the corner boys

ONE                                                                                                                                      THREE

They too have their very own soul brothers,   Good morning there, Mr. Walsh, lovely day

known in every town I know of.                                  Never a word out of him, rain or shine

You can see long time corner boys                                     Married to her, you’d be quiet too,

busily polishing walls                                                                    the tide wouldn’t take her out

of old public buildings,                                                                      when she was a young one!

shoulders to the wheel                                                                                        I remember that,

so as to speak,                                                                                                        there she is now,

hard at work                                                                                                                      lovely day

watching                                                                                                                                   Missus

all.                                                                                                                                            Walsh


TWO                                                                                                                                        FOUR

I                                                                                                                                                   These

surely                                                                                                                                         corner

don’t think so!                                                                                                         boys don’t miss

Will it last now,                                                                                                anything. The news

well, what do you think?                                                                              of the town is theirs,

Comments on one and all,                                                                      they have it all the time.

bold words for everyone,                                                                           At any hour of the day

knowing all comings and goings,                                               you can know what happened,

with watchful eyes little escapes them,                             simply asking our old corner boys

full sure certain they know everything.                        surveillance cameras are not needed.

In Ireland until recently every town and village had it’s quota of corner boys.  These were idle men, young and old, who hung around public places passing the day by observing the world and commenting on all and sundry.  There are those who claim they may be an endangered species, but are not quite extinct yet. This poem is for them.

Published by The Carnegie Library, Kilkenny, as part of their Poets on Board Scheme, July 2013

The moment passes by the corner

The moment passes by the corner

Have you ever stood on a street corner,

somewhere, anywhere, everywhere?

Remembering my there is your here,

realising your here is my there.

That corner of moments,

have you ever been there?

It is night and street lights haloed

in misty rain or mere damp and drizzle

release rainbows over residues of oil

gathering on water pooled in gutters.

You breathe in deeply, inhaling

this night so far from home,

this moment so ordinary

yet not ordinary,

not ordinary at all.

Perhaps you stepped

from inside there

to outside here

and so the physical

becomes the emotional.

In turn this takes you out of where you are,

in turn this leaves you in a questioning

where of here.

The where you have come from

and the where you are going

could be anywhere

and this somewhere

then becomes everywhere.

The moment becomes a bubble of time

and you are inside it

beyond this there is nothing

there is only the here, only the now,

as perfect as a thrushes song

caught at evening when there is nothing else

but liquid notes pouring over you

like light pouring perfect rainbows

over wayside puddles.

There is nothing else.

Have you ever noticed my love

how often these moments occur

with you?

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