The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


the birds of northernesse
had gathered to sing a lay
in a dark tree near a torrent
where the nether world issues
a word they want a word they need
a word for an array
there splashed on vision none
their marvellous mystic hues

vermillion said the eagle
the maker of all laws
and since twas he that said it
so by life it was

vermillion said the osprey
and none could give the nay
for his claws were long and sharp
and he would have his way

vermillion said the falcon
keeper of the flame
and he looked around for challenge
in hauteur and disdain

vermillion chanted the other ranks
the magpie and the hen
the jackdaw and the cormorant
the peewit and the wren

vermillion sang they all
in a wondrous symphony
and their voices rolled throughout the land
from the mountains to the sea

red blood quaked the sparrow
his plumage modest brown
and the birds could not see him
for his station lay far down

red blood piped he again
grown stronger at the truth
and the birds faced reality
and reality was mute

red blood cried he at last
and they saw him crouching low
and they flew at him and raged at him
and struck a mighty blow

shaking the ancient tree
about its massive girth
they seized him and they bore him
and they crushed him to the earth

regaining lofty branches
they did as they were meant
and shook their ruffled feathers
and nodded in assent

a word they had a good word
of a million words abhorred
they would hold to it cling to it
vermillion they roared


Anonymous MissJean said...

What a perfect poem to read today. Something swooped out of the sky and picked off one of the sparrows as it was alighting on the fence.

If the bird of prey could talk, no doubt he'd obfuscate, but it might be something along the lines of "opportunity-based population control in response to the climate change-pending environment". Not very poetic, our birds.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

That is just beautiful. Did you write it?

12:04 AM  
Blogger heelers said...

MissJ, I've kicked around that poem for nigh on twenty years. Today I finally turned it loose!
Adrienne, you have to ask? Fairytale simplicity combined with a body count! Definitely has all the hallmarks of one of mine.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I sort of figured it was yours but I was afraid that I may have been wrong and then you would know me for the Philistine I really am...sigh! It one thing for you to suspect my cultural failings - quite another to know for sure.

9:51 PM  
Blogger heelers said...

Ade, I suspect you're brilliant.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

James - What a sweet thing to say...

11:10 PM  
Blogger Genevieve said...

It's a good poem. With the rhythm of the words, the darkness of the poem is almost surprising. I enjoyed reading it and I'm glad you decided to set it free.

6:23 AM  
Blogger heelers said...

Gen, now it belongs to the ages.

9:47 PM  

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