Easter Monday 2016

It’s 1916 wall to wall

Revolution is in the air on the radio

Joe is doing his meet and greet,

Meeting the plain people of 1916

It’s not working but it’s Joe being Joe.

I’m in the kitchen listening to the Revolution Cabaret.

Most of it is successfully filling the airtime, but little

Is historically interesting or real. I’m looking over

Three fields towards Moneystown,

Fields of sheep and leaping lambs, scudding clouds

And rain coming soon.

What takes me back to the Rising is the thought

That I am free to sit here, to spend a day like this,

In comfort undreamed of by people like me then.

It’s a long long way from Sackville Street in 1916

To Tiglin 2016.

I think of those who started this journey

And of the family doBaby Martin 2 sep 1952 2wn through the years

Who helped me get to here, with thanks.


Martin Swords

Easter Monday 28th March 2016


Walk A Different Road

 St Kevin's Cross

Walk a Different Road

December 21st Winter Solstice 2015

Carol Service in The Cathedral Ruins, The Monastic City, Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland


We are at the turning of the year

Here in Gleann Da Loch

This Spiritual site, this font of nature

As we celebrate Juul, Solstice Fire, Christmas,

Darkness into Light, the Turning of the Year

Here let us remember the Ancients,

 Ancient Ways, early Celtic Christian Monks

And Caoimhinn* who spoke to the fishes, birds and trees

Let us return to live with nature and value it

Repair the damage we have done on the road we travelled

‘I cannot save the world by myself, but I can play my part

Be aware, consume, waste and destroy less,

feed the birds and bees, grow more, plant a tree, plant a forest’

Maybe we cannot speak to nature as Caoimhinn* did

But we can listen; we must listen as it says –

‘Enough, change your ways,

See the light and turn to

Walk a different road’

*Saint Kevin

                                                                               Martin Swords

Thoughts on the Morning of Halloween 2015


On this day do not be afraid

The Dead mean us no harm.

The Dead are not gone, although they are dead

We carry them close with us

They are friends, family,

They are on the steps of stairs

In silver smiling frames

They are in our pockets

We keep them in the naming of hearts

We know them and we know they know us

As long as we know them, they are near

When we are gone they go with us

When it can be said ‘Who’s that’

And no one knows

Then they are gone with us

Then it is our turn to be close, for a while.


Martin Swords

Halloween October 31st 2015


article-0-03366E500000044D-308_468x286Here’s something I’d like to share with you, and beyond.
It opens as if it were a children’s poem, but it’s not
All the best




Look. Look at Sammy

See Sammy swim

See Sammy eat the fish scraps children throw

Look for Sammy at the Fishman’s shop in Wicklow

Look at Sammy’s big sad eyes

Why is he sad

Why is he here

What does he know that we don’t


For over half my life I never saw seals

I’d heard they were in other places, Orkney, Hebrides,

The outer reaches of Rathlin gulf

Now they swim everywhere, Wicklow, Bulloch,

Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Howth

From their Big House on Lambey

Why now.


 The seals are a sign

A seal of authenticity, a guarantee of change

Seals in new seas, strange fish in trawler nets

Common fish gone scarce, birds moving North

To habitats they once avoided


Signs and seals and guarantees of change

We feed the seals childlike without reading

the signs, the sadness in their eyes

Maybe through seal eyes we might see

the bigger picture of change

Maybe in time we too will have sad seal eyes,

Full of regret too late, too late for going back

Martin Swords

Mutual Friends

Mutual Friends


Little feet, little hands

Too small to skim a stone, throw a pebble

Little feet have come a long way

With many miles to go, not now

The seaside should have been a treat

A novelty in a short life of little joy

A place where brothers splashed and laughed

You should have been playing, not drowning


Martin Swords

Written in shame for Aylan and Ghalib Kurdi from Syria

Sat September 5th 2015  



doggerland-art-615It was the wet dry wet of it all

That struck the gatherers

 Is it wet or dry, is it land or sea

Sand, dunes, strange grass,

Shifting shapes, a strange uncertain place

And yet the hunting was good, fish, rabbits

They did not know it was not forever

They thought only of meals, shelter, warmth,

Days, changing seasons, weather.

Eras, or Global Events were not known to them

West of where they came from

East of the chalky hills

They had no name for East or West, for this or any place

They were cold, on the move

They moved towards the setting Sun, overland

The wanted warmth, comfort, but did not know

Yet the huge price heat would bring

To Doggerland and the world  

But they would change as everything changed

and continues to change.


South Uitsire

Low 960 Deepening SW Veering Westerly 6 to Gale 8

Moderate or Good becoming Poor



 Losing its identity

Doggerland was an area of landbridge, now lying beneath the southern North Sea, that connected Great Britain to mainland Europe during and after the last Ice Age. It was then gradually flooded by rising sea levels around 6,500 or 6,200 BC. The Dogger Sandbank remains and gives its name to the Sea Area of The Shipping Forecast

Martin Swords      September 2015

To A Poet

To A Poet


It was one of those phonecalls

Unexpected. Out of the blue

Well, out of Glenmalure actually

The lady from Glenmalure was due

To read the lesson at Mass on Saturday

But she would be away and needed a stand-in


After a few phone calls with no joy

She phoned me, and I could do it

‘That’s great’ she said,

‘You probably don’t know me, I’m new,

But I think I know you.

You’re the poet aren’t you?’

‘Yes’, I replied


She could not have said a nicer thing.

To a poet




Martin Swords

August 2015pen-paper

Wexford Girls




Curlews calling in the dead of night.
Stoney Old Man Heron standing still.
Bannow sands are moving, shifting,
shaping, ever flowing, ever changing drill.

Cattle lowing dull in distant fields,
peels of death ring out in hedgerow town.
Birds of prey or foxes come to feed.
Life and death together in one sound.

Milky Way is pouring overhead
showing us the future from the past.
Moon is shining in another sky tonight
In ebon dark the bright stars twinkle fast

Wexford girls are sleeping in their beds,
Ruddy, red haired dreamers in the night.
Dreams of city lights, supposed excitement,
Love, romance, a maybe Mister Right.

They need to go to taste the world outside.
They need to see what city life can lack.
They need to understand what brings them home,
the sometime simple life looks better looking back.

Martin Swords, September 2000

Written On The Land


There is a tree on Achill
Written by the wind
Bent low, bowed to the ground
As the shawled wida women
Passing it each day

There are shingle spits near Murrisk
Shaped sharp and pointed by the waves
Like bleached fingers on a famine hand
Exposed in graveyard dunes
By Winter storms

There are sandy coves on Beara
Where lovers sometimes play
Where a turn of tide or wind
Sends men searching for the lost
Taken unexpected on an ordinary day

Landscape can be a page
Of hard history written
By a cruel hand, wind or wave
Told as on Ancient Vellum
Made of those once living

It can be beautiful
But not always so

Martin Swords
Written in Kenmare County Kerry
July 2015