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Magic Words Poetry Reading


It can be lonely in lockdown.  It’s a state we’re getting used to, but it doesn’t get any easier.  I think it’s important to communicate through the channels that are still available to us and to cherish every precious word.  My poem ‘One Hundred Words’ aims to reach out to others through its own voice.

The arts can also be healing at this time.  I love dance, (ballet, in particular), so I have watched some performances online.  Swan Lake never loses its magic and has formed the inspiration for my poem ‘White Swan’, which is the second poem included in the poetry reading below.  So, relax, have a watch and let me know what you think with a like or comment.  I’m still building my YouTube audience at the moment and could do with every bit of support.


Many thanks to photographer Zoe Harris, for offering me the use of this beautiful new swan picture, taken in Suffolk.  My poem ‘Swallow Chicks’ recently featured alongside a collection of Zoe’s photos, which appeared in the Suffolk 50 – 50 Digital Exhibition.

White Swan photo taken by Zoe Harris in Suffolk

Photo by Zoe Harris

Eggshell Flesh – A Poem for National Poetry Day


Happy National Poetry Day!  This year’s theme is ‘Vision’, which put me in mind of one of my most popular poems, ‘Eggshell Flesh’.  It’s the title poem from my full collection and it first appeared in The Lonely Crowd in 2018.  The poem is written in the voice of my pregnant self – visualizing my daughter to be.

In my second pregnancy, I felt more relaxed and able to write about the experience, but having gone through excruciating pain in my first labour, I was worried about having to give birth again.  Writing ‘Eggshell Flesh’ helped me to clearly imagine the baby that would join our family.  I found myself remembering that first embrace – the instant entwining of lives and the love that begins and never ends.

For me, the phrase ‘Eggshell Flesh’ crosses between mother and child, embodying a shared vulnerability and a new relationship that must grow in order to endure.

Eggshell Flesh

I carry your eggshell flesh against my swelling veins,
my bones have bowed to your movements
as you paddle, flail, grow.

Electric shocks of your blossoming self,
strike me at times of rest, and your whale waves
ripple my belly, let me guess which limb is pressing.

When my skin protests,
it tightens,
starts a tick-clock pulse,
reminds me of labour’s
back-beating sickness,
my trusted mountain visuals.

Let me visualise you, graceful cherub,
your face, your eyes, your baby-bird hair,
the feeling we are made for this lifelong hold.

K. S. Moore

First published in The Lonely Crowd, 2018

Photo by Jnzl’s Photos on Foter.com / CC BY

Perspective – Poetry Reading


Could the way we look at things change what happens to us?

Welcome to ‘Perspective’ – Episode 2 in a new series of poetry readings.  All the poems in this series are available to watch here and on YouTube.

Each poem in this particular episode came from a poetry prompt, issued by Poetry Ireland’s Poet in Residence: Catherine Ann Cullen.  The view from the scaffold got me thinking of a time when we were in the middle of renovating our current home.  We had scaffolding set up for a number of months.  Although the house itself didn’t look great at that point, the view already felt like home – with its trees, fields and hills in every shade of green.

The prompt of Atropos seemed terribly significant at that early stage of the pandemic.  I worried about every person precious to me.  I thought about my own life and of all the things I hadn’t done – would I still get to do them?  I imagined this ‘bringer of death’, poised to cut the thread of my existence.  When we are under threat, what can we do, but make the most of each moment?  We don’t know how long our lives will be, so we need to really live while we are alive, be open to all experiences.

When I saw the prompt, Reflection, I remembered the Alfred Lord Tennyson quote: ‘The mirror crack’d from side to side’ from his poem, ‘The Lady of Shalott’. There is a sense of doom about that poem and it’s true that mirrors can be the source of a lot of negativity. We start and end the day looking in the mirror. No one else will ever scrutinize our appearance in this way. But can we ever truly see ourselves, when it’s just a reflection that meets our gaze? And then there’s the fact that the image we see is everchanging . . . I wanted to write about finding the true self by looking elsewhere.

Hopefully, these three poems will help to bring some positives into focus.  Belief in the self and in good things has certainly helped me to keep moving forward in these difficult times.

Photo by K. S. Moore

Nature Heals – Poetry Reading


When we are held still, let us be held close to all that grows . . .

Welcome to the first episode in a new series of poetry readings.  Each video will feature three poems, written in lockdown and reflecting on solace in nature, inner strength and hope.  The poems will be available to watch here and on YouTube. Here’s ‘Nature Heals’.

Back at the start of lockdown, I had few words and a lot of worries. I started following the daily prompts on Twitter, from Poetry Ireland’s Writer in Residence, Catherine Ann Cullen, and found myself able to write out some of my fears and some of my comforts. My garden took on a new significance with its circles of clover, budding poppies and shade giving trees. 

When the poetry prompt of ‘rain’ was issued, I found myself turning to these features – how they glistened after showers. ‘Welcome to the garden’ also refers to the fact that under coronavirus regulations, gardens had become the place to meet, greet and entertain guests.

Meanwhile, ‘Lichen’ is a poem dedicated to that extraordinary organism. Easily mistaken for a parasite, it has always fascinated me that it is actually a giver of life, a provider of oxygen.  

My third poem, ‘Sky’ was born in the middle of the night, when the only sky I could look to was heavy and dark. My mind brought restless clouds into focus.  Our weather is so changeable, it can be hard to settle into any daily pattern. But there is always that promise of elevation and new views. 

The next episode in my series is called ‘Perspective’ and will explore this concept further.  The video will go live on YouTube next Thursday 17th September, with a blog post to follow – do check back! Meanwhile, stay well in nature.

Day Trip Philosophy – a Poem for Dad


Day Trip Philosophy is a poem that remembers my Dad. It focuses on the memory of a day trip to Gliffaes Country Hotel, where we would often go for tea.  The grounds were vast and seemed full of stories.  There was a little wooden hut, where people could take pause before heading down to the river.  For us, it opened up the view and our expectations of rushing water, perhaps the glimpse of a fish.

This particular occasion felt extra special.  Both my parents were in good spirits and Dad (perhaps looking at me as a teenager, almost a woman) was recalling his younger days. He had an album of army photos that he was proud to show off and it made me proud to think that he had set off boldly to do his National Service, having already spent a lot of time away from home at boarding school.  I was such a homebody at the time – I don’t think I would have managed so well.

Dad’s experiences made him value family and home more than most.  He encouraged us to be explorers, but also loved having us around.  At the end of a day trip, he always asked if I had enjoyed the day.  And of course, I always had.  

Day Trip Philosophy

To give the hut a name, it was
river hut / mud house, sat on a view
of ripples and salmon-flight.

We threw stones to a sky that breathed,
talked of the days when you smoked
a pipe . . . I was a whisper then.

You had a young-dad head of curls,
a friend who could have been Elvis.
Army adventures slipped under years,
surfaced in black and white photos.

That spring, we bonded through
wild green tree time, ran
to the rambling hotel for tea.

Your voice turned tender on the drive home:
Did you enjoy the day?
An overgrown youngest child, I nodded,
holding this last hour to heart.

Your Day Trip Philosophy mends us all:
restless daughters looking for waves,
a tired husband who needs a dream, and me,
not growing, losing you has made me a child again. 

K. S. Moore

Photo by a7m2 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let Down – Poetry Reading


Let Down is a lockdown poem sprinkled with fairytale magic, ready to tell a story in verse and tell it out loud . . .

I’m currently working on a magic and myth themed poetry pamphlet, so I’m often thinking in fairytales . . . Around two weeks into lockdown, I was looking at my eldest daughter’s hair and noticing how long it had grown, when I recalled an image of Rapunzel’s hair streaming down the front of her tower. That fairytale premise had become a reality for us all, (not that we were using our untrimmed hair to admit visitors)!

I wondered how others were coping, particularly young people. When I was a teenager I used to walk everywhere (and I mean miles). I would go to a friend’s house, to the shops, to the beach, would meet up with a group, sometimes a boyfriend. . . I had so much freedom. My only enemy was heavy rain! When forced to sit at home, I would search for books I hadn’t read and sometimes write my own stories or poems.

At the start of lockdown, I couldn’t write much, but with the help of regular prompts from Poetry Ireland’s Writer in Residence, Catherine Ann Cullen, the words came back.  Perhaps imagination is the new freedom.

‘Let Down’ features in the current issue of Skylight 47, which has just launched on Zoom. If you would like a copy go here, but hurry – they are selling fast!

We Speak – a Poem for Parents


‘We Speak’ is a poem for mums and dads. As parents, our days are already tightly bound by routine – early starts, healthy meals at sensible intervals, drop offs and pick ups, not so early bedtimes and middle of the night calls . . . Since lockdown and the closure of schools, our time has shrunk down further still.

‘We Speak’ moves towards a moment of togetherness for parents at the end of the day, whilst following the parallel track of a child’s language development.  As we delight in our children’s progress and celebrate them finding their voices, it is important not to lose our own.  Without that means of expression and without a connection to each other as a couple, the family unit is incomplete.

We Speak

It’s a mystery, how the mind upscales
from primitive sound
to intricate, webbed sentence,

catches the listening ear;

word on word torrents,
the kind that stream on late nights
when light dips under eyelids.

Hands find each other
and sides align, looking
for union in this timely space.

When the day has drained
to a few specks of moment;
we speak and we are heard.

K. S. Moore

Photo by Geoff Livingston on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Attracta Fahy – Live for Fly on the Wall – Review


Attracta Fahy‘s chapbook, ‘Dinner in the Fields’ has been my close companion in lockdown.  I have lived the East Galway landscape through the words – all that golden warmth, long summers, the texture of grass, hay and stone . . . In Killererin, graveyards lose their spectral frames, become part of the community, and through childhood memory they will live forever.  These sensations of light and life were further enhanced by Attracta’s online reading for Fly on the Wall Press on Friday, 19th June.

It was a joy to hear about Attracta’s love for the land, her affinity with local history and her enduring connection with childhood friend Norrie. The first poem read, called ‘Vigil’ introduces us to the parish, acting as a walkway ‘over the five ‘fairy forts’ and ‘church stiles’, acknowledging a traditional, strong belief in God, and the stone, which still has such presence, despite being only noticeable in ‘faint outlines . . . hidden in ruin’. The description ‘time’s watermark’ is indelible, certain proof of Killererin’s history.  And then, the calling out of names at the end (revealed by Attracta to include the names of her grandparents) is an affirmation of the people who lived that history.

When Attracta read ‘Our Sleeping Women’ the spirits of her grandmothers were revived.  In the poem, their encouragement from the grave is made vocal, as they urge their granddaughter to be heard: ‘scream yourself into your body’.  It’s almost as if they can move into her physical form through this intense means of communication.  At last, a truth underlined by survival instinct is uttered: ‘the only real home yourself.’

I was delighted when Attracta shared the title poem ‘Dinner in the Fields’. The openness of the fields is a welcome and that sense of sunshine and belonging could be felt on a deeper level when hearing them in the author’s voice.  I love that central image of taking refreshment in the outdoors, as if the food is more than an offering to the workers, is perhaps an offering to the land, too.  Also, that final picture of ‘bodies stretched in the light’ – shadows as an echo of all those tired bodies have achieved.

A poem I did not hear, but would like to highlight as my favourite from ‘Dinner in the Fields’ is ‘Fall on Me’. This poem speaks so clearly to me, as I am also a mother and can see those moments of parting ahead of me, can only imagine how terrifying it must be to let a child go.  The image of the 2 year old little boy, watching his mother with his new sister, and the line from his own language ‘I darling a mama’ is particularly affecting. My eldest daughter was not quite two when her sister was born and although still so babyish herself, was quick to adapt to a new, protective role. There is a spine-tingling end to the poem, when the boy is given his voice again ‘there are black holes out there Mum, and when you go through them, there are other beautiful worlds.’ 

‘Dinner in the Fields’ is a chapbook to hold to your heart and is available to purchase from publisher, Fly on the Wall.  Attracta’s reading can be viewed here.  

Photo by Infomastern on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Lost Summer – Poem


The sea is more than foam and see through water. It is memory and it is living.  Although I live quite far away from the sea these days, I carry both its sparkle and its raging turbulence – I have seen all of its moods and when I come back into its presence, I think we recognise each other.  I have travelled by boat on numerous occasions, mainly between Ireland and Wales.  I’ve felt the sea flip my stomach and I have fallen asleep to its quieter rhythms.

‘Lost Summer’ was born from the sight of a neglected boat, sinking into sand. I believed this boat had a story. Somebody needed to tell that story.  I thought about the music of the sea, its ability to bear people, as if they were unborn children.  The sea is transformative, it is also  a home to mythical creatures . . . I found myself imagining a rescue – could the rescued person have some sort of siren power or had the sea punished them, destroyed any former love of adventure?  I will let the poem answer.

Lost Summer

The boat leans in,
the quaint side of shabby,
lulled by sea blaze,
pockmarked sand
drawing it closer.

It started with hope, flared
on the waves, rocked
with young voices, old cares,
everyone looked out, felt
the moves revolve within gut,
plaintive notes throbbed a beat.

I missed one, found you,
a circling arm, pale
with striving for shore.
We hauled you in, our siren catch,
wished legends into your
down-to-earth eyes,
turned you against sea.

It was
the rough,
the slow,
the drift.
You poured out,
thankful for sand.

As for the boat,
it languished,
became an emblem
of lost summer.

K. S. Moore

First published in The Lonely Crowd, 2018

Read about the writing process behind ‘Lost Summer’ and other poems, in this online essay published by The Lonely Crowd.

Photo by wallyg on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND