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 peripeteia.webs.com , 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 :-)

Tuesday, 11 October 2016



Let’s all go binary
beside the seaside, beside the sea
with a two into one 
and so it goes on 
with a seagull here and a cormorant 
there on the breezy prom 
where little boys make goalposts
from their jettisoned jumpers
and the brass bands go pom! pom!
marching ad infinitum
with lots of girls besides
by the breaking of the waves
and my tongue in groove struck dumb 
for the love of a fishwife
with a fishwife’s tongue

© Ciaran O'Driscoll 2016

Thursday, 14 January 2016



‘Because we’re going to die, an expression of intensity is justified’, poet C.D. Wright, r.i.p.

How about it, Blandus, an expression
of intensity before you pop your clogs?
It looks like you’re a man without a mission,
and your poetry has departed to the dogs.

Ah 'tis yourself that's in it! you’ll declare,
contemptibly soft-soaping the Grim Reaper –
as if you didn’t know he doesn’t care
for anyone, prince, poet or floorsweeper!

And he doesn’t rate intensity a whit.
It doesn’t matter if you’re numb or feeling.
So go and live life fully for a bit
before your funeral bells begin their pealing.

© Ciaran O'Driscoll January 2016