His love never spoke with words.
He would lift her hair and soak it
sponge it down and kiss her neck without touch;
hold her pain in his hiding.
He would dray-horse-toil to points
where words took their own lives
stomachs upset themselves and hearts,
hearts would suffocate themselves.
Her love lay forever in a worthless chasm.
She had no doorjamb to rest an ear against,
no dreaming wake-up-moment to ferment
into the relief of answered questions,
nothing to mop the piercing sorrow
of unplanned unborn children who
waited for years in queues of sorrow
dowsing their rivers of life into death.
Just give them a corner to park their love,
a back seat to shuffle on, in semi-private,
a cellar to store the growing mountain
of unforgiving unfinished business,
a theatre of dreams where the aftermath
of generations would amputate themselves,
and a Blarney stone to chew on sothat
wordscould find a home and embrace them.
They once made love, she thinks.
Once, he almost called her darling.
In Search of Life
I searched for seeds I cannot
See In the largest pods I know
And in the hunger of this frustration
I eat again this lesson.
Ground damp and fertile I pause
Before I sow; up or flat I ask.
Being wise I take a second
And put them to bed together.
He up, she lying on her side.
Each week I visit, dusting
Tidying, drooling as I go.
I tell them stories they don’t like
Of tarts and desserts and splits.
Of pies and sandwiches. Of funny
slippery tales. I wait.
One sunny morning I cast a jealous
Eye towards my neighbour’s patch
And slowly permit myself a peep.
I weep to see the growing harvest
Wink and point my way.
I shout my first annoyance.
And dip and dig to chastise,
To find they’ve all left home.
A yellow note is posted on their bed
In writing all grown up,
'Look wisely you silly man',
And there they were all waving
From all neighbour’s fields.
Letter from your Hummingbird
I will downstroke,
retire migrations as
my figure eights are no more;
gone south you could say.
Here there are no continents,
seasons have melted into one
and I have new beds to make Paula,
futures to construct,
childhoods to sow.
I’ve build this house for you,
attrition filters installed,
only white cars in the drive and
a room where ceremonies
dance all nights and days,
teaching sorrow the steps of laughter,
pain the rhythm of closure.
Healing is readily on tap,
bereavement fills every grate,
and safety, safety
blankets every bed
and ambush has run into retirement.
Love is hungry Kieran, not trodden
and on this farm you and I
will reap our past,
chew the cud
of missed opportunities,
swing and slide into
resurrected childhood parties
After all, it’s only a long wait.
Gene Barry is an Irish Poet, Art Therapist and a practicing Psychotherapist. He has been published widely both at home and internationally and his poems have been translated into Arabic, Irish and Italian.
Barry is founder of the Blackwater Poetry group that meet weekly in various venues throughout North Cork, Ireland and administers the world famous Facebook Blackwater Poetry Group. As an art therapist using the medium of poetry, Gene has worked in hospitals, primary and secondary schools, NA, Youthreach, with retired people’s groups, AA, asylum seekers and with numerous poetry groups.
He has read in Australia, the US, the Caribbean, Holland, England, Scotland, England, and Belgium and as the guest poem at numerous Irish poetry venues. In 2007 Gene read at the Patrick Kavanagh Celebration in Dublin.
Barry’s chapbook No Family Tree was published by Rebel Poetry in 2008 and in 2013 his collection Unfinished Business was published by Doghouse Books. In 2010 Gene was editor of the anthology Silent Voices, a collection of poems written by asylum seekers living in Ireland. Gene is presently editing his third collection.
He additionally edited the anthologies Remembering the Present in May 2012, Inclusion and The Blue Max Review 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions for Rebel Poetry. Barry is also founder and chairman of the Fermoy International Poetry Festival.
He is presently editing The Day the Mirror Called and Fathers and what must be said and is currently featured in the Poetry Salzburg Review.