Thursday 27 February 2014



Postwoman, ply your metier
from door to door and street to street
in balmy sun or when it’s wetter
in rain and fog and slushy sleet.

And leave your bicycle to stand
outside a local pub or grocer’s
except where things are out of hand
and thieves ignored by law-enforcers,

then you must wheel it as you pop 
from letterbox to letterbox
resting it everywhere you stop, 
which slows you down like when you knock

at homes that lack postal access,
or when you deliver bulky parcels.
Once, as you chatted at a house,
I saw your cycle seized by rascals

complete with mailbag. Luckily
the theft turned out to be a prank
by youngsters on a cider-spree.
Postwoman far from being a crank,

you tongue-lashed the culprits, then set to
your task again, a pleasant hike
because the man you were talking to
kindly offered to mind the bike.

Whether bliss, indifference or woe
the tidings in your missives meet,
postwoman, ply your valued chore
from house to house, from street to street.

In a uniform labelled Post
that’s slate-blue and whose badge is green,
in summer plod through heat and dust,
through ice and snow in winter’s spleen.

© Ciaran O'Driscoll 2014

Tuesday 11 February 2014



What happened to sympathy and compassion?
We don’t even ask these days, it wouldn’t be
too bad if we did. One after another
calamities, and then disasters, come
numbing us, while charity bosses line
their nests. This afternoon I watched a bird
for half an hour – or was it this morning?
I forget what struck me about the bird,
its compact size, feathered fragility
or aerial prowess? All three, perhaps.
Yesterday the Shannon burst its banks,
and a man from the city council appeared
on the news, staring into the face of doom. 
The highest tide on record, he said. Seven
inches higher than the previous one. 
Noah’s Ark, I thought, that’s what struck me about 
the bird, sent out to look for landfall from 
the Island Field, simultaneously 
a bird and symbol of deliverance.
Today, all of a sudden, climate change
is a fact, no longer open to debate:
politicians have begun to use the phrase.
Seven inches up from the previous high,
said the man from the city council on TV,
gaping at the future. Lucky so far,
I live on high ground, on the other side.

The Island Field: St Mary’s Park, a housing estate in Limerick which was very badly flooded during recent storms.

© Ciaran O’Driscoll 2014