Poems by Dave Kavanagh


Dave was born and still lives in Loughshinny, a tiny farming and fishing village in the coastal North Co. Dublin. He has been writing since he could hold a pen in his fist. His work has seen recent publication in a number of anthologies as well as online at sites such as madswirl.com and Medium.

Dave was the originator of The Blue Nib and now plays second fiddle to the more experienced poet Shirley Bell who has taken the editor’s chair since Issue Three,  allowing Dave to develop other initiatives to encourage the writing and reading of new poetry.

 

Dave is married with two wonderful kids and splits his time between Ireland and Betancuria on the island of Fuerteventura. He is currently working on a novel and a first collection of poetry.

 

 

Westerlies

 

My skin is no match

For your wild winds.

 

Eaten to my moon pie crescent,

waiting to be regurgitated.

 

In fourteen gnawed slices of

silent night.

And the eve of an

English bank holiday

Weekend

Sounds like a door slamming.

 

 

Calving Caesar

 

All day the boy watched through the rusted bars,

Eyes large with tiredness.

Counting the labouring steps of the Charolais heifer.

She paced and circled, lay, then stood again to pace

before finally settling.

She had no sleep in her, no head lowered to the

deep straw pillow, no soft lowing.

She heaved and groaned her maiden song of birthing

At twilight his father came, speaking words of herding,

Cush, he said, and cush, again,

like wind whispers, smothering him with soft blankets of sound.

His breath drifting like clouds above the peak of Kilimanjaro.

Voice, like stones rumbling along the shore of Sophocles Aegean.

The calf came, for all his waiting, in a rush.

Shocking, in a gush of blood,

all tumbling limbs and afterbirth,

landing together.

The heifer knew, and licked with certainty.

A bull calf, large topaz eyes, skull wet, with tight folds

of amniotic curls.

They stepped across the Rubicon together and

something broke within him, the string of aprons unravelled.

The boy had won the right of christening

and named the new-born bull Caesar.

 

 

No Moses

 

An unshod breeze tosses her cotton candy hair

at the billow of brown mountain.

High above, the herd gather on a dim blue horizon.

All called to earth by the broken people-

who, on dirty toes, follow dust roads,

receding into threads of desert silver.

One by one the woolpack break free,

breathing in the malted feast of newly born.

Daring to traverse the open plain where indigo meets palomino.

Rushing-  in unseen streams over the dry expanse

where scars of deep etched rippled seas dance,

on arid valleys and parched summits

A man, that understands the pain of loss, watches.

They group and split, drifting into nations,

learning hate and love and the spite of brotherhood.

He is no Moses, no diviner of the filthy fingernailed beggar.

His hands draw blue electric lines in sky.

Here- he cries as they gather. But they will not linger,

will not fall.

False prophets of a dewless dawn.

 

 

 

Beauty is a Small Tragedy

 

The morning is wet, a song thrush, freshly fledged

trails a twisted wing with all the broken symmetry

of a waxing moon.

She moves, head nodding, mustard beak busy with the

business of squirming things,

bobbing, she traverses the barracks lawn.

She is plump, full breasted, her young plumage still dark

and iridescent,

amber brown eyes, glistening.

Her song ensnared in a gay yellow trumpet,

still untuned for music.

She feeds, oblivious to the casual cruelty of seasons,

August is rich but Winter is coming.

 

 

An Elder Cat

 

Something moves between the variegated sedge and

the mimosa hedges.

A minor tiger stalking the long evening shadow

of a hoopoe bird.

Uneven, tufted ears and milk white eyes

arthritic spine,

frozen flat, she moves, in age stilted motion

the steps remembered,

but not the music of the dance of death.

Prowling the border

Between opposing worlds of wild and cossetted,

she growls.

Hunting the damp shallow humus for

bugs and insects.

The crested bird, a stride too far

and a stretch to high.

Dusk is no loss to irides,

when daylight is a pearlescent shade forgotten.

 

 

 

Empty Nest Syndrome

 

Touch the pillow,

feel the still warm hollow

where his head lay. Inhale.

Catch the water colour stain

of the red mug inverted on the silver draining board,

blink through a soapy tear,

reflect on the vacancy in shimmering green.

Search for the totemic signs of his passing.

A Pringles tin poking a flat cartoon face

from the white swing bin,

a crushed cigarette butt in the fireplace.

Cobwebs on the slatted blinds carry the vibrations

of yesterday’s conversation, laughter,

like raindrops on glass when he spoke.

Choke on the words you left unsaid,

Affection, uncommunicated or misunderstood.

Dust on your brittle, stilted tongue.

You should have told him how your chest swells with fullness

when you share the burgeoning crop

of his still awkward adulthood.

Your penance, to face the emptiness of leaving

and prayers offered for absolution in December.

 

 

 

Tourette’s

 

Mr Petrie speaks to the traders,

the dawn raiders of money markets,

the hedge fund managers and

commodity brokers.

The poetry of numbers

soothe his speeding mind.

Eloquently, he places his morning bets, from a cave

five thousand miles away.

At his cleft feet, a blue merle dog wags a waiting tail.

The charts and tables of digital commerce

dance in green neon on his velvet screen.

The screams abate,

his twitching tongue tied, by the flow of indices.

Later he will walk the roughly rutted roads

in an old coat that flaps and folds like murdering crows,

his mind uncinched, eyes wide –

terrified of living.