouflaged,
but like tea leaves in glass as the water’s poured,
or glitter in a snow globe.
It’s not their call you hear
but the flapping of their wings;
not the size of the flock that surprises,
but the birds themselves.

Fratercula Arctica

They call us sea parrots,
clowns of the sea. Yet we frown
like owls as we perch
on the cliff tops in spring, our beaks
newly orange like autumn leaves.

The Behaviour of the Birds

A duck sits still as a statue
in a city centre street,

a goose lays an egg
in the railway station.

A pigeon bangs against my window,
startles me less than a magpie

perched on a rooftop.
I forget to look away.

Even though the window’s shut
I still hear blackbirds chirp;

only the heron in the park
flies away when I try to take its photo.

All three poems by Peter Donnelly

Birds in the Garden

At first, it was one couple:
He with his bustle of storm clouds,
she a more demure gray, of doves maybe—
It was the doves that invited them, because
I was so generous with corn.
They tried to make children, and to hear her
cry at the broken nest
grief that echoes

And in the years where a yellow fluff would follow,
Such obvious humble pride.
the babies stay flightless fragile for months.

Every year, they reunite:
The sisters and cousins and
new babies fewer and fewer

years of food for them
Years of watching for yellow babies
of hearing the weeping
Until this winter
when I am chosen

Here is food
Here is a safe space
My garden
For you I have made this
This for you

Video and poem by Su Zi

Bio and Links

Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary.  He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.  His poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Dreich, High Window,  Southlight,  Black Nore Review,  Obsessed with Pipework,  One Hand Clapping and Ink,  Sweat and Tears.  He won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition in 2021 and was a joint runner up in the Buzzwords open poetry competition in 2020.

Review of ‘These Random Acts of Wildness’

Many thankyous to Nigel for this pre publication review of my forthcoming chapbook “These Random Acts of Wildness”

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

As contemporary poets invent more and more forms for their poetry, it is perhaps surprising that the sonnet is undergoing something of a revival. Last year saw the publication of Hannah Lowe’s superb, award-winning The Kids , which demonstrated so well how this traditional form can be used for current content and now we have Paul Brookes’ Shakespearian sonnets in is latest collection, These Random Acts of Wildness (Glass Head Press, 2023) , which treat a range of enduring issues such as our experience of being alive and the nature of the natural environment.. His use of the form is as adept as Lowe’s, often concluding in memorable rhyming couplets, such as: ‘We collect the wild as ornamental/ Domesticate, put on a pedestal’; ‘My hard weight tames the uneven and wild/ makes it all proper, gentle meek and mild’; and ‘The wild dance of the swifts amongst the dead/ reminds…

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For Pavel and Six Million

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

Photo by Pixabay on

For Pavel and Six Million

He saw the last, one butterfly,
a flutter of gold, gone
like hope. Here it died, and blue sky
was a tale—once upon,
the end.

Yet still, his soul demanded write–
witness, record despair,
the whys
and soul-sighs, but also brief light
a flash in ash-filled air–

For dVerse, a very difficult form called the memento. You can read about it here. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I felt I needed to mark it, especially now as authoritarian regimes are rising–and there are people in the US government who support them. There is a famous poem “The Butterfly” written by Pavel Friedman in Terezin. He was a young man born in Prague, January 7, 1921, and murdered in Auschwitz on September 29, 1944.

All my grandparents immigrated to the US from Belarus and Ukraine before WWI…

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Mark #HolocaustMemorialDay This day I will feature your draft or published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks. Please include a short third person bio.

It is inspired by a painting. Aschenblume [1983-97] is a painting by the artist Anselm Kiefer.

A Stolperstein, literally meaning “stumbling stone” in German is a concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi persecution. The stones are placed at the place where the person lived and to date, they have been laid in 22 countries.

Both poems by Jackie Gorman


Porajmos is the Roma word for holocaust and its meaning is The Devouring.

by Frances Reilly

barely breathing
the sound of his boots
over her hiding place

huge pile of shoes . . .
their last steps
in Auschwitz-Birkenau

entering the showers . . .
leaving through the chimneys

by Kimberly Kuchar

Bios and Links

Jackie Gorman’s

debut collection “The Wounded Stork” was published in 2019 by the Onslaught Press and was described by Martin Dyar as “an engrossing and ecologically attuned debut.


Kimberly Kuchar

In 2022, Kimberly Kuchar jumped deeper into short-form poetry and waded into collaborative poetry and haibun. Her work has appeared in multiple journals, including Prune Juice Journal, Wales Haiku Journal, Poetry Pea Journal, and Suspect Device. Kimberly lives near Austin with her husband, son, and pet cockatiel.

Twitter handle: @BlueIris5432

Frances Roberts Reilly

has an international profile as a Romani poet and writer. True to the spirit of the Romani diaspora her poems have been published internationally in well regarded anthologies in Canada, U.S., U.K., Wales, Hungary and Germany. She was born on the Welsh border and grew up in England. She’s of mixed-heritage Welsh Gypsy-English, a direct descendant of Abram Wood, the notable family of musicians and storytellers. After making award-winning documentaries on human rights, she earned an Honours degree in English Literature at the University of Toronto.

Her book is Parramisha: A Romani Poetry Collection is published by Cinnamon Press in Wales (2020).

“Created Responses To This Day” Louise Longson responds to Day 295 of my This Day images. I would love to feature your responses too.

How rich it is

How each grain is ground
to finest silt and soil,
compact, sufficient in itself,
locked into a mass.

How we fight for it, die,
live, clothe and feed,
sleep in its eternal waking.

How it moves, the earth
beneath stars, skies, feet,
blades of iron and grass,
heaving with expectancy.

Louise Longson

Bios and Links

Louise Longson

Since starting writing poetry ‘properly’ in 2020, she has been widely published both in print and online. She is the author of the chapbooks Hanging Fire (Dreich Publications, 2021) and Songs from the Witch Bottle (Alien Buddha Press, 2022).  She works from her home in a small rural village on the fringes of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire offering a listening service to people whose physical and emotional distress is caused by loneliness and historic trauma. Her poems are inspired by bringing together her personal and work experiences, often seen through the twin prisms of myth and nature.

Twitter @LouisePoetical

Special Launch Feature – Helen Laycock

Patricia M Osborne

Please join me in congratulating poet, Helen Laycock, on the launch of her brand new poetry collection, Rapture. Helen shares snippets from her collection.


A flirtation with love between the covers

Helen Laycock

Love has long been a subject for poets. In fact, the oldest love poem is said to be The Love Song for Shu-Sin, written in 2000 BC for use in the sacred rites of fertility.

I never really thought of myself as a writer of love poetry, but, bit by bit, inspired by pictures, prompts and evocative places, I began to gather it, like stray flowers, until I had something that resembled a bouquet, and that became the collection ‘RAPTURE’, which is still smouldering off the press!

Love is a powerful emotion, and one most of us will have experienced in some way. Even the degree of grief suffered by a bereaved partner correlates…

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Guest Feature – Damien Posterino

Patricia M Osborne

I’mdelighted to welcome, Melbourne born poet, Damien Posterino, to Patricia’s Pen. Damien is here to blog about his collection Show Me the way into Exile published by Alien Buddha Press. Without further ado, it’s over to Damien.

Show me the way into Exile

Damien Posterino

I would like to firstly express my gratitude to Patricia who recently invited me to be a guest poet on her blog. The blog reflects her passion for poetry and writing and it’s an honour to be a part of it.

My first collection of 40 poems Show Me the way into Exile was written over eighteen months from 2021/22, but on reflection it had been sitting inside me for years. The theme of exile has always been in my life and always captivated me.

I left Australia and moved to London from Melbourne twenty years ago. My mum often uses…

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#TheWombwellRainbow #PoeticFormsChallenge. It is weekly. Nineteen form is a Spanish form an #Endecha. I will post the challenge to create a first draft of a poetic form by the following late Sunday. Please email your first draft to me, including an updated short, third person bio and a short prose piece about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Except when I’m working at the supermarket I am always ready to help those that get stuck. I will blog my progress throughout the week. Hopefully it may help the stumped. Also below please find links to helpful websites.


The endecha is a 16th-century Spanish poetic form with the following guidelines:

Quatrain (or four-line) poem (or stanzas).Rhyme scheme: abcb
Seven syllables per line for lines one, two, and three.
Line four has 11 syllables.

In Edward Hirsch’s A Poet’s Glossary, he refers to the form above as an “endecha real” (or “royal lament”). In his guide, the endecha is a lament or dirge that has four lines of six- or seven-syllable lines.

Thankyou to Writet’s Digest for the summary above

Useful Links,one%2C%20two%2C%20and%20three.