Saturday 25 February 2023


 I was born old.

Early memories of trying to imagine infinity

which somehow led to a delineation my postal address

Somewhat like Stephen Dedalus

but in my case flying over  the dreary steeples*

of Fermanagh and Tyrone

upwards towards the Solar System

Orion's Arm and The Milky Way

bypassing comets, asteroids and other planets on route.

In my search for infinity I travelled

beyond postal codes ,non-existent then,

for any postman worth his salt would know

 where to find:

Stephen Dedalus, Dublin, Earth, Universe.

and like him, rather than grid fence my existence 

I imagined it extending upwards and outwards

and ever onwards...

And is there a point to this windy tale?

No, except to say 

that I must be ageing backwards

as my bent now is to confine myself 

to the here and now

for as long as possible

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sir Winston Churchill, February 16, 1922:

“The whole map of Europe has been changed … but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.”

Friday 24 February 2023

Student Fare- circa 1973

It was Ready Brek or a tin of Ambrosia Creamed Rice

Beans on toast or Campbell's Scotch Broth-

Daily fare for a student of the Nineteenth Century English Novel

I must have felt like Oliver, slopping that gruel down my throat,

 though not asking for more, all the while

berated by Joseph's finger pointing,

 "Sit ye down and think o' yer sowl!"*

spurred only by the prospect of a romp

on the moors with himself

or an invite to a Bath ball 

and the prospect of a Boulangere**

with a landed gent of considerable means.

And though I now eat my five a day

and supplement with Seven Seas

I'd go back anytime to that bowl of gruel

and my first encounter with Romance...

* Wuthering Heights

** The only dance actually mentioned in Jane Austen's novels. See video clip below

la boulangere

 ads 1970s

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 22 February 2023

What's in a sock?


I knit into these socks 

the sound of clock ticking

the black- red setter snoring

the one-eyed cat hissing

the fridge humming

the light fading

the wind rustling

a phone alert or two

something spitting 

on the stove

and outdoors 

someone hammering

dropped stitch expletives

the smell of woodsmoke drifting

and maybe the tang of  drizzle cake 

from finger lemon licking

It's an intimate thing

this knitting

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Tuesday 21 February 2023

A flash piece on the subject of Cookies

The Cookie Monster

 I consume facts.
The whiff of a new topic stimulates my salivary glands, sets me drooling over my keyboard. The first bite piques. My friend tells me her son is going to Cinque Terra. I correct her pronunciation. Chin-kwa ter-re I tell her, with a rolled r sound. She doesn’t know where that is. I do.  I am off. My hand reaches for cookies to supplement what I have already imbibed. I regurgitate what I know while my fingers lick and prod the keyboard in search of new facts. I download a map of the area, explain the coastal configuration that throws up kilometres of beach south of his destination. Give a vivid depiction of sardine packed beaches in high season. Talk of remote authenticity, timeless appeal, hilltop sanctuaries, peeling buildings, pastel glow. I warn of twisting cliff-edge roads and deep pocket parking fees. Recommend the Blue trail of low level difficulty requiring high stamina. Add a wiki-potted history of Genoa and Naples and warn against taking Italian public transport in July given the prevalence of industrial strike action at that time. Tell her about pizza Blanca, a local speciality and recommend Sciacchetrà, the regional wine. Find and compare great deals on Trivago. Recommend walking tours with wine tasting. Do I accept cookies? Yes. Yes. Yes. She is sated with my store of information and somewhat overloaded. I do not care.
Who wants to know all that? She has work to do, emails to send, dog to walk, cake to bake and, in desperation, the loo to get to. I follow her to the bathroom door still spouting. I am regurgitating everything I know about Hugh O’Flaherty, the Scarlet Pimpernel. Who? she asks. Why him? The Italian connection? Does it matter?
All that matters is facts, facts, facts.

Monday 20 February 2023


 In deep waters here. This poem may sound a little harsh but it is one that you will all identify with and one in which you have probably been at both ends of the exchange.

The jury is out on whether it is a poem or a rant....

Forgive me...

(Not dedicated to anyone in particular but if the cap fits...)


Forgive me 

If I say nothing when you call me

With your twitter tweets 

Not confined

To 280 characters or less


That I hold the phone at arm’s length to your:

I told you so

I was right about that

Correct me if I’m mistaken

It just goes to show


For my silence :

On the dog park, the state of the nation,  

The Derry Girls, the weather, Elon Musk

Taking over Twitter, the importance of free speech

And how it should be monitored


And my deafness to:

Somebody needs to

The government is to blame

I can’t understand it

Nobody ever thinks to…


Forgive me 

If I say nothing.

It’s just that

You never listen to me 


Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 15 February 2023

An Attempt at Rhyme

 I hanker after a Road not Taken

Not Robert Frost's path in undergrowth forsaken

Though not far off and wanting wear

An uphill path, stony and bare: 

According to an Oxford Definition

A person given to living in seclusion

Especially as a religious discipline

Describes the path I could have taken

I like the sound of given to

As in prone,inclined, the habit of few

Though not in my case a discipline-

But the cat is scratching the pane to get in

And the dog is stalking the door to get out

And the arrival of a certain person is about

To be, as Frost says, with famous ambivalence

 The thing that will make all the difference

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard Al rights reserved

Monday 13 February 2023

On Aging

I list like a ship on my daily perambulation of the park

to port or starboard, sometimes even trimming fore or aft,

and wonder what it is that tilts a ship so...

heavy cargo, ailing sails, groaning bark?

All I know is that by the time I reach the post 

recently erected by Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown Co Council

that illustrates the different types of bugs that troll our park-

the Spittlebug, the Greenshield bug, the Hairy shield bug-

I will be mast upright again, having reached the righting moment

evaded capsize or sink but still sailing into the sunset...

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved