M.T.C.Cronin: Seven poems

Foot Flower

            for Paul Durcan

'Delphinium, iris, opium poppy, mullein,
Seagull rose, yellow loosestrife, sumac'
I watch his-he-smiling gig
Already imagining the horticulture of shoes
The feet with their aura, good horse,
Bad horse, the flower's odour
Watching TV and the intimate dead
He moves the world around with 'is words
Pickin' up Dublin and dumpin' it in my head

He had doors in his arms
For me to stumble through, private parts,
Private parts, as if to institute the book of
And those cheekbones just bits of his skull
Asking is like a field of flowers
He moves the world around with 'is words
Pickin' up Dublin and dumpin' it in my head

If my death is mine I will bury them all
Every word a ghost
That burns back to life, if I had time,
If we had time, audacity forever
And beauty, the final arrow's bloom
'Delphinium, iris, opium poppy, mullein,
Seagull rose, yellow loosestrife, sumac'
His words his world his words
My head my feet my head


            for C.Z.

How can we ever be safe
When we expose so much of ourselves?
When we shut ourselves up to do it?
There is so much drama in the drama
Yet still I need to borrow laughter
To come up with the ideas
From which just the right amount of me
Has been taken away
My tears unlike any sadness owned
Part of the never-decreasing ache
And to admit I was like this on holiday
Furious Summer in the countryside
Yet gentle old paintings
Out of proportion flowers the size of mountains
In an unfurnished English house
For my art I had been abused by a rich man's lawyer
On the streets of London
Who shook my hand with all the hate he could muster
I felt like a silly angry woman and remember the aftermath
The pen snapping back its words -- vicious and ravenous
Now I walk nowhere on my stone legs
I don't speak
It is my breath that tells the lie
She's still alive
Still working


            for Alex Sideratos & Thomas Krahper

Among the low scrambling herbs --
the plant named heliotrope!
Such a performance,
your leaping toward the light.
And is it the dark you are afraid of,
our turn for the moon,
a choice you'd never make?
As if you are born with that choice --
are we all with our own?
This is the dialogue of colours,
of China, what used to be Peru,
of women, outside and blue.
It is where words get meaning,
it is because it is not that.
And because it is --
light, you know, makes other light,
perfume imitates the trail
you leave from air to ear,
and the stone leaks blood when wrung
by the mountain's epic lay.
And so, dragged into modernity --
still seeking cures for our oldest ail --
would you photograph the sun
with your slavish eye
that 'turns ever to the star of day'?


            for Molière

You are all free.
The sleep of your leaves
at the end of the day
is just some s(h)itting between
the sun and the moon.
It will all be here in the morning
and there is no such thing
as one aside.
When I whisper these jokes
to the audience
to the world's lukewarm face
I am sure you overhear me
and discern the pattern
in this play.
It contains all the words
which become life
and every action
to travel by.
How do I know this?
Laughter told me.
Tears whispered me.
Liberty cracked me open
and my seeds found only
the identity which awaited them.
Their mark.


           for Jennifer Cronin

Your husband they tell me
used to say that God looks down
and knows where you've been
from where you have planted the cassia
Why were you always planting cassia?
Why did you worry eternally
about small children?
(whether they were to be strangled
by the bed-head or have their brains
liquified by the parasites of snails)
Why did you never take a holiday?
Were you afraid that a life
of forgetfulness and indolence
would leave the cows unmilked
and the pain of giving birth
in a thousand toughening pasts?
Well here have a bite of fruit
wrestled from the dreamy guards
of Lotus-land whose tongues
are long like lizards and whose hands
are sticky with Ulysses.
I can guarantee abandonment
and bliss and a glow in your cheek
that God will be able to see all the way
from Heaven -- Fuck the cassia!


           for Maya Mohan

How was it you knew
when still a child
the symbolic word
of children?
Little magic girl
who visits the rainbow-
coloured fairyland
Who runs from
the baby-song monster
towards an orange
listening to the later life
of Jesus!
Up close your eye
is the Milky Way
black & alabaster
bleeding to infinity
while in your lips
this made-up flower blooms
a faute de mieux shape
fasciole of my loins
like a napkin ring
on white linen!
Little one (quickly)
come and kiss me with it!

Primrose, Daisies & The Other Flower

           for Tom Murphy

I want to go to the circle with the question mark
in it. To bananaland!
I don't need the womb
or the despair of this world
for though tempted by the here and now --
light works so quickly on us --
I want to go beyond
both light and dark. This, I know,
is cowardice but none too often
do I feel the inclination to forgive
myself and
by comparison what we do with others
is easy! Like the simple bouquet
a brother picked only
to be scorned for an act
so small and uncluttered. What
was it the other man screamed? -- NICE!!
and it cut like a knife! Yet
you have found beauty and a happy
though not ordinary
ending. I am uplifted by you
but crushed by my questions --
always asking when the lights come up --
Does tragedy in art have beauty?
Does it in life?