Tombs of an unknown soldier

Hidden in an unmarked grave in her head, the foetus of a formal education aborted by back room absolutists.

Lying in repose in the tips of her fingers, the budding writer gunned down by guardians of saints and scholars. Below knuckles needed more. To knead, to Knock, to knit.

Beneath fancy notions, the remains of professional progression; disappeared by the Marriage Bar before being discovered by a passerby along the shoreline of her ambition years later and given the dignity of burial.

Encased in her top drawer behind discontinued perfumes and lilac scarves no longer worn, the slim body of a thermometer. As useful as iodine tablets in the event of a nuclear attack from the prospect of another mouth to feed.

Resting at the bottom of a brandy urn, the ashes of financial autonomy occasionally stirred with a swirl before she washes down the bittersweet pill of freedom and toasts our himdependence.

Ireland, 2016


Watching Winning Streak in The Nip

Taking my dignity out of the machine for inspection

I notice it has shrunk considerably in the hot wash

While from the living room Marty implores Mary to wave

At the camera to all the Mayo folk watching at home

I wave back and spin the wheel round three times

It lands on 40 degrees between the delicates

And the badly stained


By Not Paul Durcan


Thanks to the three of you who voted in the latest poll.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Top 5…Poems not written by Paul Durcan (plus poll!)

It’s that time of year again! When a new blog tradition is launched that has about as much longevity as Stephen Fry swearing off Twitter for life! And where the exclamation mark is deployed rather too enthusiastically!

Welcome to the inaugural I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Paul-Durcan! When you, dear reader, are invited to commission an original Paul Durcan poem that Paul Durcan didn’t actually write!


Not Paul Durcan

Vote early, and vote often! The winning composition will be published on the Feast of the Blessed Patrick. Begorrah.

Mary McGill: Feminism Inc.

At last. The rise of corporate ‘feminism’ gets a proper kicking. Long over due. This is a fantastic piece from Mary McGill. Bang on the button. More on Dawn Foster here

The Coven

To mark International Women’s Day 2015, Sydney Opera House hosted ‘All About Women’, a day long symposium of female-focused talks. A highlight of the event was ‘How to Be a Feminist’, a panel discussion featuring, amongst others, Roxane Gay, Germaine Greer and Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian. While outlining her vision for what it means to identify as ‘feminist’, Sarkeesian noted, “I realise this isn’t a popular thing to say but… feel good personal empowerment is not ‘how to be a feminist’. In order to be a feminist, we have a responsibility beyond ourselves. We have a responsibility to each other and we have a responsibility to work for the collective liberation of all women.”

Sarkeesian’s words replayed in my mind this week as I read Lean Out by journalist Dawn Foster. As its title suggests, Lean Out takes a sobering, critical look at Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book…

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