‘Phoenix Park’ from Cave Paintings

Cave Paintings was a collaborative project  made by a group of visual artists and writers, curated by the lads behind Cave Writings last year. I was paired with the NCAD graduate and photographer Danyal Fox, and wrote and performed this poem in four parts after his series of photos of Phoenix Park in Dublin.



How many times have I walked down that hill

Having nowhere else to go

Under the shadow of Kilmainham Gaol,

And past the public library.

Might stop in but never stay long

Always coming alone

Might go the long way to read the byelaws

Almost hidden by the hedge in spring

But bare to see in winter.

They say

If you want to speak you have to go to Nine Acres

And not within 75 metres of any road way

But I doubt anyone could hear my voice in the wind today

And I don’t want to speak anyway.



Golden hour is living up to its name

But I’m only here because I reset

All the sattelite channels to German and

I don’t know what else to do.

Down in the little hollow

Just inside the Islandbridge Gate

Where it gets all foresty but the traffic gives it away

There’s a tent,

Hidden until you find it.

Someone lives here,

But not in the Presidental sense.

The tent looks well kept too,

Like if they had a house and garden there’d be

Butterfly plants and bird feeders

And a big doormat saying “WELCOME”,

Because you’d never forget that feeling.



There’s a boy on a horse

Cantering bareback

In front of the  monument

Breaking three bye laws

At least.

The sound of him breaks in and

I don’t know how I could ever love

Anywhere more than here.

Maybe I just got lucky,

Like finding your soulmate living two doors down;

Those stories you hear of meeting at mass

And holding hands on the 70th wedding anniversary

She only let him take her out that week

Because she needed the ingredients for the

Christmas cake;

He was the grocer and this was

The Emergency.

You don’t need to look for it

If it’s already there.



Must be the only place I don’t get lost,

Always know directions to the Pope’s Cross or

The Dog Pond

Not interrupted by one way

Traffic systems or roundabouts,

The deer know the way and we should too.

I use them to keep my head up

Crossing fields turning dark

Trying not to think of that

Nurse in 1982

The blood dripping out the back of the car and

Malcolm MacArthur peeling an orange between

The Wellington Monument and

The Main Road.

But that was in sunlight

In daytime

And if you let them take the park away from you

The joy of the dark away from you

They win.


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