MIKE DOUSE now lives Mountain Ash in Wales but hopes at some time to return to Ennis and renewing his involvement with the Clare Poetry Collective. A former Head Teacher and Education Professor, he has worked in and advised on EU-supported education programmes, in over 60 developing countries, reflected upon in his recent books An Enjoyment of Education and The Global School – Education in the Time of Digitisation (now available on Amazon at bargain prices. Mike was among those who established the World School Students Debating Championships and has judged many school debates across the west of Ireland. He has published two collections of poetry, Old Ground and Gone to Ground, along with numerous articles and reviews. He is currently working on an EU education assignment in Somalia.


Showa Daibutsu, central Buddha of the mandala,
Gazing rather lazily and, presumably, benevolently
Across the gentle waterfall, and the statue of
Kannon, and the maples, and the cherry trees,
And the Jizo Bosatsu, and the proliferous crimson
Pinwheels, and the touristic troupes in awe and air-
Conditioned charabancs, further than the Five-Storied
Pagoda that neither fire nor typhoon nor earthquake
May destroy. If I can keep my two eyes firmly shut
For long enough, I can see through everything.

Cristo Redentor, Brazil’s best-known non-
Footballer, soaring from atop the Corcovado
Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park
With arms outstretched – a ninety-two-foot wingspan:
Not quite the stance that, all things considered,
I would have chosen – blessing most of Rio and
Beyond but looking strangely Caucasian, this
Carpenter’s son from Nazareth. Place me upon
The mountain top and I can assuredly negotiate
The narrow pathway separating right from wrong.

Newly-inaugurated Lord Shiva, sitting in a cross-
Legged and meditative posture, at Ganesh Tekri,
In the dusty old pilgrimage town of Nathdwara, in
Rajasthan, visible even from the Kankroli flyover
Located some twenty kilometres distant, attracting
Votaries of Terpsichore, each intent upon a cycle of
Karanas, involving extravagant movements, depicting
Creation, preservation and dissolution, extending to
Combat, even unto death itself. And I too shall join
The dance, once I know what to do with my hands.

Genghis Khan, on horseback, some forty metres tall,
Beside the Tuul River, around fifty kilometres east of
Ulaanbaatar, where he found a golden whip (allegedly).
Nestorian crosses and rosaries are housed in the adjacent
Museum along with ancient tools and goldsmith subjects.
Visitors walk to the head of the horse through its chest
And its neck, from whence they have a panoramic view,
Perhaps seeing the Trans-Siberian depart early, carrying
Away their luggage. Each pilaster denotes a defunct
Khan: I nightly ride resplendent with the timeless horde.