Friday 24 June 2022



The perennial source of inspiration for poetry has to be love. 

  • Lost love
  • Unrequited love
  • Requited love
  • Platonic love.....

I write best on a wave of either longing or loss

So here is one of my love poems published in Women’s Works Vol 8

Seasonal Love

It was the fire in you that held me
until I got my fingers burnt.

What else did I expect?

I expected love
Spring seeding
Summer glowing
Autumn gathering
Winter hoarding.

You liked spring

But when we last met
It was a winter’s day.

Copyright 2016 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 23 June 2022

Killer Instinct

This morning before breakfast it was all action here...Our one-eyed Kitty arriving in with some poor unfortunate in his gob. I think he was considering swallowing it rather than delivering it up, but was cajoled into releasing what turned out to be a tiny bird by the tap of a spoon on a tuna tin. 

This is probably bad parenting on my part and indicative of how I reared my two children, rewarding wayward behaviour, enabling is a popular term for it, but honestly I could think of no other way of getting that bird out from between his jaws...

Anyway here's a little rhyming poem about cats and all that jazz....

Despite his one impediment

he always hits his mark,

his focus ever hell bent

on hunting in the dark.

This time it was a baby bird

what breed I could not tell,

but to its doom the bird was lured

and it did not do well.

I'm only thankful for one thing

in this tragic little tale

that birdy could no longer sing

or to its brethren hail.

For I can think of nothing worse

than trying to revive

a creature that has felt cat's curse

and still be half alive.

The moral of this story is

if cats you must abide

then cast a blind eye to their strikes

and keep them on your side.

Wednesday 22 June 2022


A little reflection....

She is for sure a task mistress, 

and for her I set my alarm 

because she likes a ramble 

at some crepuscular hour.

But one round of the park navigated, 

and no stray intruders to report,

she comes to a halt at Ed's corner 

and insists on the homeward route.

After breakfast her task not completed, 

not happy with life until

I am sat behind my computer 

 a whole day's drill to fulfil....

Who'd be without a dog?!

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Looking Up

I don't do regret much but sometimes it catches up ...

Morning Walk


She likes to lag behind

sniffing the unsavoury

and then makes a dash to catch up

pretending she's still a young thing

though she missed that magpie

within tail-swipe distance.

I'm lagging myself these days

behind my younger self.

I see her up ahead outstripping

both of us- her head a saturated solution:

things she said and shouldn't have

things she should have and didn't.

No space for wonders like

starling murmurations

or meteoroids crashing,

Halley's comet could pass her by.

If she'd only looked up

things would probably 

have turned out 

much the same

but she might have seen

 a thing or two.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All right reserved.

Monday 20 June 2022

Doors as inspiration


I love the beautiful old doors you see on mainland Europe so I was drawn to Lisa Tivey's photography. Here is a poem prompted by one of her photographs of an old door in Italy covered with Graffiti and boarded up. It was first published in the Poets Meet Painters Anthology.

 I thought about the crosses that were once drawn on the doors of plague victims in Italy and the poem evolved from there. 

The plague was initialled believed to be a sign of god's wrath. 

Lisa Tivey

Using the above link you can easily pick out the door featured in the poem.

Plague Door



The plague is not fussy, just hungry.

And this door never did recover from its daubed

red cross, its pile of bodies, black ulcerated, buboes

the size of an apple. Punishment meted out

by heavenly bodies, atonement for our

inequities, the wrath of God against which

no appeal prevailed.


Centuries later it comes back.

No paint to daub on paint peeled door.

Just nails and planks of wood and

ghosts quarantined now, as they were

then, when no-one would trade or breathe

contaminated air or share their

misfortune. And then for bedevilment

some flippant boy, some modern day town watchman,

a pot of errant paint in hand, daubs willy-nilly,

stigma, that proclaims you dead.



 Inspired by Lisa Tivey’s Calabrian Steps

 Copyright 2018 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 19 June 2022

Iggy McGovern

Here are  a couple of links to give you more info on Iggy who is judging the POETRY competition I mentioned yesterday. He's from Coleraine and was a professor of Physics in Trinity College Dublin.

Saturday 18 June 2022

A Writing PROMPT

Find below details of a local poetry competition to enter, judged by Iggy Mc Govern.Fingal Poetry Festival

And a writing exercise.

Take a familiar object

Write down everything you associate with it

Colour, texture, smell, touch...

And Hey Presto- A Poem.


Here's my effort:


You are sandpaper to the touch

and smell of sissal


Your fibres cut like paper cuts

and leave bare feet scoured


You are pocked and cratered

from use and abuse


You witness comings and goings

and hesitations on thresholds


You could tell a story or two

if you had a mind to


You endure hot coals and cat claws

You are the one who puts up with


The one who endures...

You are a door-mat


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 17 June 2022

Balmy Days


Today despite, or perhaps because of, the cumulonimbus clouds

it's balmy out, coming from Spain apparently,

so I throw caution to the balm and step out in shorts,

as if I've just disembarked a Boeing 777 Malaga bound,

the balm releasing snapshots of Summers past

in single shot sequence, mostly Iberian

in mouth watering Castilian syllables

with a hint of coconut scented suntan lotion

factor zero (we liked to suffer

like the souls in Purgatory

for our sin-tans in those days)

but according to some social media spoiler

the balm is ephemeral so expect fresh wind,

(don't you just love that word)

and rain, for the rest of the weekend

maybe even for the rest of the Summer...

Copyright Cathy Leonard 2022 All rights reserved

Thursday 16 June 2022

Helen's Bar- Tuosist, Co Kerry


This is a painting of Helen's Bar after the Rain, Tuosist, County Kerry by Claire Bunbury. 

It's a great spot for fish and chips and a pint overlooking Kilmackillogue Harbour. Here's a little poem prompted by the painting...

Whitewash cool under fingertip

the taste of chalk on tongue

oscillating wave upon wave

squawk, grunt, wail of gull

and the sea air briny and warm-

Helen's Bar after the Rain.

Copyright Cathy Leonard 2022

Wednesday 15 June 2022



I'm sure I am not the only one to have t-towels hanging around for purposes other than use...

Well hopefully not...

Hands Off

You daren't use the t-towels in our house

at least not the ones within elbow reach of the dishes.

They're here to inspire:

A bistro table in Paris circa 1976,

The pages of Good Housekeeping 

and culinary aspirations,

Crystal wine glasses to be polished,

Dutch tiles to be displayed,

and Molly Somerville's botanical art...

Broken pottery shards, each one a story:

domestic carelessness or abuse,

the stern or aft of a boat foundering,

figures stranded,

insects dissected,

bird wings shorn,

memories truncated...

In her mind's eye 

she makes things whole again.

So hands off t-towels in our house.

You can use these ones!!

Copyright Cathy Leonard 2022

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Poetic Manoeuvres

 If you're writing a poem 

that 's going nowhere,

 bin it

and go make a cup of tea. 

So says Billy Collins,

and he's a poet laureate.

Billy calls them guests 

to be uninvited to the party. 

But standing in the kitchen doing just that, 

and on the look out 

for the winged muse or even baby mouse,

 in this case trying to scale the garden wall, 

it would be good if you didn't have to step

 over the dog to find a pen and paper,

if your empathy for your target 

didn't get the better of you

sending you out with trowel and brush 

to airlift the mouse to safety,

looking over your shoulder all the while 

for danger in the shape of your one-eyed Tom,

if all this effort didn't demand 

more tea and perhaps even toast,

if literary poems these days 

didn't read 

like cryptic crossword clues-

the type you never could decipher,

and if you could solve the last clue 

in yesterday's Simplex-

deceptive manoeuvres

second letter e, fourth letter n,

given that you've been engaging

 in exactly those to snatch a poem.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Monday 13 June 2022


 I always find artwork inspiring so here's a little poem inspired by Nicola Slattery's painting.

Let me tell you about my daughter.


Let me tell you about my daughter-

she has her head in the clouds

and dreams of fish that fly

and clouds that can bear the weight of her

and golden dresses strewn with leaves of filigree silver.


My daughter defies the laws of gravity-

she turns my life upside-down

and seeing things from her topside-up perspective,

I begin to wonder -

where have I been all my life?




Based on a painting by Nicola Slattery-

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved.

Sunday 12 June 2022

Empty Nest

The blackbird's yellow beak is rearranging
the contours of my back-lawn
scavenging for worms, gathering moss
preparing for Spring and a new cycle.

I do not yearn for nest-making
but long instead to shed
to stand- still 

and let- fall.

I have gathered too many twigs
and spider-webs and caterpillar-silks
I have lined my nest
with too many feathers.

Let the cuckoo do what he does best
and usurp my leaf-woven-haven
And let me, thus emptied, soar
wing-span sky-spread.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2018


Saturday 11 June 2022

Sherlock-Episode 8


After I jumped out of that Mini-Cooper I headed straight for the forest. I’d never seen anything like it, grasses and wildflowers so high I could skulk around in the undergrowth for hours without being spotted, but after a while the belly rumble got the better of me and I went in search of fodder.


Even with one eye I’m an ace fly catcher, so I swatted and batted my way through  the species for a couple of days, slugs and snails providing  a tasty alternative and very ooh là là. Stream water was much nicer than tap but my belly soon began to long for something that was not a pancrustacean hexapod invertebrate, aka insect or  a Mollusk aka snail. A rooster crowing drew me to a hen coop where a dozen or so hens clucked and strutted their stuff while the two roosters, big fellows with red crests, fought and crowed over their respective territories. It wasn’t long before I discovered a few abandoned eggs, my favourite fare.


 I'd always loved it when Mum took out the baking bowl and cracked an egg or two on the side of it , keeping aside a sup for me.... Mum… I did miss her. All her daft cooing and singing and endless worrying about lonesome little me, and I did miss swiping at Red’s long hair and standing on Longfellow’s tall, broad shoulders. I even missed Grump tipping me gingerly off his favourite chair in front of the tele, and for a tear jerk moment I was sentimentally distracted and didn’t notice the fox eyeing up a hen from the other side of the coop.


The brazen fellow was about to take the leap when I set up such a din that a wiry little woman came flying out of the nearby cottage waving a broomstick and flapping her pinny, chasing Mr Fox, at least for now, down the boreen.


“What a clever fellow you are, and only one eye!” she cackled. “Perhaps you’d like to join our little ménage?”


Now I was well versed in Grimm Fairytales and recognised that there was a fine line between a rustic matron and a witch but I decided to keep my options open and my eye alert and  so I  became the latest addition to a menagerie of twenty hens, two roosters, four donkeys, three dogs and four cats, including myself.


But I’d been an only cat and it’s hard to beat that. The attention. The treats. And those rooster crowings, despite the text book assertions that they usually occurred at dawn and dusk, punctuated my every escapade. So despite the decent grub, and with just a tad of regret, I took myself off in the direction of the nearby Boy Scout Camp, for with my one eye on an opt-out clause, I’d been doing reconnaissance missions in the area and had discovered the Summer training camp and realised that they had no mascot and no pets. So I was off again in search of Facebook fame and maybe even a Badger Badge.


Friday 10 June 2022

Poppies in June

I need to get a photo 

of that new giant red poppy

before the wind does a job on it, 

like it did to the team mate

subjected to jab, hook and cross 

and uppercut throws:

its mouth mangled

its petalled symmetry shred

its posture upended

tossed, beaten and mauled-

until it really did look, even to me,

like Plath's little bloody skirts.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 9 June 2022



It's that time of year for Arum lilies. And another sad poem I'm must be the rain...

Missing You


Your shoes still hold the shape of you.

I find them where you left them

to dry, perhaps, one behind the other

on the doorstep. Left foot forward,

slightly hen-toed. As if you are walking

a tight rope, which you were,

though we didn’t know it.

They look poised to step over


whatever obstacle is in your way.

They look practiced, ragged, war-torn.

Nike - you must have bought them in a sale,

as you’d never pay the price for brand-names.

They’re not your style, or colour, but surely your size?

though you’ve been known to buy bigger

at the right price. You even bought odd sizes once

in a bargain-basement. “Scrooge!” we called you.


But you were never stingy with your heart.

Emptying out your account for those who deserved

and those who aspired

and those who just happened to be there.


I will leave the shoes, just- so.

Primed and poised on some imminent adventure

Waiting for your say-so

Waiting for you

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved 

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Childhood Friends

Childhood friends to whom you were tied at the hip cast a long spell. Here is a little poem for one of those.

For you

She'd always say,"Me and her,"

chin up, shoulders back,

and the tale that followed

featured bold imagination

and great daring-hers not mine.

The last time I saw her

sitting in a wheelchair

at her own mother's funeral

she was regaling an audience

with a tale about homework-

mine, not hers, but copied by her.

"They gave me an F and her an A,"

she complained with a chuckle.

"Just goes to show," she added.

She'd had good innings, "No regrets,"

hers not her mother's-

she told me that day.

"But do you remember the time...?"

I didn't.

She never forgot.

She'd have made a great chronicler

if she hadn't been so busy

living her life....

In joyous memory of Ethna

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Tuesday 7 June 2022


 It's a great place to do it undercover

beneath the canopy of a beech tree

in full wing span- late Spring or early Summer.

Be sure to pick a rainy day,

or at least within an hour of post shower,

with the leaves still dripping on your shoulder-

And listen to the raindrops crackling through branches

like exploding stars 

or the shake of a thurible anointing.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Monday 6 June 2022



On the way out 

sometimes her shadow outstretches mine

across the playing fields, sun at our backs

and I wonder who will go first?

For we're both getting to that age

when such matters count-

my threescore years and ten 

and her seventy dog years, 

peers at last. 

And on the way back

following her lead or she following mine

I wonder how I've got to this age 

without knowing the difference 

between ground elder and hog weed

along with a lot of other herbaceous trivia?

Perhaps it's only the old and the very young

who have the time to wonder and ponder or both

and I'm not three score years and ten just yet...

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 5 June 2022

Billy Collins and Padraig O'Tuama


My daughter sent me a beautiful poem called The Facts of Life by Padraig O'Tuama which I thought about sharing on the blog. Then decided to reblog about my current favourite poet Billy Collins but low and behold when I went looking for Billy who turned up with him but Padraig!! Serendipity. So you can have both today...And a picture of a gorgeous poppy that has just wakened up in my garden after the night's rain....

Billy Collins in coversation with Padraig O Tuama

Saturday 4 June 2022

First Love


Am reposting this one from way back for the fun of it...

Inspired by Nessa O'Mahony's "First Love" and Keats' "La Belle Dame sans Merci."

My first love? Since you ask, was Maverick. 
Gambler and gunslinger.
His poker hand could set the Mississippi ablaze.
And his wrist-speed-to-holster was slick.
I sent him a pic of myself, aged nine, sitting on a rock at Portrush.

He didn’t write back...

My next love was hell bent on Holy Orders.
I attended his ordination.

Enough said...

Then there was the bow-legged Gilbert O’Sullivan look-a-like minus piano
Whose every stride I shadowed around the town.
My mother said I’d wear myself thin with unrequited lust.

I did...

Until a hairy-faced biker whisked me off on his Honda 50
And meteors struck and I saw shooting stars........
I came to on a cold hillside alone and palely loitering.

I was a slow learner...

Copyright 2018 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 3 June 2022

POETRY SUBMISSIONS and Beara again....


Friday is my day to trawl through likely poetry outlets so here is one below that I came across. Looks promising.

Tried to write a poem about the transformation of our woods after the rain but it's snagging... so maybe another day.....

Meanwhile sharing a few pics of Beara where I spent a few days as evidenced by my earlier poems this week. I'm more of a stroller than a hill walker so even though I bought the book I was a bit daunted by the Beara Way and those stiles that seem to point to sheer precipitous slopes and so I opted for the odd meander up a cow track  instead. 

Beara is less popular than the Ring Of Kerry which is just as well as the roads are serpentine: hairpin bends, tight corners, single carriageway in places, the most interesting places of course. 

The highlight of my rural sojourn was an evening with the Crafty women of Beara who meet up once a month for a knitting get together in the local community centre and I came away with a bag of alpaca wool. Mia keeps a herd, organises treks with the alpacas and also gives classes in machine knitting so more to follow up on there....


Wednesday 1 June 2022

Beara Socks

I am knitting these peacock socks for you

in the cradle of the Beara Reeks

weaving into them the rain off the Atlantic                  

and the scent of honeysuckle off the hedgerows

while I yarn about babies born elsewhere

and blankets destined to find them

and talk of a herd of alpacas

brought here for their fleece

their long necks straining for home

and hoping as I knit and purl this Beara blend

 to mend your broken heart

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved