Wednesday 26 September 2018

Poetry Competition

Poetry prompts.
Here's a competition for you.
Make a poem out of the following five words:


Tuesday 25 September 2018

For Better or Worse

Times Past

What did we used to do
when we ran out of petrol
or the car broke down
or we were delayed on the way
to or fro?

Or when we wanted to know where they were
and when they'd be back
and whether they were safe
or sorry
or both?

When we wanted to say hello
but not actually chat?
Make a date, or a booking,
and cancel both?

We probably walked more and talked less
Thought more or less
Had more  time and space on our hands
Did something or nothing with it
It's probably neither better nor worse
Now than it was then
Though it seems to be

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018

Thursday 20 September 2018


Inspired by reading Afric McGlinchey's  The Lucky Star of Hidden things

We've all had a few of these.......

He Was

A Rhett Butler
with prehensile tail

A 2/1 favourite
on a bad day

A pomegranate
chemically pumped

A starlit night
in a fog


The Alhambra
in the rain

imbibed for root bark

A Bluebeard
in sheep's clothing

He was
A mistake

Friday 14 September 2018


I'm not usually this serious...especially on a Friday...but here goes...

"The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind,happiness is better." George Orwell

Return to Sender

Boomerangs, Brent Geese, Letters
Library books- used to be stamped-now bar coded,
Salmon, Password protected stuff-in theory,
Passports-to Department of Foreign Affairs- in theory,
Seasons, Bottles-used to be bottle caps,
Stale bread, Past sell- by- date produce,
In general, in theory.

Finds are no longer finds
These items belong to somebody
And can, with effort, be returned.
Cats once wandered, still do
But can’t stray, not really.

Mine has strayed three times
And been returned
Like the recalcitrant prisoner
Who dug the tunnel, only to find
The Microchip on the other side.

Not that he ain’t happy here!
But he just likes to chase a leaf or butterfly
Now and again
Or a bee on his buzz-crawl
Of the local brew

And finds himself beyond
What he knows.
It’s safer to be tagged, I hear you say,
And that’s true.
But what about you?

Never mind the CCTV,
DNA and the Social Identity Card,
Your smart phone, your car reg plate
Your flat screen, your lap top
All monitor your every move-thought.

1984 is here
Big Brother is watching
And  Where's Winston? Never mind Wally!
Doublethink? Double speak? Newspeak?

Sound familiar?

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018

Thursday 13 September 2018


In the Middle Ages they used wine-
I’d be up for that-
Doused, sated, soaked
Then let the shedding begin.

In Latin it means
To strip off leaves-
It happens naturally to us
Every day, anyway.

But to speed up renewal
Crush almond shells 
and administer to the flesh 
with finger nails.

Then stand in the sun
Where its crepuscular rays
Reflecting skin cells
Scatter light beams.

Like a Monstrance held high
In Exposition or Benediction
Pouring its blessings
Exfoliating you.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018

Tuesday 11 September 2018

And If......

If my mother had not gone to the Pictures that night
Or had gone to the Castle, instead of the Astor
If she had arrived five minutes later
My father would have been ahead of her in the queue,
and not behind,
And he would not have seen the fire in her hair
Catch the light of the evening sun
And if he had looked down at that epiphanic
Moment to retrieve a fallen coin
I would have been unconsummated
And if he had not followed her gaze
To the pair of shoes,
Or was it a handbag?
In McKinley’s shop window, and said,
“Would you like me to buy that for you?”
And if he had not startled her with his boldness
that unleashed laughter and not distain
My non- existence would have been ensured.
For it takes such fortuitous events
Such flukes in the passage of time
Such serendipities
To make us who we are.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018

Friday 7 September 2018

Irish Time

Irish Time
(To nobody of my acquaintance!)

When she says she’ll be here at 10
and it’s already 9.30
You know it’s just an aspiration.
She’ll have to run to the shops,
locate the cat,
let it in,
let it out,
walk the dog,
water the dahlias,
and finally, in the car,
she’ll remember- the immersion!
run back, turn it off,
and let the cat in again.

And you’ll have time to
bake a cake,
hoover the house,
plant seeds,
clean the bathroom,
write a poem,
wash the crockery,
do a handstand,
polish the cutlery,
and maybe even,
airbrush yourself.

And all you can think is-
Thank God she’s Irish!

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018

Thursday 6 September 2018


Didn't you just love those teenage crushes!

Today on my city park walk
my heels crushed heather,
City heather, but heather all the same,
And I thought of you
In Northern climes
In olden times
On mountain paths
Leading a group of us
Beyond our stride,
Daring to make mountaineers
out of a bunch of Teens,
All with a crush on you-
Your bow- legs arching the sky
Hair- sun burnished
Knight- helmeted
Anorak- armoured
Galahad -clad
Following your Holy Grail.

Copyright with CathyLeonard 2018

Wednesday 5 September 2018


There’s something mischievous
about summer. The way
It goes to our heads.
Upturns our routine.
Upends our days.

Sends us scampering  
to retrieve straw hats
that smell of Spain
and skirts that scatter
coconut in their train.

We stockpile factors
and balms and visors
and shades, as if
this reverse eclipse
will never end.

There’s something comforting
about its tail.
The fallen leaves, the night rain
The scarf to be donned
The head regained.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018

Monday 3 September 2018


Inspired by John Corless' "Are You Ready"

When the row with the partner
has gone on for over a week
Are you ready?
To admit that it was you
who left his nearly- new
trousers in the dry cleaners
six months ago
and forgot to collect them.
That you stowed his passport
in a burglar proof stash
and can't remember where.
That you did open his mail
thinking that it might
involve you,somehow.
That you read his emails
all of them
when he so casually
left the page open.
And that's how you know
about you -know -what.
That you did wash
his favourite white tee-shirt
alongside a pair of red knickers
from Bargain Basement.
That you sold the unstrummed
unsung guitar on Done Deal,
and bought a foot spa
with the proceeds.
That you did vote for the turkey
in the 1997 Presidential election.
That you'd do it again
if he decided to run
next term.

Are you ready?

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018

Sunday 2 September 2018

The 99th Liffey Swim

To the Swimmer who nearly won the 99th Liffey Swim

If the tide’s not with you
You can’t win
And even though
You were in fine fettle
And your handicap was good
And the punters tipped you
As Odds-on-Favourite
And A -Sure-Thing
And even though you led
The shoal under Capel St. Bridge
Through The Millenium
To The Ha’penny Bridge
The tide was against you
And the sharks were nibbling
At your fins
And even though the crowd
Loves a front runner
A veteran Fish
That hasn’t missed a Liffey Swim
In over forty years
The young sharks were hungry
And unsentimental
And the tide was with them.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018