Archive for the ‘Poems by Phil’ Category

Last stop

This is it

The end of the lines

No more words

Daily pored over

Poured onto pages

Powering down

A hundred days of pressure

Coming to a close.


In the beginning I said

This is not what I do

But it is

Things happen

We dress them

In rhythms and words

Rhymes and lines

We use them to make sense

Seek recompense

Or simply lose ourselves

And start again.


You don’t have to commit

To a hundred poems

But you can commit

Your words to a page

Build onwards, upwards

Rhythms and words

All your own

This might be the end

But it will never stop.



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Among the dust and rubble
The broken bones and burnt flesh
The debris of a battle
We couldn’t afford to win
Not for the want of money
But courage, of spirit
Another such victory
And we would all go home alone.

What point is there in winning
If all we do in its wake
Is beat down others
And lord at their expense
What point is there
In rising to the top
By climbing rough-shod over everything
You hold to be dear and true?

What point is there in continuing
Tramping the wheel of failure
These precious moments, like children
Are here and gone, never to return
Walk the wide street
Pin the lily to your collar
And ponder
That glorious victory is not to prevail the battle
But to succeed in the drudgery of peace.

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Race the Sunset

Go now, while there’s still a little light in the sky

And race the sunset home

I’ve given you all I have to give

So now you’re on your own

And though the darkness soon will fall

On this evening crisp and clear

Use the night to gather yourself

Tomorrow will soon be here


And should the lightning rip the sky

And the rain come pouring down

And the wind whip down across the plain

And thunder shake the ground

Remember what I told you here

And though your heart does ache

The past belongs to others now

The future’s yours to take


Should doubt cast a shadow on your heart

Your hand be gripped by fear

Your anguish cause your mind to seize

Your resolve frozen by fear

Shake yourself and come again

With all your strength and skill

To banish doubt, remind yourself

“I can. I must. I will.”


For Griff, as she plans her departure.

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Went away

Because Ireland is full of expressions that don’t mean what you think they mean.


She went away

To England

Got a job through a friend

Great opportunity

Had to take it quickly

She left hastily

Not like the others

Who went away

To have their babies

Not her

She just went away


He went away

Family had a farm

And when someone

Came to harm

He had to go

A thing of beauty

A man of duty

Not like the others

Hanging from a tree

Not he

He just went away.


They went away

To Australia

Left the key in the door

Bills on the floor

He had a brother there

Borrowed off the mother

And brought them all

To start again

Not like the others

The car in the water

The bodies inside

Son and daughter

Still strapped in

Not them

They just went away.



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For Christy

"These are the hands..."

The cable wound around your arm

Blue veins standing out

Beads of sweat roll from your face

Eyes closed, blissed out

But this time, you’re not alone

This is a different thing

Eyelids flutter, lips part

Your head tilts

You sing.


And when you sing, you sing for us

You voice our joy and pain

We close our eyes and see ourselves

Wrapped tightly in your chains

We recall your rise and fall

And how you blazed a trail

Somehow, you survived it all

And lived to tell our tale


Your words echo now, around this room

A cavern filled with sound

And hearts are joined together

Twenty feet below the ground

Far from home, not prisoners

Pilgrims here by choice

But where’er we go, your words ring out

Still, we have your voice.

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Raw eggs for sore legs

That smell in the hall

Of damp kit and boots

And brown muddy ball

The end of winter

The evenings longer

The endless miles

The legs grow stronger.



I swear, past my prime

This will be the last time

I’ll let myself be fooled

(Mostly by myself)

Into thinking I can do this

I was done, nearly out

But I can’t

Not yet


So at the end of night

When the pale light

Of the Stockholm dawn

Creeps down the wall

I profess once more

To give my all

For all the good it will do

For them, or me, or you.


I know there will be regret

Balls I cannot get

Kicks dropping short

But on these dark, wet nights

You know the cure

Hard work to ensure

That regrets become the exception

Not the rule.


In truth, I’m only getting going

So much to learn again

And the more you can do

The more you want to do it

One day I will ask

And this body won’t respond

Until then

Pass me that ball.

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Deep down inside of you

There is a hole

An emptiness, an ache

A vacuum to fill.

One day you noticed

That the misery of others

Was a perfect fit

You’re filling it still.


A word, a look,

A sneer that brooks

No argument

Your word chapter and verse

Your only way to feel better

To fill the hole

Is to make others feel worse


But don’t look to me

I won’t lie down

Bow to your greed

Or feed your need

To bring others down

At first unsure

Wiser now

Strong, I stand my ground.

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