Matt Mooney – Four poems

809941_b_5927Matt Mooney was born in Kilchreest, Loughrea, Co. Galway. He has lived in Listowel since 1966. His first book of poetry ‘Droving’ was published in 2003 and this was followed in 2010 by ‘Falling Apples’. His poems have appeared in ‘Feasta’, ‘West 47’ , ‘First Cut’ ,The Applicant’, The Kerryman, The Connaught Tribune.

Day Room

Some sit here and some sit there,
She sits rocking over in her chair,
Calling the same name on and on
Till it becomes her sweet sad song.

Country women sit around a table-
They should chat but they’re unable;
Their silence shared to say it all –
Each one’s life story beyond recall.

Memories are lost around the room
And some weary heads hang down;
Looks like the battle of the Somme-
Seems that life has come and gone.

This woman’s cows were all the talk,
She lived alone then lost her walk;
Her bovine herd had failed the test,
They had to go but she did her best.

Then a English lady, one time a wife,
Who talked to me of her lovely life,
Of her place and pets and her family;
Now she’s sits there with her destiny.

The dead and gone have left a space,
Memories too of every voice and face
Where they sat on Sunday afternoons,
Radio Kerry on-the songs and tunes.

Rosary time is special, a time of peace,
One feels the Day Room is a holy place;
After we have a chat on simple things
With our earthly angels without wings.

That man with the cap on is very sound,
He asks what matches have come round
And he counts his decade on his fingers
Just as well as the other fellow members.

Hardly any one was there this afternoon,
They were outside in the summer sun:
Straw hats with daisy chains on women,
The men nodding off- day dreaming.

 

I have a Seat

I have a seat and I sit on it
Where buttercups abound
Until another cutting comes;
Dried twigs and timbers too
And still some turf remains
In the open sheds behind me.

I have a seat and I sit on it;
Blackbirds banter on and on,
Talking from tree to tree
In a tongue unknown to me
But their music says it all
In deeper ways than words.

I have a seat and I sit on it,
On metal on a wooden block:
P.I.E.R.C.E in letters part of it,
Makers of the hay machine,
Laid to rest against the wall;
Now all is gone-wall and all.

I have a seat and I sit on it
After all these years gone by
Since the mornings of my life
When I sat on the old mower
That was for me my motor car
Which I drove in make belief.

I have a seat and I sit on it;
My father often sang on it
When it was working away,
Well oiled up to cut the hay,
Pulled by his willing horses
As the larks sang an Alleluia.

I have a seat and I sit on it
And a blue tit flits frequently
From blackcurrant bushes
To a nest under a broken slate
Near the garage gutter there,
Discreetly feeding her family.

I have a seat and I sit on it,
Safe in the leafy arms of trees
Like tall soldiers on security
Standing close around me
In their bridal June regalia,
Branches intertwined lovingly.
I have a seat and I sit on it
In tune with nature freely
And it’s like praying silently,
Shaking off chains of thought
That imprison me unwillingly;
Now I can fly to where I will.

 

The Hare

He beckoned me to hurry on
And so I ran as children run
To meet him at the gateway
On a long day for cutting hay;
He had something for his son
That he had seen just in time;
Setting back his pair of horses,
Getting down off his machine,
Lifting the leveret from his lair
And he thought I’d like a hare,
To get a young one for myself
I could tame in time and enjoy
And make of me a happy boy.
That gift to me out of the wild
To reach outside, to fill a void,
That frightened furry creature
He found hidden in the meadow
In the middle of hay mowing,
Beyond the horizon of our hill-
Memories of the hare I have still.

 

Cregg Cross

The castle ruins stand high above Cregg Cross:
Emblem of Norman power lording it over us,
Generations ago in the history of South Galway.

In my time too it held sway with vacant stares
From the windows of its soul long since gone,
As now we lived our lives the way we wished.
Then later like falling stars my old friends fell
But in the quiet they return to crowd my mind-
Past personae of the cast who play to cheer me.

We would go on summer Sundays to the cross,
A gathering flock of swallows chattering away:
About a dance maybe and if any one was there.

One of our clan he proudly rode a Raleigh bike,
As good as new with the mod cons of the time;
He smoked Gold Flake and gave us all a laugh.

A stoic man of leather look and eyes of brown,
Twinkling,could play the clown as well as him
In that merry widow woman’s rambling house.

Once there was a race between us down the hill;
We went much too fast around a bend unending-
One ran into a field but we found it entertaining.

Above in Ballyshea there was no fee for hurling;
One eye on the ball and another on our colleens-
To win a smile or two in between the puck outs.

In that road good music could be heard at times
Father, mother,sons and daughter:the best of trad
But the father’s favourite was Tosselli’s Serenade.
And beyond under the thatch in the dim daylight
Sounds of serious card playing are drifting idly by;
‘Hit him!’ and ‘Hearts!’ and the old pair by the fire.

 
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