Three poems by Noel King

mailNoel King was born and lives in Tralee. His poems, haiku, short stories, reviews and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in thirty-five countries. His debut collection, Prophesying the Past, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2010. His second, The Stern Wave is due in 2013. He has edited more than fifty books.


Three poems by Noel King


The Silent Film Festival

No popcorn here (we’re too serious for that),

our eyes pop with the gun shots we hear in our heads,

the explosions as another gangster gets his comeuppance.


In a loop of the silent shorts from eight countries, count-

less creators, actors and crew; we loop each other, arm in

arm, twin sisters (Siamese twins we’re teased in school).


A pianist is busking a cross-fertilising, genre-hopping

atmosphere on a (to my ear) out-of-tune upright, only

I notice that, I’m the musical one, my twin tone deaf.


Only afterwards are there voices; in the foyer, film buff

men – a few skirts – but most film buffs are men, yippee!

Everyone lets on that they ‘so enjoyed the screenings’.


In the ladies room, my sister adjusts her specs and I redo

my lipstick, we step out for cigarettes, femmes fatales

from the Film Noir era, intent on getting their man.




Stories at Bedtime

Mammy says Daddy

won’t be home because

Daddy’s working late

but I know Daddy

has been to a place called the pub.


When he does get here there’ll be sounds

awful from downstairs and then their room.

Daddy loves me, gives me money,

takes me to suitable films

and Sunday soccer matches;


he says to Mammy in the bedroom

that he’ll leave that woman,

but I’ve seen her – Mammy never has –

and she has a bump in her belly:

Daddy’s bump. I know the bitch


is more glamorous than Mammy is

although she doesn’t talk as nice.

I ring her number I found on

Daddy’s phone. I know it’s bad

but she goes mad when she hears


no one at the other end. I love

my Mammy, will stay with her;

don’t care whatever Daddy does,

he’s welcome to them dirty nappies; I’ll still

take him wherever he wants to take me.



Wheal Prudence, Extinct Copper Mine, Cornwall 1834

When yo’ were fallin’

did yo’ think o’ me,

o’ your family,

the children we’d ’ve ’ad?

O’ the way a simple step can fell



That mornin’ I could’ve

spoken more gentle to yo’,

that last night I needn’t ’ave

stayed out late, would’ve seen yo’

before yo’ slept.


And if I’d fixed the pump

I wouldn’t ’ve been ’elping yo’

to and from the well

and we wouldn’t ’ve fallen,

but then yo’ could

’ve stumbled without me!


I tried to fall faster,

catch ’old o’ yo’,

any part of yo’,

go under yo’,

make your landin’ softer

an’ there was a moment love,

a moment in which yo’ died

before me, an’ as stuff trickled throu’

yer mouth I closed me eyes

and I love you I LOVE YOU.


Our cottage awaited

our warmth that eve’,

it’s a haven for nothin’ now,

our parents couldn’t touch it, neither pair,

where we’d skinnied and blushed

our way thro’ the jeers

and cheers o’ merry guests

on our weddin’ night, to our

loft with the leak you bucketed

and I never guttered.


Its cracks’ll open more

and more in time, and birds,

doves p’haps, will shelter,

and when the door rots

cows’ll enter and graze

on the green pressed thro’ our floor


and when only the stone remains,

the village’ll remember

it was a haven for our love.


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