Sunday 29 October 2023


Despite our cultural obsession with it

I'm not sure if we're really hard wired to live in the moment


I stand in the shower smelling, with mindfulness, 

the olive oil soap from Turkey, a present from

the trip I didn't do, my wrist being in a cast at the time

 wrapped in a plastic bag in this very shower-

And I mindfully recall later performing, in the very same spot, 

active and passive flexion, adduction, 

abduction and finger tendon glides 

in an attempt to straighten fingers bent claw- wise by the fall-

And still in the present moment my eye shifts 

to the Curl Manifesto on the shower  tray

 a gentle hydrating,moisture replenishing system

 which doesn't work any better than the high street brands-

And the  bottle of Sparkling Shower Spray Wipe

placed strategically in the shower tray

to encourage the cleaning of shower after use, 

which doesn't seem to work either-

Much like the task of me 

staying present

in the moment 

while having a shower-

And from my reading of modal mental imagery,

a concept I delved into last week 

to account for my dog's panicked flight 

every time she sees  a kid on a bike-

Well, I'm not really surprised...

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 25 October 2023



At 8 a.m. in the park I’m wishful thinking

that I were an artist who could paint that sky

with a palette of exotic sounding colours

prussian blue, ochre, cerulean blue hue...

and I’m wondering what that scent is

that clings in the air after the rain...

and I’m wishing that I had downloaded

that plant identification app...

and I’m trying to remember what it’s called

that ephemeral low lying mist

that seems to disappear like a mirage

as you approach it

something to do with radiation or advection

Google would know...

and I’m marvelling at how little I know

And so, I almost miss it-

the kid on the bike-

that jolts a memory in my black red setter’s head

triggers her multi modal mental imagery

namely negative associations with a phobic event

that sets her in tailspin flight

and I’m just in time to coax her out of panic mode

with a command of, “This way!”

that offers just enough counter conditioning...

which is lucky for me

 as I’ve forgotten to bring the treats

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Saturday 21 October 2023

The Call of the Wild


You have to go all the way out

if you want to feel it,

past the neat hedgerows,

the lively fuchsia and montbretia, 

past meadow sweet and purple loose strife,

the robin and blackbird tweets,

even past the higher pitched

chattering of the stonechat.


The vintage caravan park and the Shiphouse

mark the threshold, from hereon

it’s all gorse and heather and bare rock

and in the air the whistle of sandpiper,

and the sea crow swooping and soaring

and the Atlantic Wild reaching in,

fanning out, taking you with it.


Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved


Thursday 19 October 2023

The Butter Road


I'd say the road hasn't changed much two centuries on, 

still moss-stoned underfoot, the ponies hooves must have sank 

in the ruts as we do now, booted and sandal shod as we are; I did warn

about the terrain but he's fond of the pilgrim way, though this

is no spiritual path, for here men slogged it out a week long  

from Mizen head to Skibbereen to the Cork Butter Exchange, 

 two firkins of salted butter, fifty-six pounds apiece, hay-roped 

on the ponies' backs, bound for Spain and the West Indies and beyond 

while we jostle a day trip backpack between us; water, chocolate, snacks, 

stop to frame straggling fuchsia, russeting fern, a cottage ivy and bramble 

bound, and the nearby so-called "idle bridge," a famine relief work folly,

 leading nowhere, shouldering failed hopes and bones, 

and listen to the same birds, the long tailed tit flitting from limb 

to limb, the rook setting up an almighty din as we, in passing, disturb 

those best left to rest in peace.

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Making the bed on Lamb's Head, Co Kerry


Lamb’s Head


I lay open these sheets to the red billed 

chough and the misnamed oyster catcher 

who never eats oysters

and the greenshank from 

far off climes

and the scent of heather embedded 

whin and the lap and roar of the sea 

off Deenish Isle

and the mist that lifts 

and descends all day long

its shutter opening and closing 

over the Skelligs

and the sun as intermittent as 

the mist and the waves

warming these stones marked 

by sheep’s foot and horse hoof 

and hare foot tread.

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Burial Practices

 I always mark the graves now

with a stone maybe,

not that I'm sentimental or religious

or afraid of digging them up 

when I plant Spring bulbs,

it's just that he's less likely

to remove a stone from the sepulchre,

as it were, and ferry away the body,

prompting theories of resurrection,

and more likely to leave the dead wren,

or fledgling whatever, just where it is

to rest in peace.

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Saturday 14 October 2023

The Missing TV Remote Control


We now know who was responsible 

for misplacing the TV remote control, 

the one we upturned carpets and couches for,

the one that prompted a complete makeover of the sitting room,

and then required a Spring clean of the whole house in September.

Various suspects were detained and questioned

but finally released without charge, evidence not being full proof,

flimsy in fact, like... he was the last one to use it... as far as we know,

or she has form in pocketing the remote control

on her way to the kettle, the door, on one occasion the theatre.

So after all the accusations and speculations a new one was ordered.

It arrived free gratis within twenty four hours from Sky, 

we should have done that sooner.

It was a couple of weeks before the original turned up-

in the garden, if you don't mind, more specifically

in the flowerbed beneath the sitting room window-

And then we knew who the culprit was-

a deft flick of paw through window 

left ajar would have done it 

not that he gives a damn...

Thursday 5 October 2023



Where would I rather be but here

in this room with its coconut twist painted walls

after an early morning ramble through woods 

still resonant with nocturnal shufflings,

the dog now dreaming at my feet. 

And nowhere else to be, no new alerts or notifications on my phone.

The street outside still empty of its diurnal rumblings

and on the wall two Ugo Baracco prints of Venetian canals

drawing me into portentous waters

and on the gable wall of the filing cabinet

posters of the bouquinistes on the banks of the Seine

laying out their wares

a panoply of stories and a silence in my head 

charged with the sound of stars ringing 

That transition time when tales run amok  

trailing me, pen in hand in their wake,

cupping with the other hand Barry's tea 

in a Back to Front cow mug....

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Weekly 5 word Poetry Challenge

The O'Bheal challenge is to make a poem out of a five word challenge. This week 3rd-10th October the words are:






This is a weekly challenge with 5 new words presented every week.

See link above for details

and Good Luck

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Lament for the Open Fire


We hear a lot today, and rightly so, about the dangers of the open fire. But it set me thinking about the benefits and the memories and the role of the open fire in our lives. Watching flames lowers our blood pressure and allows more oxygen to flow. But there are,of course, those particles that infiltrate the lungs..

So here's a rhymed poem, a sort of lament for the loss of the open fire....

When the hearth is gone where shall we gather

To sing a song, tell tales together?

Watch the embers rise and fall, 

Hear fire's stories short and tall.

Tales of caverns deep within

Tales of ships all set and trim

Rigged to voyage where only we can

Through imagery of fire and fan.

Recalling days of measling shins

From drying out socks and shoes and limbs

Steaming 'til our clothes are dry

A Turkish bath best not to try...

Or toasting bread over open flame

On a fine toothed fork fit for the game

Of holding firm 'til the job is done

Then butter and jam and finger licking fun.

Or sending those letters up to Santa's birds

Gathered on the chimney pot primed for the word

Winging them off to the far away Pole

Where the man himself is waiting to be told.

Or listening through the chimney, while snug inside,

To the howling and the whistling of the wind outside.

Or watching the embers dance as they rise

And pirouette and fall until their demise.

Or the burning of love in a fiery grate

When the love's stopped singing at any rate.

When the hearth is gone where is the flame

To ignite our songs and inspire our tales?

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Monday 2 October 2023

Letting You in

Reading a poem often inspires me to write a poem and reading one today about how one poet tries not to think about a past lost love I was struck by the fact that I do exactly the opposite.....

Sometimes in sepia I let you in

a young man in a photograph

raising his hand as if to throw a stone-

it wouldn't have been a stone-

but half a century later

it could have been anything.

Sometimes I let in the moment

our eyes met and time faltered-

a lens refracting light

bending it to focus

catching us mid frame

releasing us on emergence.

Sometimes it's your voice I let in

on the other end of the line

giving me a line -something

about football practice or matches-

creating a gravity so strong

I can't evade it.

And sometimes- the last time-

 we are sitting across a formica topped table

your eyes panning beyond me

into the past or into the future

and me not asking why

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved