The Hollow Crown


Inspired by the above photo of Farrington Gardens, Ardoyne, Belfast, August 1971.

Thank you @wackyj67 (Irish Unionist) for the image!


Either we live in peace, or we have no life worth living.

(Terence O’Neill)


The Hollow Crown

Stillness, unfurled under an ivory horn of moon,

Upon copper-lit streets, curling tides of mist foamed,

Washed over midnight’s silken shores, August hewn,

Yet, soft as the dreamer’s dying breath, bitter waters bloomed

Flowers of wormwood, that set their wounded roots to roam


Deep within flesh’s fertile soils, gazing lazily into hearths, into hearts;

Mirrors of dead-eyes reflecting hatred’s hurried chants.

Flung aside whatever world they’d called the past, and neatly set apart

Luther’s god from that of Leo, blinded Christ with fingers wrapped

In petrol rag; neighbour, no longer idled, maybe stopped,


To greet their like, for every heart, every head, street or corner,

Became a border, coaxing kings to pull free swords of discord and disorder,

From brick and stone: a royal army arching skywards, glass wept

From staring windows, jewelling asphalt gowns, as sceptres,

Flame-gilded, flickered, held in furnace-birthed hands, gold-dusted knuckles,

That crept with clutching, clawing, malice, toward each door, unlocked,


By feudal boot, or hammer’s clout, where mouths of jawbox sinks

Are choked by teeth of porcelain, and a sorrowful prose of clocks

continue their unceasing orbits of each hour, as goblets clink

With scorching mead, shattering shards like silver rocks

At the rampant rising feet of thrones reaching distant clouds

Red with rains of severed wrist, or stars set in a shining plough,


Below lie hollow homes; tombstones, hung with memories which haunt

These charcoal rows, once someone’s little palace, where they proudly

Stood before and caught their kith and kin in sepia, or fading colour meant

To gaze from walls now gone, walls adorned now with battle-cries, writ loudly,

In inks of green and red; each kingdoms’ awe of princes masked, of their kings’ brutal reign, ruthless renown:

Kings sat upon thrones of graves, proudly wearing their crimes: their hollow crowns.


A collection of my poetry is available below. Thank you for reading. Any feedback appreciated.








No Seat at Brownie’s Table


Freedom’s Pyre

In my hand I clasp Your breath:

Your last,

All I have, as fury clouded past

Our wounded rest,

On Armalite arms,

Wedding us in writhing agony,

Veiled fire:

A gift from murderers

Who never tire

Of using Pearce’s

Legacy to sire

Evil, fed on bloody verse

Or the passing of another hearse.


Here the flags lie fallen;

Stone on some

Martyr’s bones,

Or a child who never came home.

Forgotten now,

Under rusts of moss,


No incised borders,

Hold name, or date long past,

For eye to set in order


For borders here

Are hard with tears, and fickle-fingered blame.

No Seat at Brownie’s Table

The path behind,

I leave only shadow,

A junction; of light, blurred,


Crossing paths of sorrow,

Yet, what has my murder won?

The renewal of the sun?

Pearce’s sacrifice won?

Does murder, reward murder?

No; you fools, you Fenian dead,

Here am I, enriched,

By the life you bled.

The Judge’s Daughter

I told you not to look;

I am blood without body;

Another life you took.

Has your day come already?

I never saw your eyes narrow

As you robbed her of tomorrow,

My dead mouth dreams


As you sing of Ó Brádaigh’s kills,

And toast another slaughter;

This time, a judge’s daughter.

This World is a Knife

Sweat-dreams, lulled by

Lucifer’s Lullabies,

Of Semtex suns sinking through

Acrid clouded cries,

This world is a knife,

Slowly twisting towards

The heart,

This world is a knife,

Tearing the mind apart,

In the fist of the past,

In the fury of the blast,

This world is a knife.

A collection of my poems is available here – thank you:

The Drumming Of A Soundless Rain

The Murder of Youth

Remember last year?

When eighteen flames

Quivered over your name,

Scribed in icing, it was,

Now, here we stand, heads bowed

As the driving rain beats on your coffin,

Can’t understand a ’cause’

That applauds

Your murder; sees you as nothing

More than a way to put their name on some sods.



Cross-hairs, knit grasses into green,

Your x-ray, unseen,

The sky;

A naked blush of blue,

Fumes high,

Sunburnt shadows flee

To autumn’s burning trees,

Shapes shift to guises struggling under guns,

You snatch a round,

Watch it sink without a sound,

Death smiles, another brother found.


Birth Of Borders

Spring jewelled from Dónairt’s mossy crown,

Winter’s bloom drowned neath a grassy gown,

These meadows know no bound, nor forest fear the fence, dug into ground,

It scars not earth,

But scars those minds behind the cursed

Birth of borders:

Their lines disordered;

Unlike the graves; those lines of lives, wasted.



A furnace lies behind your eyes,

Its heat, a vigil in your hand,

Long after the last scream dies,

You, who cast blood on this land,

Fasten your eyes on the mourning Sky.

Each star: a wake.

In your mouth the Eucharist

Is nothing more than Semtex,

Death: the sunrise of your morning.


A Lesson In Murder

Like a soundless rain,

Hearts, unstained,

Smash on barren ground,

As songs of thunder

Thump the air with carrion

Fists, gnarled, bare,

A brutal brush unfurls

Palettes of crimson

Clouds that hurl

Themselves into the mirror

Of a child’s eye,

And ever

Shackle dream’s rise

To nightmare’s grinning guise.


A collection of my is poetry available at:


Silvered Shards of Moon,

giphy (1).gifThe pillow of a drifting moon, polished with dusts of dying stars,

Opened an ivory eye and glimpsed the inky sheen

Of night’s dreaming mind, woven through the firs,

Branches dipped under the diamond-gleam

Of their heavy cloaks, as winds unsheathed bladed

Breaths, lulling shadows, tired of shade,


To slunk, heavy of limb and line, staining light

With delicate dabs of darkness, smudging smokey

Mists with furnace-black fissures: Mother Night,

Reigned in her regal radiance; blinking brightly,

Amongst the leaf-litter, and the scent of sodden wood

Soaking into our brittle bones: white wands of childhood,


And wandering winds spiral night’s white dreams

To glow within the gloom of summer’s tomb,

Someday to rise again; russet, rose, with rusted beams

Slanting through silvered shards of moon,

To sharpen tracks threaded in memories of snow,

Like each life we’re given: brief, yet, if we wish; dipped in gold.


Book available here: