Helen Harrison – Three Poems

Helen-2[1]Helen Harrison was raised on the Wirral, seven miles from Liverpool, by Irish parents, and has lived most of her adult life in Co Monaghan, where she is married with a grown-up daughter.
She participated in a residential poetry course at ‘The Poets House’ Falcarragh, Donegal during 2014. Her poems have been magazine published in Ireland. Her first collection of poetry ‘The Last Fire’ was published during 2015 by Lapwing.
During January 2016 was Guest Poet at O’Bheal Poetry Readings & Open-Mic Nights,
Cork. Has read at ‘Over The Edge’ in Galway, and has been invited to read in Dublin and ‘The White House’, in Limerick. Some of her poetry can be found at: poetry4on.blogspot.com


‘You’re dead whoever you are’
He screamed as she hobbled away
On crutches ‘you’re fuckin dead’
He repeated, dragging his tattered
Damp sleeping bag behind him.
She limped away; and from afar
Turned once more; naming the
Freezing Dublin man as a
Scumbag drug addict.

The homeless man I felt sorry for
She a stranger judging him
With passing, cruel remarks;
His life already dark; a
Desperate situation: I could
Only contemplate what her
Injuring tongue must have said
Before. Her only temporarily
On crutches.

While this so-called modern-day
Society; held him permanently
In its clutches. His voice angry
And hurt; he raised his fist at air;
Voice cracked and broken;
‘You’re dead’, were the last words
I heard spoken. He lowering
His head. It was then I knew –
It was he who’d died
Long ago, inside.


He preached to an empty seat

The couple on the other side of the room
Held a conversation in silence;
Using deaf sign-language;
Meeting with eyes, hands
Busy with expression;
Unaware of his presence,

He only aware of his own
Struggle within
Projecting his voice;
Raising fists at air; until
Finally giving in, to
Temporary sleep.

I had a timetable to keep;
An hour more to wait;
The couple held each other;
Tickets in their palms
While the harmless man
Awakened once more;

To direct more opinions
Projecting his voice;
Words unintelligible
I understood only swearing;
From drunken speech,
Echoing the empty space.

An onslaught of anguish,
Mixed arrogance;
And defeat;
No direction;
Or journey to seek.

He preaching to an empty seat.


There has been dry spells where
Written thoughts were hard to find

Like spaces on a packed train –
People left standing.

Yet I have known empty ones
Late nights curving around the coast,

Long and sleek and off-peak
A regular rhythm of quiet –


Early mist clearing, revealing
A platform of flowers;

Where an idea is forming, breaking
The stillness, peeling back layers

Of meaning. High on the rocks;
The glistening rain-soaked heather,

On through tunnels; purple clover
A tide of thoughts spilling over….



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