mikeMichael Halloran grew up in Dublin and holds an MA in writing from NUI Galway. He has published poetry in the anthologies Three Times Daily and Ropes 2009. He represented NUI Galway’s poetry workshop at the 2009 Dublin Book Festival where he read his poetry. He has published personal essays on the literary website Some Blind Alleys. Since November 2009 he has worked as an English teacher in South Korea and Vietnam. He currently writes for the magazine The Word – Ho Chi Minh City.

Line, sound, fire

Draw a line: the curve of a woman’s back.
Follow her. Recline her on a bed.
Splash it all with red.
Stamp a square of blue for the window.
Let her sleep.

Hear the sea. Hear the gulls.
Hear the chapel bells.
Hear the clack of dominoes,
The echo of children on cobbles,
And the poured glass of wine.

I will sweep my head of such things
Like I sweep the spent fireplace.


After staring at Breugel’s
The Land of Cockaigne as my desktop background for six months

A clerk, a soldier, and a peasant farmer
Are the supine stocks of a windshaft tree.
Their tools are strewn on the beige field
And a knight idles under a lean-to

With rust and tawny pudding pies for tiles.
A spoon-cracked egg with sprouted limbs stalks
Obliquely; a pig offers back pork by the
Knife slice; and a goose swoons onto a plate.

But look! From a background berg of
Buckwheat a man births himself into the world.
Through years of tapioca subsurface
He gouged out a crawlway with only a spoon.

As conquistadors are to silver mines,
Vagrant gluttons are to Cockaigne.
A scream in the sky shudders the air–
Somewhere, a rain barrel ripples, full of cream.