Tim Cunningham – Three Poems

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATim Cunningham was born in Limerick and educated at C.B.S., Limerick and Birkbeck College, London. He has worked with a brewery, local government, the National Coal Board and in education. His first two poetry collections were brought out by Peterloo Poets: Don Marcelino’s Daughter (2001) and Unequal Thirds (2006); and the next three by Revival Press: Kyrie (2008), Siege (2012) and Almost Memories (2014). Website: www.timcunninghampoetry.co.uk


There is joy in ‘yes’,
A word that smiles. But lips
Take little delight in ‘no’.

Look in the mirror.
Observe how ‘no’
Circles to a fishpout,

Impossible to pronounce
While smiling. Whereas ‘yes’
Shapes to a perfect smile.

In the gravity of words,
‘No’ falls, heavy,
On the rocks below;

‘Yes’ is blessed
With wings, flies high
In liberty’s sky.


(i.m. Donal)

Absence is dawn without light
Night without darkness

Lightning without its flash
Thunder without its roll

A meadow without flowers
A desert without sand

A river without fish
A sky without birds

Children without laughter
A dog without its bark

Language without words
A blackbird without her song

A sea without waves
A forest without trees

Paint without colour
A rose without smell

A tiger without stripes
The circus without a clown

Christmas without carols
April without showers

Love without touch
A church without prayer

A harp without strings
His favourite chair, empty.


Almost aesthetic, candyfloss
Clouds of unknowing rise
Above Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Inkblot associations
Suggest a human brain:
The soft plumes, fissures

Deep as the Burren’s grykes
Where wild flowers periscope
A lunar landscape.

Here, no flowers, only
Destruction’s seed clambering
From the dark side of the mind.


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