Tag Archives: irish poet

Anorexia Nervosa poem and photography by pd lyons

Anorexia Nervosa

she has been
to me
and in serving
i make an art,
of that which
have been forbidden
i express
on my tight
a tale
everyone wants
to interpret
i cling to it
like a charm
she has been
to me
with secret dark
eyes closed
a sea
of objects
so safe
she does not
move me
but rather
causes me
to linger
tip toe
from eternity

she has been
to me
this ornamental flesh
a power
always yearned for
and i would
cut myself
for her
but this she
does not
ask for

this version originally published by Bone Orchard Poetry 11/2012 http://boneorchardpoetry.blogspot.ie/2012/11/pd-lyons.html

Back in the eighties I worked in a residential treatment centre in Litchfield Ct. called The Country Place. it was the first time I met people dealing with anorexia. Renee Nell, the woman who established and ran the centre was particularly interested in anorexia. She was respectfully mystified and intrigued with its manifestations and how difficult it was to treat.





I live only in memory.

The day to day does not inspire me,

Only wanting to sit here and think of what used to be

Strung out on the drug America.

Safe only in my own home,

Locked doors, paid taxes, insurance policies protect me.

TV-petrol- chemicals nourish me.

People not like me, outrage me.

In Death if Dreams Be Loved, by pd lyons

Paris doorway pdlyons photo

Paris doorway pdlyons photo

In Death if Dreams Be Loved

she had stayed awake before
afraid of her own dreams

now 5:30 in the morning
he had come to her
so real she cursed god
for his death

until once more when sleep had taken her
without words he came
sat with her on deep scorch-less grass

head to head
 bright his eyes kept her breathless
until once more was gone


How The Woman Alone Brought Rain To The Island, by pd lyons

Back in the early 90’s  was fortunate enough to spend some time in & around Hawaii. This piece comes from that time. It was published in a little chap-book by Lapwing Press. It was the first time a book of my poetry was published. I will always be  extra grateful to Denis Grieg, the editor – because of him my Dad got to see my work in book form. That it was an Irish publisher just made it even better for him.


mix media by morgan lyons

mix media by morgan lyons


What if the Rainbow Hunters

Reached down to her,

There in the crevice of fresh water.

Wouldn’t their grass wrapped hands

Protect her?

And the children,

What if they stood by her

In the crevice of clear water.

Couldn’t their songs disguise her?

What about the crazy ones?

What if they ran in mixed up circles around her

There by the crevice of fresh water.

Wouldn’t their waggling red hairs

Conceal her?

And the High Priest,

What if he were to return, fulfill the ancient legend,

Blessing her

There in the crevice of clear water.

Wouldn’t his centuries of prayers

Absolve her

From the wrath,

From the armed bow wrath.

From the arrow,

From the pinning arrow,

Of the warrior,

Of the sun.



from: Searches For Magic by PD Lyons, Belfast Lapwing, 2001,

ISBN 1 898472 59 9

On My Mother’s Side, poetry by pd lyons

riverside waterbury ct

riverside waterbury ct


On My Mother’s Side

My mother never told me
The one thing I’d ‘a listened to most.
Diagnosed with cancer (7 years before it killed her.)
Deciding to keep it to herself,
She did exactly what it wanted –
Believing it was for her children’s benefit, how would she refuse?

Besides my mother came from a family of secrets
Dark Sicilian secrets emanated from
Every Sunday dinner table that ever was
Ebb   Flow   Echo   Repeat
Dance through generations none of us immune

~ free from all the ancient stories we
could have held the woman who gave us birth
cried any tears together
faced fear until it became compassion
looked into her eyes knowing it was goodbye
and that there would never be another word between us ~


“On My Mother’s Side” by PD Lyons read by Author
From “Caribu and Sister Stones” published by Belfast Lapwing 2009
ISBN 978-1-905425-90-7

Somewhere Still by pd lyons for donald lyons with regards to WB Yeats

This year I notice that Father’s day and WB Yeats birthday ( June 13, 1865 ) are close. So with that in mind I’m re posting the following poem that i wrote for my father and mother along with my fathers favourite WB Yeats poem,  Song of the Wandering Aengus. It was the poem I tried to read at his funeral but was unable to do it any justice. My father was the book man of the family his collection of books was a constant inspiration and resource for me growing up. He read me Longfellow, Kipling, Shakespeare  before i could read. He gave me Tolkien when i was 11, he gave me Henry miller when i was older, he gave me WB Yeats and Aubrey Beardsley, Tanith Lee and Djuna Barns, Brautigan and Shakespeare….

He was a Marine in the South Pacific, he was a policeman ( https://pdlyons.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/cop-by-pd-lyons/  ) in an old mill town, he was a seller of out of print books, he was the guy who loved my mother very much and no matter what when the chips were down he was always there for us.

Somewhere Still

Somewhere there is still a place, you sitting in the sun, concrete porch paving slabs, Cape Cod Grey picnic table, small summer savages run, jump, cling, – immune bare foot impervious to sun, skin frosted with salt, lotions, and cake icing.

Somewhere grand children still take your hand, invite you to cross the street walk with them down to the beach, take them sometimes instead to lunch.

Long time companions, comforts old age, afternoon naps, books, mail order catalogues, big band music and too those ever-dangerous memories – a love, a marriage, a death, a wound never in twenty-three years of healing cured…

Somewhere still she takes you by the hand, Ohs your name, laughs into the open window, ’55 Chevy, summer bright chrome, so close to flying great American V8 highways through the Canadian border dwindling into heavy Nova Scotia sands.

There has never been an ocean too cold for her to swim in, long after you retreat to safety – flamingo towels, Knickerbocker beer, USMC Zippo, Old Gold cigarette spiral prayers, gratitude at last, unable to fathom any reason to feel bad about surviving.  Deep breath wonderful (not a god damn palm tree in sight), watch that woman of the sea. Only wish there would never have to be a time to leave.

Later she gets tipsy; saying yes when the barman offers to sweeten her drink , not knowing that here to sweeten means more liquor. Out on the dance floor, hold each other tight as you want ‘cause she’s your wife now and you’ve always liked the Mills Brothers.

Sometime after midnight, small cedar room, Stuart tartan blankets, crisp white sheets, strange night sounds traipsing gingham curtains, as if tiny fingers she ohs your name, answer back with words you never knew before.

This spring by the sea your little house will not find you. Gone now. Perhaps to wander?  That glimmering girl once more beside you…

“And pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun”

(For: D.R.L. – with regards to W.B., his favourite poet)

~from Wanting To Be In The Old Tongue – poems of an Irish Descent, by PD Lyons, 2011, ISBN 1466272996




by: W.B. Yeats

WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ is reprinted from An Anthology of Modern Verse. Ed. A. Methuen. London: Methuen & Co., 1921.





Picture 108





Fore Abbey, by PD Lyons


Fore Abbey

Whiskered wooden posts
Decorated by bits of rusted star crossed metal
Silhouettes upon the hillsides
Random marks above the weeds
As if graves of unknown beings

Silent but for crows
Tied like rags upon an invisible thread
Suspended ever changing from an ever changing sky
More shades of grey than words I know

And when the sun
Ignites as far as I can see
A brief and brilliant green such as emeralds could only dream
Sure as this November morning makes each breath a smoky prayer
I know this rolling valley is the wherever I should exactly be

Cut stones shifted by anonymous hands
Nameless legacy bequeathed from each to each
Now held by my own
What lingers here for however long

Richer than any fame
Black earth by sparkling pebble beds
Fed by springs that have no end
Remembered by some other unknown soul

All who left their mark upon this land.


A version of this appeared in the Irish American Post in 2006. It’s good to be home.



The Disappeared by pd lyons; calliope nerve version


The Disappeared

Along the lane
Straight down as rain
Without wind
Without sound
Wrapped in briar vines
Emerging posts of bone
As if some ancient mariner
Draws me in a secret un-gloved caress.
I wanted to keep you for myself.
I wanted you to stay, because you went.
But the police,
After further questioning
Came up with ideas all their own
And in so doing, made contact with
The families of the disappeared.
To men in long wrinkled coats, they speak,
A fog of voices drifting apart,
Before reaching any type of destination.
Taking turns, cast looks around,
As if this really were sea
And answers like shoals of silver fishes lurk
Just beneath the surface.
Careful. Pretending not to notice
How each movement flickers in the lights
As if this really were all some cinematic image
Screened with no one but the actors in the audience.
Their silence magnifies only certain sounds:
Elastic latex snap,
Slicing shovel slaps,
Unsteady cigarette sighs,
Plastic, almost echo, abruptly ending zip.
Believing their expectations to be accurate predictions
They came for something clear and full of meaning,
Something settling and complete,
To find, as if some great surprise,
Only the obvious inescapably revealed.
Unlike them I know you not by what you’ve lost,
But rather by what you’ve brought back.
It was that which drew me
In secret un-gloved caress
And now plays out
Along the landscapes of my every night
And haunts my every morning with regret.
I wanted to touch that forbidden you again.
To trace upon that more secret map
Etched, invisible to the naked eye,
Every line of your journey.
To put my lips to you,
Circling with the tip of my tongue,
So that I’d know, everything.
I wanted to sift your powder through my fingers,
Into that coloured jar covered with a brass cap,
Tucked into my bedside drawer,
Sprinkled, whenever I wanted,
Not just as some aphrodisiac
Or good luck charm across my bed
But so, engendered with bodily fluids
You’d take on some other life
And I’d find out,
Just exactly, what it was, that I’d be thinking
As I lay there in the dust
Of the disappeared.




this version originally published by Muse Thing: The Calliope Nerve http://calliopenerve.blogspot.ie/search/label/PD%20Lyons



this was published in 2010 by another cool named yet now defunct blog zine. the archives are still “live” on line. you would find a great many darker artists represented there. the editor was very kind to me and of course many others. the poem has to do with what it says which unfortunately is a rather world wide theme although it does have an Irish slant; so i think that’s enough said. it was probably written in 1998 or so when i had first moved from the USA to Ireland. we were living in an old two story farm house in county Cavan, a bit in the middle of no where – our nearest neighbours were the cattle in the fields and the crows nesting in the giant yew trees.


may all who journey remember

may all who journey remember



For Ursula by pd lyons


many years ago, sitting in the smoking section of the Silas Bronson library Waterbury ct. read a few books wrote a few things. read some poetry by Joyce Carol Oates and then some essay by Ursula Le Guin. one of the poems i wrote i sent with a fan letter to Ursula. she was kind enough to respond saying the poem hit her right in her “major response zone”. something I never forgot. thirty some odd years later a version of the poem was published in an Irish magazine called  The SHOp a magazine of poetry; #9 summer: //www.theshop-poetry-magazine.ie/

Below is the letter and the original poem which she so graciously commented on:

Letter to LeGuin.

I didn’t want to read anything LeGuin had to say about writing. I knew her words would press on me, drawing me back into the writing mania. I was right. I shouldn’t have but I did read her essays and I found (of course) a line that I snatched up like one would have a ten dollar bill found on a busy sidewalk. Looking around making sure no one noticed, making sure it really was mine, that it really was my lucky day – “Art like sex cannot be carried on indefinitely solo; after all they have the same mutual enemy, sterility.”

I am going to paint words in black letters on a white background and hang it in my December exhibition. (With of course her permission.) However as grateful as I am I refuse to write or paint about a dragon; no matter how much I want to….

For Ursula

I had to write one poem

which took thousands of years

to write

thousands of years

to translate

and thousands of years to be brought to dragons

who took another thousand years to read it aloud.

It was only after many lives

that I finally heard the last word

and by then I no longer believed in dragons

so it made no sense.


Calling It Love, a poem by pd lyons

back in 1985 i spent a month in Hamburg. it was January and it was one of the coldest ever. this is a poem from then

Calling It Love

Black Sea, palm tree dreams,

recorded Springsteen’s Badlands,

philosophic gift to a lover

borrowed from your room mate,

when you lived on a street named for lanterns.

Wrapped in your long black coat,

cross the city underground,

through heavy draped doorways,

nuzzle into smoke, and hot grog.

timeless sailors, reluctant to approach,

as if they knew something steel hidden in your pocket.

The last time you were here –

making cigarettes for a lover

borrowed from your room mate.

conversation a blur. Cinema forgotten,

unburdened in a room above the kiosk.

all sense of betrayal excused by adventure…

Next morning, walking home

dry steel footsteps echo,

as even you found yourself

believing in what you knew was not

and calling it love.

for cordula


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