Séamas Carraher – autumn ‘haiku’

photoSéamas Carraher’s poetry has appeared in a number of print and online journals and anthologies, including Dead Beats CANTOS,  Pemmican, The SHOp, (Ireland), Full of Crow, Word Riot & Poetry Ireland. He has recently been published in The Camel Saloon, Red Poets 19 (Wales) and The Poetry Bus 5, (Ireland). At the moment he lives in Ballyogan,  south County Dublin, Ireland.


autumn ‘haiku’

poem 1

it is that time of the year
suddenly the trees fall
from the roof of my life
my eyes opening at fifty
what a shock to see clouds
for the first time

i know this shock
it is that time of the year again,
i am driven mad by loneliness
i am driven there to make a friend
of my losses
these casualties mount
in their aches
the stairway to tomorrow

today i know there is no tomorrow
the voices fleeing from my telephone
affirm this
the dying man has no friends
the sick man’s room even has its visitors
built in with the furniture
it is a modern thing
to lie about everything

for fifty years i knew the lie of death
now this autumn it comes to me
it is the lie of life!
for fifty years to live as if each day passing
repeated in its simplicity
the boredom of eternity

autumn is the end of eternity
a gate closing on certainty

i know this now
too late
it drips
a drop at a time
from the broken pipes and the cracked walls
of this ruin i have discovered

the leaf will return but not this dead leaf
the children’s voices repeat themselves
but they are different voices
all promises lie broken
it is autumn again for the very first time.


poem 2

it is that time of the year again,
distances measure themselves the width of your chest
longevity is in a cracked tooth
you notice that old man they buried him two years ago
it is that time of the year again,
through the sadness written on the empty streets
and the rain that falls down quiet country lanes
no one calls here anymore
the door has grown roots and the house
has shuttered its windows against
books and friends
a funeral passes by
it is your life having a party
only they forgot to invite you
what a laugh
to listen to the music
to listen to the church bells
of your childhood
and to know this country
as if
for the first time.


poem 3

it is that time of the year again,
the fruit hangs heavy on a single apple tree
beneath it an old cat sleeps and the evening settles
like a sigh over the naked garden
what a curse
to watch this hungry ghost
pace in sorrow these memories
that never had a body
growing old is to lose what
you never had in the first place
to visit the place of your origin for the last time
and to know this sadness that
it is the first time truly
like the man dying by the window
recognising these shapeless clouds
swollen like all promises
no longer leaves fall from the sky
years fall
by the time they reach the ground
the bones of your life have fled
and only this record remains
on its way to the bin.


poem 4

it was that time of the year again
four hours ago,
already more time has drifted away
drained by the autumn air from
the tombstone of the dead furniture here
i was crossing that bridge to leave the living room
and i took a wrong turn!
an age has passed
like fionn’s son, oisín, returning
from the land of the fairies
i stumbled among old photographs
in this town no one recognises you
not any longer, old man
though you were the most famous man in the land
now my life is only a story told to careless children
throwing rocks at the trees here
an age ago i could have got drunk
an age ago the shock of youth
now even the echo calls me
to let go
let it all go
like these sad faces dissolving in front
of my youthless eyes.


poem 5

it is autumn again.
i am reading walter schels’ pictures one last time
there is a single face missing from the book
how individual is our grasp of life
this face turns to face the wall
this face is my own face and not so
even the wall has its own face and not so
it is autumn’s face
autumn has its own face no matter
how often you point the camera, walter
all you will catch is autumn’s face:
only for the stone holding the darkness back
only the silence where we hear ourselves
this simple message we’ve avoided
all the days
of our lives.


poem 6

it is autumn again,
one last miracle
drops by
it is the corpse of
your life
in a mirage of sunlight

the year turns the corner
and waves back at me

i have been a friend to the shadows
long enough
it is time to cross the river
it is time to wade and wade
deep and deeper
through the ruins
of this watery house
with its windows open to wind and weeds

it is that time
of the year again
my friend,
for the first
for the last time.


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