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This Quiet House – a Poem for Galway 2020


This year, Galway city and county are hosting the European Capital of Culture, which means a celebration of culture throughout the area.  While some exhibitions, performances and activities have been affected by Covid 19, there is still much to see here.

County Galway is of particular personal significance to me, as my husband and I have holidayed there on several occasions, always discovering further layers of natural beauty.

A few years ago, we experienced tranquility at its purest level in Leenane, along with some extraordinary scenery, which I talked about, at length, in a previous post called The Magic of County Galway.  

Before that, when our first daughter was just five months old, we went looking for adventure in Maam Cross, where there is a replica of the cottage depicted in the 1952 film, ‘The Quiet Man’, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’ Hara.

At the time of our visit, not many other tourists were present, so we had the time and space to breathe in the atmosphere and allow our imaginations to flashback memories of the film. 

Hopefully, this poem captures the sensation.

This Quiet House

There are ghosts
in this quiet house.

I pause under John Wayne’s arm;
his true presence was his voice —
notes of a banjo,
long-held, swung-down.

Maureen O’Hara stands
with a pride fulfilled by her
red-gold mane, she is
hands-on-hips, eye-locked intense.

I expect her to tut

but there is no breath
in this hush-filled house —
only the wind sucks in,
bellows out.

K. S. Moore

Photo by Sjaak Kempe on Foter.com / CC BY

For Dylan – a Poem on Dylan Day


It’s International Dylan Thomas Day – #DylanDay / #DyddDylan, if you’re looking for related posts on social media.  I’ve written a new poem to mark the occasion, inspired by thoughts of Dylan Thomas’s vital presence in poetry, the sound and feel of his words and their influence on my own writing path.

I remember looking at the Dylan Thomas statue in Swansea’s Marina and thinking he must have been someone very special.  I grew up surrounded by his memory – the Dylan Thomas Theatre, the Dylan Thomas Centre (where I would later perform my own poetry) and the Dylan Thomas Birthplace.  Close to the birthplace was Cwmdonkin Park, where Dylan would have walked and played as a boy.  The discovery of a stone there, bearing a famous quote from Fern Hill brought him to life for me, but that’s another story: Love Song – Poetry for Dylan Thomas Day.

Today, I want to focus on the man as inspiration – so many writers would not be writing without his example.  His poems gave us a new and unique way of reading and understanding language and have encouraged our own experiments.  If poetry is our deepest means of expression, let us never be afraid to go further for the right words.  It matters.

For Dylan

You of the spiral-shell curls,
the sea-chained voice.
No wonder the waves
made a play for your soul,

called you to find
every treasure of words:
all huddled sounds,
all glistered truths.

And when you found them,
how you cried of
windfall, heron priested shores.
I love your words: they are pages of me.

And as I was young, not easy,
they held the seeds of a life
I would tread, the how shall my animal
questions   this crossroads.

K. S. Moore

In Bloom – for Poetry Day Ireland


When I heard that this year’s theme for Poetry Day Ireland was ‘There will be Time’, I thought of this poem.  ‘In Bloom’ is a poem of childhood – the stage of life when we think we have so much time, when time seems to open up before us.  For me, it opened up as a series of paths, shaded by the trees of *Clyne Gardens.  Flowers were all around me, with rhododendrums and azaleas most prevalent.  Then there was the duck pond, the streams, the Japanese Bridge, the steps up to Joy Cottage, not to mention vast stretches of sunlit grass. I lived so close to Clyne Gardens that I felt ownership of it.

It was William Graham Vivian (the millionaire of Clyne) who began the story of Clyne as we know it by purchasing ‘Clyne Castle’ in 1860.  He spent a lot of time and money on developments before the estate passed to his nephew, Algernon in 1921). Algernon (known as The Admiral), was responsible for introducing many varieties of blooms and his tastes are reflected in the famous features, such as the Admiral’s Tower and the Gazebo.

If we know anything about time, it is that we only have so much.  But youth can be misleading . . .  Happy Poetry Day Ireland, everyone!  I hope you enjoy this new poem.

Clyne Gardens is in Mayals, Swansea, South Wales

In Bloom
A Clyne Gardens Childhood

Here, I breathe in colour.

The scarlet azalea
waits in the dip,
awash with petticoats.

Undone they are trampled hearts.
Aligned they are stepping stones.

I choose to walk,
am led to the Japanese bridge,
to the handkerchief tree.

If tears grew, they would grow
on these branches.

I lean into river-song:
rush in my ears,
white in my eyes,

climb to the fairy-tale cottage,
find courage

to let my feet gather the hill:
its sky-hewn sea view
glitters with houses.

I fall, over-dazzled,
hide in the cedar tree;

canopy leaves a quieter home.

K. S. Moore

Photo by Gareth Lovering Photography on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Body of Sound – Poem for U2


I discovered U2 at the age of 15. A replay of Live Aid introduced me to ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and all that fierce togetherness, fronted by an unforgettable Bono.  He had something I couldn’t quite identify at the time and perhaps I still can’t: musicality, fire, presence, defiance, empathy – he had all those things and more.  He was also able to deliver those qualities on a huge scale, to a huge audience.  

I went out to buy a U2 album and found ‘War’.  ‘War’ was a spiritual experience, coming to my ears through my headphones, infiltrating my soul.  Drowning Man held a particular power, with the melody seeming to move in dragging whirlpools; the vocals an urgent appeal.  The quiet, renewing energy of ’40’ was its own spell – I fell under it and the world felt different.    

Two years later, I was lucky enough to see U2 in concert at Wembley Stadium.  I was quite far back, on my feet amongst sweaty strangers, but my eyes found the band and never lost the connection.  When Bono and the Edge stepped out onto a platform to perform an acoustic version of ‘With or Without You’, they were singing to me.

Fast forward to 2018 . . . I had just lost my Dad and my husband bought me a subscription to the U2 fan club.  Tickets were about to go on sale for their upcoming concert in Dublin and I had access to the presale.  Somehow, I managed to secure tickets in the front row of the seated section.  Part 2 of what felt like a dream sequence was about to unfold and I would have my husband beside me!  

The concert was incredible.  A giant screen lifted to reveal the band in all their glory and so close! Yes, they were older, but their journey and unshakeable bond had become part of the music.  Afterwards, I thought about the band as a whole and how important each member was to creating that unique sound.  I wrote this poem.


Body of Sound

U2, Dublin, 09/11/2018

and the drums make a song
of our heartbeats, lead them
to stronger rhythms;

the bass is in our blood,
deepens every present feeling.

Guitar is our pleasure, strings
work like muscles, override
any music we might have believed

before a man walked in grace,
singing for us, the gathered unheard;
giving us voices we didn’t know we
possessed — the longest semibreve.

K. S. Moore

Photo by U2start on Foter.com / CC BY

Leaping Fairy – A Poem for Good Friday


I’ve always been fascinated by the story of the Cottingley Fairies. At the age of seven, the thought of two girls managing to capture images of the most illusive of creatures was sustaining.  If there could be proof of magic, there could be proof that life was extraordinary and I would continue to believe.

Some years later, my parents bought me a copy of ‘The Coming of the Fairies’ by Arthur Conan Doyle. Here was a chance to see all the photographs collected in one place and to read his views on the matter.  It seems that he was totally taken in by the ‘evidence’ and thoroughly absorbed by it all.

Looking closely at the photographs for myself, I could see that that the fairies had probably been drawn, cut out and placed against various backgrounds. However, the old fashioned, black and white appearance of the pictures lends an otherworldly quality to them that is almost credible.

What I remember most about my own exploration of the ‘truth’ in this true life story is the fact that my parents never told me it was a hoax.

Leaping Fairy
(Inspired by photo: Frances and the Leaping Fairy)

Paper cuts her a figure:
damson wings,
honey-burst hair,

lines of her body
made in the image
of flower stems.

In flight
her shape
is a calligraphed letter —

the start
of a name,
an existence.

K. S. Moore

‘Leaping Fairy’ is a poem from my magic and myth themed pamphlet in progress, ‘When seaweed is Medusa’s hair’.

Photo by Blue Square Thing on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Crown – Poem


This new poem, ‘Crown’ is inspired by the threat of coronavirus and examines the image of the crown (corona, in Latin) as an unwanted fate.  The closest we can get to ‘running free’ in these circumstances is to get outside for some fresh air.  I have been particularly moved by video footage of Italian people, singing from their balconies. It’s important to remember that spring is still out there for us and if we are alone, we are alone together.  


I’m not ready to wear this crown,
although the spikes are primed
and the scent of roses,
left over from plague,
taunts my nostrils,
causes high spots
on my cheeks.

I abdicate,
run free in my mind
where there are fields
and lake-rippled skies,
where flowers turn their heads to see
people in their watchtower windows,
leaning into spring.

K. S. Moore

Photo by trainjason on Foter.com / CC BY

Changeover – Spring Poem


The poem, ‘Changeover’ was written after a spell of extreme weather and holds a lot of hope. There may be a few storms left to come, but I’m ready to welcome spring.

There is certainly a little more light in the day — daffodils and crocuses are raising their heads and when we do get sunshine, the colour of the sky seems to have more presence, more staying power.

Let’s remember that feeling when world news threatens our inner calm.


When the sea makes snow
it cries in cloud form,
winter is held to its face.

Breath freezes in waves
on a grey underchurn,
day after lightless day.

March offers peace —
a raw brow, but one that
might soften in morning sun.

Let it be spring, this
sea-storm a chance to
fine-tune the patter —

tears now dew; the sky
unpeeled to a
new, exposed cobalt.

K. S. Moore

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

Valentine’s Day – Poem


I see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate love in all its forms. Last year, I was treated to homemade heart-shaped biscuits in bed, delivered by my eldest daughter, who is now five.  They were delicious!

My husband can be romantic, on occasion, and sometimes surprises me with a special gift or gesture. One of my most treasured memories is of the time we travelled up to London together to see George Michael at Earl’s Court.  We had a lovely three course meal in Knightsbridge (opposite Harrods), then headed to the concert, hand in hand.

George Michael is my all time favourite singer, so there was such a thrill to that night and it was wonderful to be able to share it with the love of my life. We found our seats and settled in for the show.  George Michael’s rich vocals sounded even better as part of a live performance and he had so much energy.

At the interval, my husband disappeared for a while, returning with a glass of wine for me and nothing for himself. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness and the fact that he was by my side for this once in a lifetime rush of experience. I have never forgotten the moment. And now I have preserved it in a poem . . . Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Valentine’s Day

The glass of wine
you bring me at
the interval
is heartful.

My heart sounds
the gesture, echoes
it rich.

the velveteen crossfire
of blood,
circles contracting like
opening petals.

I give you this rose.

K. S. Moore

If you enjoy love poetry, look out for my poem, ‘Love Song’, soon to be published in the spring issue of Atlanta Review!

A branch of hearts

More than Winter – Poem


‘More than Winter’ began with a memory, and a photo that emboldened the memory. When I was around 12 / 13 years old, one of my favourite things to do was to go on a Sunday road trip with my Mum and Dad.

Dad was quite an adventurous driver and liked to try new routes and places. Winter weather didn’t deter him; he would go looking for snow and he never seemed to lose his sense of wonder, as so many people do.

I think we were on the way back from The Mountain Centre in the Brecon Beacons when Dad spotted a waterfall and suggested that I stand beside it for a photograph. I wasn’t that keen to get out of the car, as it was such a cold day, but when I did, there was something about the movement of the water and the chill air that energised me. I found myself breaking into an enormous smile.

The smile now lives in an album containing my most precious photos from that point in my life and is proof that magic exists through nature.

More than Winter

I was so young.
I stood at the edge of a waterfall,
cried her happy tears,

let her dress me in silver-white,
a lace so fleeting,
it could not be shaped.

I wore it in moment, and later,
in memory, a fishtailed bride
before I knew romance.

Living for Sundays,
the worn, stitched
mountains, Dad at
the wheel, my hands
on Mum’s shoulders.

Ears popping, miles on,
air stealing ice — it was
more than winter.

K. S. Moore

Photo by Anton Atanasov from Pexels