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This week Sadje encouraged us to write a piece based on this image which shows a bird’s nest outside a birdhouse holding four white and black speckled eggs. You can see a few flowers, sticks, and a vase on the side of the nest. Here’s my contribution:


Your hair is like a bird’s nest
Speckled with twigs & leaves
And new life wrapped in a shell
Black and white
A knotty; forested mess
You spend so much time
Decorating this little corner
For your avian friends,
Even making a small house
For them to feed & rest
With some pretty flowers & a vase
That some would go as far as saying
You’re away with the birds
But my friend, I digress
And the fairies, might disagree
For this particular bird
Composing this rhyme
Has found a home here
I’m happy to confess

Should you wish to participate in it then you can access it through the following link:


Today was the first day I’ve walked any part of the canal in a few weeks & the 1st day I’ve been there since poor Aisling needlessly lost her life that fateful Wednesday afternoon. I looked on at the beautiful and extensive array of floral tributes at the entrance to Fiona’s Way, carefully reading the various heartfelt and poignant messages of sympathy mixed in with them. An overwhelming sadness descended upon me as I did this along with a realisation of the far reaching impact this awful tragedy has had, not only on the community of Tullamore, but on a nationwide level with bouquets of flowers hailing all the way from Antrim and Wexford to name but a few. There was an eerie silence about the place, a sombreness if you will, that can only have come about as a result of such a shocking; life-altering incident.

Yet there was also, it seemed to me anyways, a palpable air of quiet defiance that permeated the atmosphere. This was evidenced in the amount of folk who simply wanted to pay their respects to this beautiful soul that had captured our hearts and others who had came out of pure curiosity. But it could also be seen in the healthy numbers of people (women in particular) still going out for their daily or weekly walks; runs or cycles. It was a sort of dignified “fuck you!” to both the perpetrator of this deadly; heinous assault and the legacy of fear; hurt and trepidation it’s left behind. An effort to reclaim what had been a safe & sacred space of reflection and recreation from the clutches of evil and give it back to the community.

Though I hadn’t originally intended to do so, I suddenly felt compelled to walk with them. So I said: “fuck it, I’m going to walk this path too! I’m not going to bow my head to or succumb to this fear and insecurity that had crept into my conscious since Wednesday.” That fear that, if we let it, will stop us from doing anything or indeed changing anything. I walked and I walked and I walked along the pavement that Aisling’s feet had pounded, for the last time, just a few days earlier cautiously acknowledging or greeting fellow mourning pedestrians along the way, for fear I’d be intruding upon their grief.

I kept walking till I reached a checkpoint just shy of Boland’s Lock which I can only presume was the location where poor Aisling met her terrible fate. Greeted by more flowers and messages of condolences I uttered a silent prayer for Aisling beseeching my mam; dad and sister to look after this bright light and cursing the man who did this to her, to all of us! I turned around and went back the way I came, something Aisling never got to do!


My father and mother
God rest their souls
Just like my brother
Content to dig & plant
Watching it all unfold
Potter about outside

No green hands here
I’m afraid
No jack of all trades
No D.I.Y expert
With his hands on a spade.
Only weeds I pull
Are out of the sky
(In the form of words)
Like a magician’s sleight
Of hand.
Much to my wife’s chagrin
Who must wonder why
She ever aligned with him

Only digging I do
(As Heaney once wrote)
Is with my pen
Twitching. Clicking.
But never at rest,
Between my thumb
And finger
Always doing his bidding
While my gaze lingers
Lifting up the dirt
For a nugget of truth
Though it may be.
A sliver of light
From the dirty sea
Of life.

Plant the words
On the page,
In reader’s hearts
Like they were seeds
In the hope they’ll engage
Water them with ink
Patience and time
Watch them take root
Change. evolve.
And blossom
Into the flowers
They were meant to be
Colouring the world around them
With their own distinct fragrance.

Unearthing our past
Understanding the present
Unveiling the future.


You say you love me, yet you keep me at arms length

Away, you shove me, but I don’t have the strength

You say, “This is enough. You deserve more than all this.”

I say, “This is too tough. I want more than a kiss

Once every week just to placate me

I was wondering did you actually hate me?


Hate me if you want, just don’t take me for granted

Do you rate me? Or am I only a tree that you planted

For some protection from all life’s storms and the rain

Check in for some affection every now and again

Maybe, we’re better off being good friends

As this situation we’re in, well it doesn’t lend


Itself to some ending that’s happy ever after

I try to refrain from being sappy about all the laughter

The nights spent dancing into the early hours

No fights, just romancing with meals and some flowers

Flowers have withered slowly from the neglect

Hours have slithered slowly by as I reflect


That it takes two to make something work or to not

My point of view isn’t the only thing, in case I forgot

How I could be nervous; needy, and self-analytical

I did you a disservice by being greedy and so critical

For your time and of it too, I did vent

When I should have been happy to have spent


Spent those 3 months with you

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