Isn’t it soft the skin is on you

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by Eoin Moynihan, Longford


Isn’t it soft the skin is on you.

Aren’t those hands of yours so clean.

Has your back never bent to ponder

upon wheelbarrow or heavy beam?


Have your eyes been ensnared by some beauty?

It may be; your hand lent purpose to a plume.

Is it poetry that unsettles you,

seduced by some lingering full moon?


Be that as it may,

Life will hold sway

And it’s bother, you will not flee.

For it be neither soft hands nor a soft heart

that set us free.


Sonnet – Fairy Mischiefs

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by Áine Leddy, New York


The cows were dry again this morn 

Those fairy mischiefs doing their worst

With guilt and shame I was torn

My whole clan would feel the thirst

The spancel should have been installed

Before I closed my eyes to sleep

But I had milking churns to scald

And left gap open to fairy leap

I will do better I decided

In the duel with the little man

My efforts would not be derided

No more empty milking can

So move along you little louse

No more free milk around this house


Áine based her poem on the folklore “Fairies sometimes milk cows. To prevent this tie a hair spancel in the cow gap.”

A Proverb Set Right

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by G. Slamon, Brixton, U.K.


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

A wise proverb tells us of blackbird and thrush

Though if truth be told I don’t quite understand

Why two birds in the bush equal one in the hand

For a bird in the hand it will tremble and quake

And out of its terror no song will it make

While the birds in the bush they will twitter and trill

And alive with their freedom will seldom stand still

But hither and thither and upwards and down

They will flutter and flitter and frolic and clown

And light up the hedgerows and colourful songs

While the caught bird in silence and stiffness it longs

So open your hands wide and let the bird fly

And find its way back to its place in the sky

And with it your spirit will soar with delight

And rejoice in the freedom of a proverb set right

The Old People Believed

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by Attracta Fahy, Galway


The Old People Believed

to cut the horns off a black snail, would rid you

of earache.

In the sixties folklore didn’t appeal to my palate.


Slugs taken from their natural habitat gave me

creeps, my skin crawled, stomach gagged, as boys

dared me to play with slimy creatures, worse


than any ache I couldn’t decide if I felt sympathy,

or disgust. Live, and let live became the motto

I used for divinity. This betrayed what my brothers


deemed to be brave. No fear of climbing trees, chasing

through graveyards at midnight, tying scarfs to headstones

just to prove – I wasn’t afraid.


I imagined the snail bleeding to death, his family cursing,

dooming me to a terrible fate, scared of not having peace,

I never complained of earache again.


I liked sugar, mindful not to eat much as I’d wished,

it caused worms. Imagining slithery organisms

inside my stomach was nauseating, the cure even worse,


to sit with a bowl of oatmeal, mother spinning charms

over your head, inviting these white squirmy, maggots

out of your mouth. I stopped eating sugar.


Rubbing a snail, it’s smear all over my finger to be rid

of a wart didn’t entreat me either. I was a martyr!

With five brothers– it wouldn’t look good to let down


your guard, scream. Being a girl, weakness enough.

I hid a glass coke bottle in the haggard – ‘keep it secret,’

my mother suggested, creating new folklore to relieve


the stress. My wart disappeared.

‘We don’t need to kill I explained,’ already enough

on our farm, lambs, pigs, chickens–


‘It’s normal, survival,’ my father explained,

‘but, it must be humane, that or starve.’

Only humans were safe, and I wasn’t so sure, still,


we had confessions. That’s how it was in the old days,

a cure for everything except fear, and remorse.

Repentance, or plenary indulgence didn’t remedy


for me. Earaches, and warts, were tolerable, guilt,

empathy for all life, can be an infliction.


Attracta’s poem is based on cures in the folklore collection:

cure for EARACHE: Get a black snail, cut off both horns with one cut instant cure.

cure for WARTS: Get a black snail without looking for it, rub it on warts three times, then hang on a white-thorn bush. As snail withers warts will disappear.


The ‘Good People’

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by M Ni B., Longford



Down from their secret haunt they come, A-trooping down the hill,

green jackets, red caps, white owl feather

–  proud and bold they step together


The yellow moon doth guide them, as implishly they leap

their wizened crinkled faces, as old as rivers deep.


At midnight  ’round the red hot coal, they toast their tiny feet,

sipping clean Spring  water, they  search for loosened teeth.

They frown on itchy noses, a bed that’s facing West,

a web they love to weave around, the  Stranger or the  Guest.


Theý’re still around,  those little folk, who are both wild and free,

don’t lend an egg or spill the salt,

for certain they will point and say

”these humans are at fault”

The health is the wealth

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by Aoife Brady, Sydney, Australia

Covid’s gift

Big houses, new cars, fancy holidays, prestigious jobs.  A legacy of success, importance and wealth.

Our world valued the external appearance. Survival of the fittest. Work hard, play hard. Keeping up with the Joneses.

COVID doesn’t care. It targets all. Indiscriminately. Old and young, healthy and sick.

We’ve seen the best of humanity; the kindness, compassion and generosity.

We’ve seen the worst of humanity; aggression, judgement and wilful flaunting of the rules.

Overnight the “insignificant” became the most important. The nurses, the social workers, the cleaners, the delivery drivers, selflessly putting their lives on the line to get us through.

Forced separation. Working & studying from home. The breakdown of our social habits. Our favourite cafe, bar & restaurant closed. The job losses.

Anxiety, fear, panic, concern. We felt them all. We heard our inner dialogue. The isolation forced us to confront our mental wellbeing

Mental health moved from taboo to mainstream. We learned about our inner world and how we respond to the world.

We learned the importance of meaningful connection for our emotional wellbeing. Honestly replaced pretence.

COVID’s gift is a resetting of what’s important. Our health. Our wellbeing. Who we are as people. Who are you in the post COVID world?

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