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Roscommon Poets’ Prize

1st. Catherine Ryan, Trien, Castlerea. “Remnants”.

2nd. Laurence Henson, Strokestown. “One-Off”.

3rd. Louise Cole, Ballaghaderreen. “Yellow Brick Road”.


Remnants, Catherine Ryan,

I hear them at night

gossamer shades moving,

making tins ring unexpectedly

softly sighing on the lintels

scratching so gently on walls

as if too much noise would

scatter their wisps of ghosthood.


I see their handiwork crumbling

under nature’s tight embrace,

roots gripping through walls

waterfalling stones into debris

where once was warmth.

Now damp clings fungus

onto the gaping silent hearth.


I walk where they walked

ragged with the nails of briar fingers,

infested with the snarl of weeds

too intimately known for comfort.

I look at the same grey skies

hoping against hope for sun

whispering my wishes to them.


Are vicious gales their breath

scattering white blossom snow?

Do they steer the sun to cement my clay

so plants wilt and languish?

Is theirs the laughter in the wind

spewing out of ivy-cloaked ruins,

dissipating my dreams?


When I have joined them

misting in the morning air

over the garden once mine,

not even a fingerprint remaining

to daunt the hordes of invaders,

will my laughter envelop it

as the trees march in?


2nd Prize    One-Off           Laurence Henson,


3rd, Prize  Yellow Brick Road      Louise Cole, Roscommon, Ireland


The eye’s first snatch of colour is yellow,

egg yolk sticky, a strident Post-it note,


before the rainbow’s drop of sunshine

bares rotten teeth and bile, is urine-soaked,


with don’t park here lines,

be prepared to stop.


Gilded legal pads in office grey,

where submarines are lived in,


caged canaries sing sad songs

to saffron strands worth more


than all their weight in gold.

While Texas roses bloom and Cold Play’s


stars shine for you, a silvered moon

waits for dawn to light the land,


throw life’s first flames into sharp relief:

golden arches, oil seeds raped,


intense with vigour, homage to the sun,

sweet daffodils and sharp lemons,


ribbons tied to old oak trees.

Jaundiced and soured by the poisonous


slime of pus, bilious flecks of eggnog

and banana Nesquik vomit,


my eyes scan monochrome

until that first golden hue manifests,


knowing Judas wore a yellow coat

the day he collected 30 silver pieces.


STONE COLD     Bernadette Tansey, Roscommon, Ireland


When city lights turn from orange to yellow

fluttering moths become monsters,

spiders blood thirsty vampires,

his failing vision creating illusions.

Pavements vibrate with footsteps,

leather shoes squeak, stilettos click

music blares, his cry unheard.

They cross then order Bewley’s coffee.

The night deepens, danger lurks.

A train speeds sword- like into dark tunnels

A muffled drum!

Cold stone seeps through skin and bone

a bottle of Sauvignon lies empty in a still hand.

A green–eyed feline stares.

Shadows of O’Connell, Pearse,

Collins haunts streets, Liffey Bridge.

Futile echoes of freedom fighters.

An angel of death sweeps over a bundle of souls,

“You” it whispers

A whirling wind clears the clutter.

A man’s soul is whipped from a doorway.




Softly, Softly  Louise Cole

The quiet life’s mine, a being benign

                  as time collapses into blank assign

                                         of pastel days draped smoothly calm,

                                                    intent waylaid by soothing balm.

For caution’s mantle settled keen on me

            Sail serene, perdition’s pale decree,

                   not for me to crash and burn,

                                             angers venting, twist and turn.

It’s others having need to cry

                          out loud scarred spirits, wry,

                                                               burst blood red, back from fire and hell

                                                             accusing stories, thrilled to tell

ribald rant and heartbreak wail

                           of deeds and pleads and cruel assail,

                                   window-dressed in florid hues

                                                               explosive scenes to catch the news.

Life’s keelhauled me, unabused, sedate,

                      unassuming, staid – and tempting fate,

                          a glaucous veil upon me now,

                                                         wisdom’s prudence in judicious vow,

revealing so, a soft and yielding will

                          that whispers from pale shadows spill,

                                                modesty reserved and shaped by fear

                                                                            that someone, somewhere, should ever hear.




NOT ALONE   Kieran Furey


‘Show us the money!’

they always said.

Writing was never understood.

Like alcoholism or gambling,

this diseased, compulsive

buying and reading and writing

of books.

Yes, I was always isolated.


No, I was never alone.

I had the scribes of ages

around me.

I felt the grave breath

of Bram Stoker on my neck.

John Donne was never finished

looking over my shoulder.

The doors of Dickens and Dickinson

were always open to me.

John Dos Passos was rarely more than

two steps ahead of me.


This, then, is only a part-whine:

none of that ‘Alas, poor bardic

scribe’ dramatic stuff.

I made my own poetic bed

and if the books I bought and read

and wrote made

it a lumpy place to lie in,

to tell the dreaming truth

I never regretted a single page

except the page not turned.


This, then, stands to reason.

There were worse fates, after all,

than this wilful promiscuity

of sharing pillows with

famous authoresses,

their jackets torn off,

their spines arched beside me,

their secrets opened wide,

waiting to be enjoyed

and known.


Open Return,             Laurence Henson,