Saturday 30 July 2022

Cow Parsley


Oh, you feather headed wild flower

with distinctive inflorescence

pink-tinged white clusters and fern-like leaves

a waving guard of honour along the park trails

I promise that after we turn for home,

the dog and I,

and follow the woodsy path

between ancient beech 

and newly planted oak

and pass the building site

where hoisting and hammering

have already begun

and greet the postwoman

parked at the street corner

in her silent new electric van

and maybe even retrieve some post

and after I have hung up the key

unleashed the dog and 

given her a treat,

a dental chew for her teeth,

and before I turn on the kettle 

for boiled water for a pot of tea,

I'm thinking Bewley's Assam Loose today,

I promise I'll look you up

in my Illustrated Irish Wildflower book

and find out your name.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 29 July 2022

Inside Out

 I start my day by reading a poem or two.

That's not quite true. Action retake.

I start my day with a cup of tea

then a walk with the dog

then another cup of tea

and maybe a slice of toast or two

and then I read a poem

letting it in

out of my head

into my skin

then upwards 

and outwards 

and into the universe

where petals are opening

to winged pollinator

and over the sound

of clock tick, 

and fridge hum 

the slam of same wing

into glass pane

not hard wired 

like light

or a poem 

to transmit itself 

outside in

and inside out.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 28 July 2022

Not so sweet


You gave me this particular variety

of sweet pea, lathyrus latifolius,

the everlasting, as in perennial, pea

which I planted beside the patio door

hoping for confetti showers 

of rose pink petal

the scent of everlasting summer

and the sight of red admirals 

and painted ladies sipping 

from its pealike clusters.

But the darn thing is a climbing vine

sweeping its floral heads

a foot or two above mine

reaching Jack's giant on the rooftop

while I am grounded here on terra firma

these winged stems and tendrils 

nothing like Jack's beanstalk

and smelling not even of pea.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 27 July 2022



On my way back from the park

I notice the new billboard projection 

of our futuristic neighbourhood

on the building site nearby.

Our new neighbours, all women

in eternal summer mode

tanned à laVita Liberata Body Blur Latte perhaps,

sporting sleeveless tops

and shorts or short skirts,

the type of gear you'd get away with 

for a week or so here 

in our ephemeral Irish summer

if you're lucky,

and all wearing shades, or sun glasses

as we'd call them,

and most of them carrying hand bags

even the ones peering from glass fronted balconies

as if they have just arrived

or are about to depart

in permanent transit

in permanent summer.

But there's one shaded damsel 

who particularly alarms me.

You see, if my projections are right,

she is staring straight into my kitchen 

where she can observe me, in the morning,

 slicing Tesco seeded loaf for the toaster

with kitty at my feet clawing at the fridge 

for another sup of milk

and the steaming kettle behind me

blow torching a whole continent 

on the wall, paint peel lakes, rivers, 

contours and coastline

and the morning sun casting a translucent glow

 on the foreheads of my family pics

transforming each and every one of them 

into haloed saints 

and from her penthouse eerie

she can even see my framed postcards

featuring places I've never been to 

like Lucca, the Atacama Desert and San Diego

and underneath the postcards Van Gogh's haystacks,

Wheatfield With Rising Sun to be precise, 

swirling and dancing in the gaps between

( I prefer vicarious travel via postcard)

and unless she has her eyes closed behind those shades

she can see me, forehead frowning, eyes unshaded,

 staring back at her, asking, 

"Why the **** did you pay 

over half a million for this spectacle

when you could have had a sea view

on the other side of the apartment block?"

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved.

Tuesday 26 July 2022

In search of love nuances


I've been dragging the net all morning

to catch the language that can express 

love in all its biodiversity.

In Boro the word to love 

flows wide upon the tongue

Onguboy- to love from the heart

Onsay- to pretend to love

Onsra- to love for the last time

to name but a few varieties.

But it's Boro that now whitens on the foreshore

with the thirty one words in Irish for seaweed*

and googling Onguboy you will be directed 

to OnBuy-UK Online

while Onsay throws up unsay or onset

and it's the monolithic love in English that survives

So what does that tell us about love in modern times?

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

* See Aidan Matthews poem

Monday 25 July 2022

Fox gloves


On the West Coast of Ireland looking at the ocean

I like to place a foxglove in the frame

standing just where I would if I were a lus mór

big flower, scanning the sea for viking longboats

or sightings of Granuaile attacking the English crown

or later sailing ships making their way to Ellis 

spitting out corpses on arrival at that shore

or steamers set for the Americas, some not making it,

and later still yachts and pleasure cruisers

following pods of dolphins, and always fishermen

in all weathers with their nets and lobster pots

and every dusk and dawn the sun spreading its palette

from blush to rose to indigo to fade

and clouds gathering and then breaking

and waves lashing and then receding

standing just where I would 

if I were a fox glove,lus mór,fairy thimble

watching time go by.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard

Friday 22 July 2022

Who you gonna call?


The scraping that sounded like you

chewing nuggets from the dog bowl,

you have form in this practice,

later diagnosed as a scratching

behind the cistern.

Google search to state of alarmum

and image of giant rat

in the toilet bowl

big enough to lift the lid

and pad about the bathroom

in search of food.

Who you gonna call?

not available for two days...

Luckily the gouging ceased or deceased

but flooding near the stop cock

and image of same Mr Rat 

padding along our water supply line

gnawing with his needle teeth

through three layers of galvanized steel

and/or polyvinyl chloride aka PVC

prompted  the question

Why do we keep a cat anyway?

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 21 July 2022

Google Search Recall


I recall someone admitting

that all she remembered 

after reading Ulysses

was the bar of lemon soap

that Leopold bought in Sweny's.

I think we even made a pilgrimage

to the corner apothecary on Lincoln Place

where Joycean memorabilia

is on exhibit and on sale

and bought said soap and a pair of vintage gloves

that probably never donned the hands

of either Molly Bloom or Nora Barnacle.

But all of this is by the way

to confess

that after pursuing an engine search on Munich

prior to a visit there

 all I remembered was the brown bear of Freising

where my cursor stalled by happy chance

after visiting MarienPlatz Munich City Centre

waylaid, like Saint Corbinian himself

while crossing the Alps on his way to Rome

to visit the Pope,

by the same brown bear

which has now reproduced 

and replicated itself all over

the medieval town

in the guise of butcher

baker, candlestick maker et al

reaching even into a google search on Munich

emboldened by its celebrity status 

to command a google congregation 

obliterating all  lore and lowdown on Munich

and bid answer to the question:

What's with all the bears?

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Bear Statues of Freisling

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Brain Groove


Ever since I heard it

at the freezer counter in the supermarket

the song has been revolving 

around my head.

I made the mistake of entertaining it

for a minute or two

trying to recall the year

the love interest in my life at the time

the unrequited lust that ensued

the aptness of the song title to my condition.

But I didn't intend it to take root in my brain

and belt out its melancholy for the rest of the day,

a needle embedded in a vinyl gyre

the dog circumnavigating her hidden bone

the cat chasing its tail

the whirling microwave plate with a glitch.

I introduced other lyrics to supplant it

equally vintage but more upbeat

but even my evening diptera watch

winged creatures skimming over lavender

like hovercrafts in some futuristic setting

like Blade Runner

was sound tracked by yer man 

in the cap and braces

singing Alone Again Naturally.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Monday 18 July 2022

The other F word


Sitting in a swivel chair

looking every bit the writer

pocket notebook out

scribbling with intent

about neon blue pillars

and neon orange cubicles

and the neon lacquered nails

of one of the employees

who pads across the lobby 

like the rest of the staff 

suitless,tieless and generally unavailable

My toes dancing to the piped hip hop-

Wanna Talk Finance-

because they could in a swivel chair-

and overlooking the one kiosk in operation

a poster of yer man, 

who knows fifty ways to kill the Mammy

suggesting a chat 

to discuss my financial well being

When did banks get to swivel like this?

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 17 July 2022

Blog Followers


A stranger by chance looking for a recipe

or a knitting pattern or both?

A friend of a friend of a friend

instructed to follow?

A family member looking for, or dreading,

a mention of themselves?

A google search that has misread the input?

A browse gone beyond the brief?

You, trigger happy

waiting for a friend, a date, a meeting,

in transit,long haul, short haul, or stop-over?

Compulsive clicker,  internet-interloper?

And me checking my daily stats

wondering where in the world you are, 

analysing the turquoise shades

on the blog-spot globe

the views, the absolute numbers,

the top referring URLS,

asking myself

why Wyoming- one hundred hits?

Who do I know there?

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 15 July 2022

Never lend a book with an inscription

 "Here's to Rilke, Kate, hot whiskey and O'Donovan's"

It may have been Siddhartha or The Road Less Travelled

something esoteric anyway

and Kate gave it to you on or after an esoteric night out

and you gave it to me years later

you probably forgot Kate's inscription

but I couldn't get past it

and revolved around the intense constellation

of you , Kate and Rilke

and even though it was before my time

that O'Donovan rendezvous

sharing her heart-speak like that

showed a certain carelessness

that I knew I could be doing without.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 14 July 2022

Status Alert


It was circa 1988

"Are you Miss, Mrs or Ms?"

demands man-uniform

in Manchester departure lounge.

I play baffled.

"On your boarding form, Madam."

It was 1988.

Would my marital status


Threaten airport security?

Create high risk environment?

Prevent airplane take-off?

Influence luggage capacity?

I ask him.

You have three choices.

He bowls them out.

Miss, Mrs or Ms?

"Did you ask male passengers

the same question?"

Batting a defensive shot

"Three choices...etc..etc..etc" 

He is a steady pitcher.

I bat it to the men-suits 

in the departure lounge

playing a flick shot

causing a ripper.

So he counters

with a right arm leg spin bowler

"Is she your wife?"

My companion

dropping the bat

gives robotic response-


It was almost a marriage breaker

This was 1988.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Why are we still asked that question ???

Why were we ever asked that question???

Wednesday 13 July 2022

A snick-cricket term-to deflect ball with bat-


Not all relationships are like this...but some are...

Military Manoeuvres

Dawn reconnaissance 

heading in  different directions.

Regroup at noon for a brief debrief.

Skirmishes in between

while marshalling the day.

Long screeds of grievances 

served with evening rations.

The odd snick with a bat

performed discreetly

hoping to get away with it...

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Pram Jam

Today by chance

I read about the Pram Jam singers

for mums and minders

no experience required

to jam, not about nappies

or nappy pins

or state of the Health Service

or children's allowance

or back to school allowance

or inflation

or early budgets-

that will still come too late 

for back to school.

A tenner a pram.

And today also by chance

on our daily dog walk

the brigade saw a woman 

pushing a buggy,

not a pram,

(who pushes a Silvercross

anyway anymore?)

And in the buggy

wrapped in pink woollies

not a baby

but a dog.

It's the latest trend, 

someone said

In Spain that is-

where someone saw three

in a buggy

in a bodega

greeted by the patron

like regular clientele.

The brigade were aghast

even though

it has to be said

we have our dog treats,

dog toys, blankets,coats,

beds, seat belts, and lately-

puppy cappuccinos.

And besides

that dog would be a howl

at the Pram Jam.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Monday 11 July 2022

The Unit

 I might write a poem today

about how I just consumed a chocolate croissant

two thousand calories at least.

Or my exhaustion 

that could be post-covid

if I had caught covid.

Or the mental institution I used to visit

when my friend decided 

she needed electric shock treatment.

And the patient there who invited me to her wedding,

adding, "The queen's coming too," 

a gash of lipstick where her mouth should be.

And the patient tied to her wheelchair

for tearing up paper and throwing it at staff.

"You'd as soon tie down the wind as her," my friend's view on it.

And my friend telling me as she gazed through the window

that she could see chickens all walking in a line

or playing hopscotch or walking on each other's shoulders.

"I didn't know they had shoulders," her comment on it.

And the bag packed beside her bed ready for discharge.

"They're letting me out. It was the last treatment that did it."

"And what about the chickens?"

"What chickens?"

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 10 July 2022

Sunday poet-Rita Ann Higgins

I met Rita Ann at the Sceine poetry festival in Kenmare a few years ago. She is a delight to listen to in performance. Am reading her book Tongulish, which probably refers to the language she uses. 

The language of sweet talk, babble and blather,quibble and quizzical, according to the blurb.

 She's feisty and irreverent. Fintan O'Toole says of her "Higgins could be regarded, in one of her guises, as Ireland's first rapper...

Follow link above to get a flavour of her achievements and style

Saturday 9 July 2022

Trouble shooting

 I don't know what the malfunction is 

but every time I disconnect my lap top

I have to reset clock and calendar.

Software, hardware,malware issue?

Motherboard, driver, disk fail?

I hold the cursor, old style,on 2009

and project myself into the present

watching my errors flash by

stopping from time to time 

to uninstall,reinstall, 

log off and on again,

reboot myself into a Windows 10 version,

note when I overheated or fragmented,

consumed too much band width

or didn't have enough RAM

and reconfigure myself towards the now

sometimes even leapfrogging into the future.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 8 July 2022



Birds are often depicted as harbingers but also they can be welcomed as spiritual messengers....


When two pigeons land

in my back yard

they snap flash,

decades faded,

my mother's face

hand-over- mouth

to contain her laughter

that otherwise might fly

straight at my father

two feet away

toppling his camera

erasing the shot.

They always said

they'd come back

as pigeons.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved.

Thursday 7 July 2022

Woolworth Days


According to Billy Collins, Poet Laureate, poets are all pillagers and magpies so here's a little poem inspired by reading Vona Groarke's Against Loss

I'm always startled by the shift in time a scent can cause......a split second of memory breaking through.

With the scent of coconut shower gel

the cheap brand

probably from Woolworths

comes you in your young day

one snapshot only.

Kate Bush curls and hippy flounces

cheesecloth dirndl scattering

sandalwood in its wake

your head full of Heathcliff.

Are you still there young girl?

Are you still there?

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 6 July 2022

The Irish Summer

Just back from a week in beautiful Kerry. Still waiting for summer to kick in.....

The wind 

has found a tooth gap 

in our defences


the ocean 


gulls glide



and then dive

an ephemeral

beacon of sunlight


the shoreline 


and then 


storm clouds 



batten down the hatch 


a cup of tea

It will be a week 

for scrabble.

Copyright 2022 cathy Leonard All rights reserved