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poems by

Cathal Ó Searcaigh

translated from the Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock



poems of the month

juices from the sun

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face


old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

confession from belgrade

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

gloss on rilke's ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa: a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of
omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard


the rich man and the leper


art, truth and bafflement





the maxims of michel de montaigne

revolutionary maxims

nice men and
suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history




the three bears

three albanian tales

odorous underwear

a little creation story



a curious and peculiar
kind of queer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you


londons of the mind &
dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

a holy dog and a
dog-headed saint

an albanian ikon

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope


this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

combatting normality

fools for nothingness:
atheists & saints

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo





Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

megalith of the month

houses for the dead

ireland and the phallic continuum

irish cross-pillars

irish sweathouses

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths


'western values'









The Pub on a Saturday Night, Cricklewood, London, 1972

They came: the one on his own
the lonely one, and the one who didn't belong anywhere
wild men, bruised men
men of good cheer, men fit to be tied
the digger of ditches and thieving ganger
dirty old men and innocent young fellows.

They came from mean inhospitable lodgings
and desolate joyless rooms,
they came in their Sunday best and in tatters
they came newly combed and washed, they came in filth
handsome they came and ugly
they came for some peace in the refuge of the alehouse.

They came with the melancholy of being caught between two countries,
they came with the torment of cities
to get stark raving drunk they came, to numb their sadness
they came with treachery brewing in the mind, looking for revenge
they came to defend their good name and to strike a blow
they came to lose their desolation in the throng
they came to lodge their tribulations in self-pity.
They came to flee life.


Mandelstam on his Deathbed

I challenged the mob
that dismissed poetry
as a feckless hobby

I spoke of things
forbidden to be told
in this time of infamy

Stalin, czar of horror,
drew my blood
for exposing his twisted ways

But from my death wounds
words will flow in a spate of truth
to damn him for all eternity.
I challenged the tyrant

who suppressed my writings.
My songs will be sung when he lies dumb in the earth.



To Walt Whitman
for Adil Aouji

As usual, Walt, here I am reading your litany of joy as the grass makes an appearance in Mín 'a Leá.
A shower of rain spurting growth, your words bring the hues and urgency of spring flowing through my imagination.
I can hear your gentle laughter behind the words as I utter your love poems.
You need but beckon: what I wouldn't give to be in your arms.
I'm not saying we are blood relations, but we are linked by craft and by leanings.
Brother, give me your hand, tramp of the road, and we will take words on a walk, with an agile leap of the mind, let's take the air, you take the high road and I'll take the low road and the poem between us.
Brother give me your hand. We'll roam over the vast range of your contemplation
and cross the mighty flood of your thought.
Out there in the sunny booley of your hope, we'll stretch our limbs awhile in comfort.
Let's take the luscious juices from the sun.
Out there in the purple evening of the hills, dear one, we'll discover the America of our desires.


Poet of vision, poet of prophecy, green omniscient poet, your camp- fire illumines eternity.
Poetry for you had no boundaries. You were drawn to immensity.
You beheld the spirit's playful spume in oceans, the spill of a boy's
seed on starstruck autumn nights.
Beloved god that needed no theology.
Poet of homage. Poet of streaming expansiveness.
You honoured the great-hearted order of the cosmos.
You could feel the living pulse that nurtured the blade of grass,
that conducted the cycle of the spheres.
Nothing was too big or too small for your canticle of creation.
You were at home in each limb of the dancing universe.
Your imagination took a seven-league leap from one world to the
next. Your poem made safe the path to the abyss.
Your book is as humble as ditch grass, as ambitious as the swell of the sea.
It is my scripture of delight, gospel of joy, full-throated choir, book of wisdom.


Your company lifts my heart, Walt, as I run the gauntlet, as blows are struck.
The mills of life grind rough and smooth.
Nor was your own life a bed of roses. You had your detractors in their hundreds.
And like myself, the love of young men brought you down.
They bad-mouthed you, the evil-hearted ones, proclaiming that your poems - your poems exuding grace -
were nothing but line after line of vice and temptation.
But you never betrayed your own word. You, the kind-hearted one who couldn't harm a midge,
you gave it to them well and good in words of poetry.
The wild scream that challenged them in hymns of love.
The love that could not speak its name uttered itself in fountains of grace.
Poet all-powerful, caress me now in the sacred bosom of your words.
Protect me from evil detractors, the pigeon-hearted and the righteous, the scary whited sepulchres.
Protect me, Walt, from the gang that tried to take your name away from you.
They and their kin are still creating mischief.
Free me from the daughters of treachery and the sons of trickery whose perverted ways have coated my tongue with their scum so that it is hard for me now to raise my voice in the bardic company where I belong.
Give me your gift, Walt, to give every word its true weight, and may every verb strike home so that the barkings of malefactors are rammed back down their throats.


I am reading your litany of delight as grass peeps out in Mín 'a Leá and you, brother, buried in Camden.
But your poem is hale and hearty, voice of spring rising in the green leaves of your humanity.
The world is full of exasperation and malice, and warring factions fill the earth and skies.
Factions of faith, tribes of terror!
You saw more than enough of battle gore, Walt, as you nursed soldiers in their final throes,
in the bloody years of civil war.
You were reminded, more than ever, as you carried out the corporal works of mercy, that our lot was useless unless we showed what it is to be good neighbours with everyone from Brooklyn to Ballybuddy.
A world of exasperation and malice, Walt, but inspired by your poem I look to the peeping grass;
tender grass of brotherhood; rough grass of prophecy; ditch grass of integrity; fragrant grass of truth.
I read your litany of delight, a bad moon on the rise, the bones of the old world have become stale,
a new age of misery about to be born.
And yet, Walt, lovable brother, you forged a fire that brightens my life tonight.
Even now, its glow is palpable.
Your book is the green sod on which I stand alone.



The Berry Hollow of Lag na Sméar

Here are blackberries
in seductive clusters
in heavy tresses

Numberless berries
soaked in the earth's blood
and fired by the sun

Neat produce of tangled briars;
soft juice of autumnal days
wayside banquet

There they hang,
full of lure blushing purple -
a generous spread

My passions are aroused
and prick me as they like
I must have them!

Wild and bloodthirsty
a matter of life and death
each juicy mouthful

I cannot overcome their charms !
every year I plunge my fangs
into their pulsing veins

Their sweet soft bloodiness.
To pass them by
without tasting them

Would send me into paroxysms
of starvation.
Delicious, swollen, lascivious

I fondle them
in the palm of my hand.
Demon of Gluttony am I

The vampire
that licks their pulchritude
with blood-smeared tongue

And how miserable I am
when their sheen is gone
when old age disfigures them

As November drags on
the fairy people do their business
and the bushes stink to the high heavens



Sunday in Mín ’a Leá
Sunday in Gaza

A gentle Sunday
in Mín ’a Leá
I’m unperturbed
in the garden
my counterpart in Gaza
running out of breath
to escape
the next missile attack
the fallout of explosions.

A soft slow sleepy Sunday
in Mín ’a Leá
night will fall into silence
a moon will rise
relaxing in the air
but in Gaza
the sky will ignite
in burning flames
houses will crumble
bones shatter.

On this quiet Sunday
in Mín ’a Leá
how easy it is
to mourn Gaza
as I sit in the garden
enjoying the scent
of newly cut grass
not a care in the world
but the making of a poem.
Not a care in the world
but the making of a poem ?




Headlines of slaughter, horror.
They plunder us, sunder us.
Let the facts of the world
Keep their distance and be still, beloved,
As your tongue explores me
With abundant pleasure.
My treasure, seize the hour. I bow before you,
Willow-wand in the breeze.

In time to come and sooner than you know
We both will be nothing but names on a headstone,
Numbers in an office file.
Brightness of my life, in time neither of us will breathe
Or think of the other,
And the slaughter will continue,
Gore, killing
As it was from the beginning.

And like ourselves, other lovers
Will experience delirium
On the tip of their tongue,
Headlines of slaughter, horror
Plundering them, sundering them,
As they gleefully seize the hour
Bow to one another, sally rods in the wind
Until nothing is left of them

Names on headstones
Numbers in office files.


These poems have been selected from the collection
Out of the Wilderness,
published by The Onslaught Press,
Oxford, England, 2016.

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