Wednesday 24 April 2024

Hey Google-

It was something to do on a winter's day

a visit to the Wexford Slobs Wildfowl Reserve

in search of a Greenland White-fronted goose

or even a Snow Goose or an American Wigeon, if we struck it lucky-

But the detour hit us the minute we set forth-

Road blocked following an Incident-

and no diversion signs yet in place

and two opposing methods of navigation in the car-

Me, old-timer,  reading the actual map

 and you, early adopter, with your google assist, 

I would have managed fine, laggard as I am,

if it hadn't been for the unmapped, unsigned junctions-

And so you took over with yer one telling us

to take a left five hundred metres ahead,

how far is that when travelling at speed?

Or take a right on to such and such a road, wherever the heck that is...

We arrived eventually via private land-No Trepassing-

a track that almost dipped into the mudflats- 

and the lowest geographical point in Ireland apparently-

disturbing every nesting bird on the Slobs along the way

and on arrival we saw a couple of swans you'd see anywhere,

at least to the untrained eye, and, from the observation tower, 

flights of birds that could have been anything-

we took the pics anyway.

But when you asked hey Google afterwards

as I navigated the road back, old style,

she told you that those swans just might have been 

Icelandic Whoopers or Siberian Bewicks...

Hey , Thanks Google...

Copyright 2024 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 19 April 2024

Looking for Inspiration


Limbering up


It’s a cloudy morning in Mid-April

and after my diurnal walk around the park

to stretch my aging limbs

I return to my travel room, as I like to call it,

the one that has no actual function but performs several

and try to find a suitable subject for Calliope or even Erato.


Scanning the furniture, all of it second hand,

and therefore resonant with narratives

the cabriole legged table springs to the fore-

appropriate enough since a cabriole

is a scissors-like leap performed by a male dancer.


It was bought in the forties or fifties

somewhere along the Dublin quays by a friend’s parents

and sits now, centre leaf fully expanded,

holding up the internet and propelling me around the globe.


The sixties woollen blanket thrown across the couch

with its sombrero hatted figures, arms raised in what might be a Mexican wave

and legs gyrating to the rhythm of a series of musical notes

projects me into the upstairs room of a council house, circa 1967,

where I played Gene Pitney in vinyl and pitied the dilemma

of his spouse as he bailed out on her just 24 hours from Tulsa.



And apart from all this time travel there are the various prints on the walls

Parisian bouquinistes and Venetian canals, and postcards from friends

who actually did travel-You get the picture.

So you see the room may not be a suitable theme for po├ęsie

but it’s not called the travel room for nothing…

Copyright 2024 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

24 Hours from Tulsa

Wednesday 10 April 2024

The Patchwork


Each patch a slice of his life

a lens viewed at an acute angle

spliced,diced, drop-box explosion.

At first cut long and expansive

Aegean blue, teal, with just a hint of Arctic-

the steam train he drove all the way from Coalisland 

as it groaned and chuffed and hissed and lumbered

its cranks propelling the great wheels 

through the Milltown tunnel heading for Derry.

Her auburn hair cast  shades of cerulean over the next patch

and azure blue and powder blue and eggshell

recalling in glimpses the after taste of their first kiss

though the rail tracks stopped singing and his hands grew calloused

laying one brick on top of another like his father before him

and his grandfather before that

And then navy and shadow grey and one loss after another

and sage green when even she began to fade

Until finally a lattice of ochre on black

gaps and holes and footloose sleepers

where the tracks ended and he slipped over

the edge.

Copyright 2024 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 4 April 2024



While scrambling for paper to jot down the meaning, 

origins and possible applications of  the words aria and libretto

I came across a spiral bound notebook  containing evidence 

of several earlier jaunts into the unknown

Like a foray into weather terms in my native tongue-

geofar as in windy, cinealta as in mild-

a trip that was detoured by a fractured elbow

 and terminated by a bout of Covid

 And six months later an amble into the world of bird apps

and sound recordings of their matins, lauds and vespers 

that lasted five whole days and was aborted only by the fake detection 

of  a Eurasian curlew on our road-a highly unlikely location for a wader

And then an actual trip to Tuscany armed with a plant app this time

but finding only agrimony and hedge parsley and hartwort underfoot 

and in the air a few drafts of unfinished poems

never to be transcribed to posterity

And finally to my latest odyssey, a search for a quote  from Senator Windows

or any Windows for that matter, for a four pane sliding door 

which would bring the garden into the house or visa versa

with the proviso of... if I can afford this...

Which brings me back to that aria and  libretto

for an aria if you want to know is a self contained piece for one voice

and a libretto  the text of the opera-

information that might at least prove useful for a crossword...

Copyright 2024 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved