Thursday, 13 April 2017


Searching for spider's cocoons in the folds of my concertina bellows, with Wasps vs Northhampton Rugby Game in the background on TV (silent), Sunday 09 April 2017, Cruises Sunday Afternoon Session, Ennis.


Wednesday, 11 January 2017


(A Dialogue between two poets)

Poet 1: That poker there, for heaven’s sake! Why won’t you let me take it out of your backside?

Poet 2: No thank you, you scruffy Kavanagh-type layabout with the smell from you. I’m perfectly happy with the poker up my backside thank you very much. It may impede my poetic movements a bit but at least I’m getting money from the Arts Council and the Anglo-Irish Poker Foundry Foundation. Not like you, you heap of pong. I can smell the smell of you in your poetry and it stinks. The Arts Council, too, can smell your poetry a mile away and as for the Anglo-Irish Poker Foundry Foundation, it wouldn’t put a poker up your backside even if you begged it too.

Poet 1: Insulting me won’t make your poetry any less stiff than it is. In fact your poetry is as stiff as a poker. You’re only fooling yourself if you think it’s flexible and fluent. It’s not going anywhere meaningful, how could it when it’s as stiff as a poker and it’s up your backside. Like yourself – sure aren’t you up your own backside as well? The wonder is there’s room for the whole three of ye – yourself, your reams and reams of soi-disant poetry and the poker itself – all up your backside.

Poet 2: SOI-DISANT? How dare you, you piece of excrement, with the tattered coat and the unbearable pong of reality reeking out of you. I swear by my Gold Advantage Credit Card that you’ll see the end of your days sleeping on the streets with not a penny from the Arts Council or even from St Vincent de Paul because no one can stand the sight of you, even the charitable organizations will turn their backs on you in the end. Oh I can see it happening and it won’t be too long waiting, you’ll be freezing to death lying in a doorway, muttering SOI-DISANT over and over till the Grim Reaper takes you, you pig’s crubeen gnawed to the bone.

Poet 1: Well at least I have written a few memorable lines that future generations can hold onto in their dark hours. Unlike you, and your other Gold Advantage Credit Card poets with the pokers of materialism fixed firmly you-know-where, causing the True Voice of Feeling to degenerate in your voice-box to some kind of cold duck-quacking parody of all that is human....

Poet 2: I don’t have to listen to you. Goodbye, loser. (Exit, bearing grudge.)

(Poet 1 goes home, opens his morning mail and reads the following letter)

Dear Poet 1,
Thank you for your application. I am delighted to inform you that the Arts Council, in association with the Anglo-Irish Poker Foundry Foundation, Gold Advantage Credit Cards Ltd and the Society of St Vincent de Paul, have decided to award you a Bursary in Literature. Your Bursary of €20,000 will cover a six month period, as specified by you, enabling you to complete a collection of poetry. There will also be a publisher’s grant made available to the St Vincent de Paul Press towards the publication of your completed work.
Your Gold Advantage Credit Card and your poker will be posted to you and you should receive them in a few days. 
On receipt, you should phone the Anglo-Irish Poker Foundry Foundation to arrange a fitting.
Yours Sincerely,
AN Other
pp Arts Council

(Poet 1 sits at his desk in some distress, passes a hand over his furrowed brow.)

Poet 1: So it’s come to this! What the fuck will I do now?..... I suppose it’s best to accept.
After all, it won’t stop ME from lambasting the Establishment. No siree!!
(Emits a little whoop of joy.)


The Red Army Liberates Shanghai, a copperwork embossment/sculpture at the Pudong Development Bank, the Bund, Shanghai. The Red Army is joined by cleaver-wielding butchers (in the sense of meat-sellers) who had a large part to play in the winning of the city.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016


This is a link to a reading I gave of my poem 'The Copper Mines of Peru' at the 'On the Nail' Series of Readings in Limerick, March 01, 2016. The poem was first published in my blog 'The Helicopter Poem' a few years ago. Hope you enjoy it.


Monday, 12 December 2016


John Montague, RIP. 
Drove him back from Annaghmakerrig to Cork in a rusty Fiat 128 in the summer of 1983. He slept stretched all trustingly on the back seat while I kept nodding off, waking up once just in time to see a ditch straight in front of me. Ah them were the days. 
I jumped a red light in Athlone, was stopped by the guards, breathalysed. 
Guard: Now Ciaran, I’m afraid you’re over the limit.
John M: Excuse me! I’m an university professor. I need to get back to Cork. I have an early lecture tomorrow morning.
Me: John, please stay quiet...
Guard: Now Ciaran, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. You give me the keys of the car, and go up the town with your friend and have some fish and chips, and come back to the Station in an hour or so and collect your car.
John: But I’m a university lecturer and I have an early lecture tomorrow!
Me (sotto voce ) Shut up, John....
John M (later, up the town, as we ate fish and chips): But I thought it would help to get you off...

‘Like Dolmens Round My Childhood, the Old People’ – an all-time favourite poem of mine.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016


Launch in Galway of Fermata: Writings inspired by Music, edited by Eva Bourke and Vincent Woods, published by Artisan House. 
Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Middle Street, Galway, 03 December 2016.

It was fairly cold last Saturday out on the covered passageway at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, for the Galway launching of Fermata, but we were eventually cheered by poetry, music and prosecco. Thanks to all who made it such an unique and enjoyable occasion.
Ciaran O’Driscoll – ‘Wasps in the Session’
Geraldine Mitchell – ‘Basso Continuo’
Mary O’Malley – ‘Geography’
Gerry Hanberry – ‘Lilter’
Peter Mullineaux – ‘A Piper Prepares’
Rita Ann Higgins – Excerpt from ‘The Faraways’

Each of these poems can be found in Fermata, among many more poems and prose writings that describe/invoke/celebrate music of all kinds and its place in our lives.

Photograph by Seán F. Ó Drisceoil

And what is a Fermata, anyway?  1. the sustaining of a note, chord, or rest for a duration longer than the indicated time value, with the length of the extension at the performer's discretion. 2. a symbol placed over a note, chord, or rest indicating a fermata.

Apparently, according to editor Eva Bourke, there is or was a T-shirt available bearing the legend: I'M A FERMATA, PLEASE HOLD ME ;-)

Thursday, 10 November 2016


Picture shows me giving an impromptu post-midnight reading on request outside Bush's Bar, Baltimore, Co Cork. The poem was either 'Turnip' or 'Please Hold' from the collection I have in my hand, Life Monitor. I was invited down to Baltimore to read at the O'Driscoll Clan Gathering that summer. I use this as my 'profile' picture on the website , where I comment on A and AS Level English Literature, particularly poetry, in a student discussion forum. I think I might also make it my Facebook profile as it has, for me at least, some kind of iconic vibe :-)