FOUR POEMS BY DENIS FOLEY

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Amo, amas, amat

If Love is a blessing then it’s also a curse.
Love is the doctor, the disease and the nurse;
A surprise at the altar, a bride in a hearse
A bad situation going suddenly worse.
The worm in the apple, the juice in the fruit
A thief in a dress, a thug in a suit
Love the destroyer is, the sword and the loot
But love the creator creates the flower, the root.
It is all that is holy, the bread and the wine.
Driving the seekers into trying to find
The keys to the soul, and a map of the mind.
The wizard, the witch, the necromancer
The burning question, the clue and the answer
The learning curve, the dance and the dancer.
Love is the flash of desire in the eye
A feeling of doom, a shuddering sigh
The aching truth and a reason to lie
A shadow above you, a warmth in the sky.
Love is the bowline, the bight and the bend
It’s the journey before us, never to end.
the story you tell, and the message you send
About what you believe and what you pretend
To the stranger within you, who in sharing the feast
Of the past and the present, the lesser and least
It’s the mistletoe prayer of the pagan priest.
Then quick as a knife, it’s the wind from the east.
Love is the whip and is also the slave
The pain in the heart that we constantly crave
That smoulders forever, from cradle to grave
To comfort the coward and encourage the brave
Love is the Sunset whose moment has passed
The defiance you feel, when you know it can’t last
When you’re the wrong gender, colour or caste
Love is the ensign nailed to the mast.
It’s the chant, the dirge, and the bell not rung
The singer not singing, the song not sung
Love is Peace for the old and life for the young

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Cold Hands

They were waiting at the corner
In the softly falling snow
The red light’s muted glare
Standing close together, a solitary pair
When he gently touched her brow
And smiling showed her how
The crystals gathered there.

There was such a look that
passed between them
Her sweet face lifting to him
Like a duck to the moon
Her beating heart laid bare
A look about cradles and sharing a tomb
A cry from the heart or deep in the womb.
Her whole life had been waiting
Merely prelude, until then
That particular moment, when
He touched her hair.

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Pale Simon De Montfort

Pale Simon De Montfort,
caught, in ragstone armour
Feels the pattern sway
The swelling summer day
The hammer of the centuries
Iron winter flailing
At his fortress,
abrading it away.

Flinching in his grave
Beneath the tower brave
Sword floret entangled
In briar and columbine
He remembers that the slave
Who built the battlement
And was hanged for stealing wine
Now feeds the spreading thorn
His laughter in the vine.

Mordant Nightshade
With poisoned blade
The curtain wall attacks;
Silent creeping supple flax
Green daggers reach thrusting,
Stabbing through the cracks.
Invest the forlorn hope
Sap ravelin and moat
until the legion’s gift of nettles
obliterates their tracks

Stone still the warlords sleep
In the tombs beneath the keep
While the deathwatch in the oak…
Dust falling, sifting
Faint as shifting smoke,
Drifts the flags of yesterday
With the gifts of then to now
Silence listening to the whispering
Of the castle to the Tao.

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Ruined Nation

If you look around the city you’ll see even more
Of the boarded up house and the shuttered store
Old folks looking thin and the kids looking poor
Junkies and crackers trying to score
The neighbour’s son, burnt blind in the war
That was fought faraway for
What or who, we’re not quite sure
But everyone knows the reasons why
The hopeless laugh and the useless try
The vicious live and the innocent die.
The righteous are wrong and the soothsayers lie.
Small towns have now contracted the Urban Blight
Of parasitic growth and poverty’s bite
Payday loans. Cash your cheques
Pawnshop tools; drug-raddled wrecks
Tribal markings, tattooed necks

Booze and Blues, smack or crack cocaine
Conspire with you, against your end
And tells the mirror, your only friend
‘If I choose to come or go
No one else will really know
The escape route that I chose
In the arm or up the nose
It doesn’t matter anyway
As I’m, just not myself, today’
Because they still, remove the bloody stain
From the gurney or the crutch
And relieve the pains of the mundane,
The familiar voice, the old refrain
Of ‘You. Not amounting to that much.’

So where’s the justice, what’s the law
Who’s the saint and who’s the whore
The priest in his vestments, eying little boys
The Angel on his Harley with a blonde
And all the other toys.
On the beat all day, rousting stoney bums
From the city’s most expensive slums
The landlord’s bully boy suddenly becomes
The policeman weeping on his balcony
Smoking up the evidence, toking on a joint
Frightened that his pistol is imagining his death
So he has to be discreet, so as not to disappoint
The alcoholic chief with corrosive breath
Or the political thief whose sticky fingers
Have stolen the election but can’t quite manage an erection
Without a toot of Crystal Meth.

Beyond the tracks, beside the silent bay
In the sacred, stained-glass time of day
Where rusty rails and empty harbour meets
Broken windows framing snowy peaks
Vacant lots deserted streets
‘Here’, where no police patrol
The Pretty City Kiddie Stroll
In the pools of streetlight,
‘Be monsters’. Slink circling the bait
While the painted children wait
For Sicko John to take a bite
Of big eyed Teeny Sweets
Down there it’s Halloween every night
But only tricks no treats.

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