Sunday 30 October 2022

The Txapela

Today I awake to sunlight
filtering through an attic window
from a Basque sky
and don a summer dress
though it is late Autumn
and cross a cobbled street
to a cafe bar
where I order black tea
and cross  my fingers
that it will not be Earl Grey
and will come with milk aparte 
and hopefully cold
and that the mermelada will
be derived from oranges
and that the man wearing 
the black beret
its rim pulled forward
finger thinned to a peak
a txapela in Basque
pronounced chapela
will grace this terrace
with gravitas
to sip his cafe solo
and to remind me 
of the sanctity
of old ways
and send me scuttling
to retrieve my few
focal as Gaelic
before those "thirty-one 
words for seaweed
whiten on the foreshore"

Copyright 2022 Cathy leonard All rights reserved
See Aidan Mathews poem The Death Of Irish

Thursday 20 October 2022



Sometimes a poem just arrives

A path of light strung across a room

by the low lying sun

leaves stirring its verges,

you beyond punching holes in  paper

slamming filing cabinet drawers,

me motionless listening

to a gale shuddering

the front door,

spinning the candy floss

summer striped 

pot plant windmill,

upending the dog bowl

the patio chairs,

sending alarm bells ringing

cat skidding

back indoors,

declaring the advent

of Autumn

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Why not the real deal?

 As I ricochet off the antique white

walls of this room 

noting yesterday's crossword puzzle

completed with the help of google search

Schmalz-excessive sentimentality

and surely a German word anyway

my eye falls upon the open-

mouthed white ceramic bird

forever caught in full throated ease,

as Keats would have it,

bought in a charity shop 

to set on a mantel

while outside my window

the real deal warble

their matins and vespers 

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 13 October 2022

Freeze Thought


I almost missed the sky this morning

clouds the palette of salmon skin

or the inside of a tongue

the moon receding on the wane

my head in yesterday

and what I should have said

and could have done

and didn't

'til thankfully the dog barked

her snout pointing skyward

dispelling thought

freezing the shutter

panning the eye


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Sweet Sixteen


A blue cardboard Vanguard 

its paper-thin veneer already 

peeling, expanded accordion style

to hold her summer au-pair wardrobe.

At Charles de Gaulle she's wearing

a cherry-red two piece/frock/jacket affair 

from Alexander's drapery shop at the bottom of The Square.

You'd spot her coming a mile off.

But French teens don't wear suits

she finds. It's all ponchos 

and bell bottoms 

and nonchalance.

The cherry is boxed in accordeon blue

and she acquires the local intonation

even the neckerchief 

tied a la Bardot

but doesn't quite manage

the Gallic shrug, the insouciance,

the Je ne sais quoi...


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 9 October 2022

Making Waves and Cocktails

 Out shopping I came across a giant, well 200gm , ball of HayField Rich Colour chunky in a bargain basket. Couldn't resist that.

But the pattern I wanted to try..the Wave Scarf...involves making holes, as well as waves.
Here it is in process. I don't know how long this scarf will take to make.
The pattern says, knit 3 balls-That's 150gm long! Seems like a lot to me.
And I  have a learnt distaste for dropping stitches and making holes deliberately.....
Need to get less uptight maybe...
For pattern details see pic below.

Meanwhile here's a poem about another type of frustration
It helps to know your cocktail terms for this one....

Happy Hour

You preferred a Rusty Nail to a Screwdriver in a Saint Louis Highball Glass
But your special favourite was a Corkscrew in a Double Old- Fashioned.

Shake well and strain into pre-chilled Double, then add a slice of lime.
When you left I didn’t need ice to chill it.

And every Friday night I mix, shake and stir
A jigger of frogs’ legs, thorns of birr

A pony of beetle-juice, dragon-scale light,
A twist of spittle and a dash of spite

Top with a Catherine wheel,
Add a wedge of venom peel

And there you have it
A Screw-U  

Inspired by a painting by Ian Humphreys for the Poets Meet Painters Competition.
There is currently an exhibition of Ian's work in the Buttermarket Kenmare

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Poetry and meditation

I came across an interesting essay on the relationship between meditation and poetry. See below

Someone once gave me a bag of runes and I used them as a meditation tool. Each rune came with a description or a piece of advice and from this I wrote a poem on each. Here are a few. For details about the origins of runes follow the link below.

Blank Odin


Strung up by his heels Odin hung

for nine nights from Yggdrasil

self-drained from Self until he saw

the word reflected in the water.


Now is the time to leave behind

to pass through

to come to

a new beginning

that is also an end

to what you already know.




Repair your saddle

and tie up the horse.

There'll be no ride today.

For the horse is lame

And there's mist on the moor

And no knowing where you're going.


It's time to muck out and clean tack

the bridle,bit and saddle

And think about why

the horse is lame

and you are held back

EHWAZ- Protection


You feel all and think nothing

You can't act now

For the mirror is blurred

And you're breathing too fast

And your head's in a spin.


It's time to lie low

It's time to listen

For the warning rustle of sedge grass

Or become like elk with curved horn -

For both keep open the space around you.


Wunjo- Joy


You have shifted on your own axis

and aligned yourself with yourself.

The deluge that was damned up

can now flow

Generous in the knowledge of its own stillness.

Blow out the candles

and cut the cake.

The time is now

and you are ready.




Draw from the well and drink now

For the desert is far and the journey long

And you are on the brink

of a new beginning.


Unlikely sources point the way

Shakespeare's fools, idiots, madmen

who jabber and jest

Signs for you to unscramble.


But be careful

or you will miss the moment

Dismiss it as irrelevent.

When all the time

It is timely and sacred.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Monday 3 October 2022

Round Up-Old School


The scrape of metal on stone

The wrist swivelling, considering composition 

and shadowing, lowering the field,

poised to deliver the right thrust.

I could be a Florentine Renaissance sculptor

engaged in bas-relief.

But I'm just me on the driveway

on my knees, weeding out incipient growth

with a steak knife.

And instead of using cornmeal

or vinegar, or scalding water,

I persist with this seasonal ritual-

prostrate, dust to dust,

in deference to, begging for 

a clean slate...

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 2 October 2022

Poems on 9/11


I came across Andrea Carter Brown's poetry through the site and her poem On reading Allen Ginsberg's Homework. Angela lived near the Twin Towers on September 11th and writes of the aftermath.