Matt Mooney – Six Poems

matt2Matt Mooney was born in Kilchreest ,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’. ‘Earth to Earth’ is the title of his latest collection (Galway Academic Press 2015). His poems have appeared in ‘Feasta’, ‘West 47′ , ‘First Cut’ ,The Applicant’, ‘The Kerryman’, ‘The Connaught Tribune’, ‘The Galway Review’ online, ‘Galway Review 3’ and ‘The Galway Advertiser’ (Peann agus Pár). He has read on Radio Kerry, at The Baffle Poetry Festival in Loughrea, The West Cork Literary Festival, The White House Pub, The Loft Venue Limerick ,The Forge at Gort Literary Festival and at Ó Bhéal in Cork.


I do not like you winterman,
walking slowly towards me
with your long black coat
brushing against the bushes,
black as well this evening.

It’s your fault you old timer,
you stole the leaves of gold
and sent the sun to bed early,
donning your broad grey hat
for Halloween above us all.

Driving the grey road ribbon,
leaving Abbeyfeale behind,
headlights on at half past five
against your onward march –
dipping downhill to Duagh
through descending darkness,
ever trying to creep over me;
a rising string of street lights
up a glenside football village,
each orange glow my beacon.


Couples on a mid-week break
in a hotel down Wexford way
descending from their rooms,
their children running free,
assembling for afternoon tea
with the same anticipation
as the seagulls I remember
hovering over the full tide,
and a shoal of mackerel
near the surface of the sea
off the promenade in Galway
and later landing on the rocks
showing off their seagullness,
searching us with steady eyes
in their brilliant whiteness
capped with backs of grey,
tails tipped with black,
orange beaks and orange webs;
we resemble them in ways
in the simplicity of our needs
and we gladly meet and mingle
to celebrate in our sameness –
the sealing of a common bond.

Orphans of Aleppo

I had a dream last night
of children – little fugitives,
refugees from Syria –
abandoned and bombed out,
crawling in a quest
for families they lost –
like newly weaned lambs;
survivors of lethal waves
in overcrowded dinghies;
after the human chaos
then the frozen fear,
following urban air raids,
of those left alive
in honeycombs of horror;
and now they seek a lap
on which to lay their heads,
the orphans of Aleppo.


A boorheen more than a road
looked like it might finish up
around a bend sooner or later;
yet it redeemed itself later on
in magnificent Mount Brandon
showing up on the skyline
as we were charmed to go on
along a wooded glen side
that towered above our heads
and sunk out of sight below
to the quietly flowing rivulet.

The heritage signpost heralded
a hideaway for an Easter rebel,
Captain Monteith of the Aud,
‘on the run’ from Banna Beach
after Casement’s capture there
and I climbed down, a pilgrim,
to see the plaque to our patriot
in the autumn of the centenary.

A simple cabin down below
reached only by a spiral path,
was a safe house for him,
down by the Ravens’ Waterfall;
the hazel and mountain ash
hid a hermit grey and bearded,
inside his forest family circle
of cow, donkey, dog and cat;
felt the peace of a place apart
and I stood to pay my tribute
to the old hermit and the hero
forging a link in our freedom
in Glenageenty woods for us
long before we were even born.

Burning Potato Stalks

Deep green barely seen
potato shoots coming up
in little firm bunches
thrilling from the clay
promising good times
in stepped out rows
headland to headland.

Growing up before me
in the land of summer
the straight stalks flower
in daisy white blossoms
tinged with purple –
time to spray they say
for blight a deadly enemy.
Digging time is looming
sometime in October
then the picking carting
and pitting for the winter.

Lying along erased drills
the stalks wilt fit to burn
in Indian summer time
we gather up with forks
myself and my father
on a hillside tillage field
tilted towards the light
from the sun’s journey
to Galway of the Races
we used as our timepiece
our weather vane as well
when we raised our heads
days ‘down in the garden’.

Piled up lit and burned off
leaving an undying flame
within me in his memory
bonfires of withered stalks
smoke like incense spirals
for a healthy crop given
crackling and consuming
smells that rock the senses.

The Elysian Fields

They looked like Elysian Fields
to me up in the sky above there
coming down the Hill of Leith
leaving the sun behind to sink
solemnly near Mount Brandon.

Above its rays had gone ahead
on red and purple pink and rosé
fleecy clouds in ridges running
towards the village of Kilflynn.

Perplexed as to its connotation
this glimpse of suspended glory.

Overhead our Champs – Elysée
furrows on the fields of heaven
where ‘Our God Reigns’ is sung
and the choirs sing Deo Gratias
for their lives for what has been
a land of no seasons and no sin.

Seeming to be so near from here
I’d like to climb its silken ladder
and see for sure our final destiny.



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