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Seamus Cashman

My archers

In quel medesmo tempo ch’io v’adoro (Michelangelo, from a sonnet fragment, 1532)


In the very moment I caress you
my mind channelling your unhappiness
sends me new thoughts of inadequacy.
They penetrate like held piano notes
and stay me – waiting voices to tune in.
Yet in some lesson from my childhood days
there stands an angel herm protecting you,
my archers now released from marble cotes.


We need no messenger to go between
our differences, to herald new carnivals
– nor for dialogue in darkness to begin.
What shard can hold our mirror in the nether
unless fired up, hand in hand on polished skin,
our clays endure this burning kiln together?




Immeasurable expectation

As towers weep and people fall,
the air hooshes, howls and stalls.
Envelops watchers, traps you, hides me.
Come. Sing with the planets of collapsed decks.
In its skyscrapered wrecks
wrap our immeasurable expectation.


Out here the skies light up huddled horizon fears;
out there, seas wash clean the bloody spears
that quartered in disaster’s voices, love hate life death.
Hold my hand, night-time; hold my hand; and lead.
With darkness bandaging the womb’s wound, bleed
light into the channels and the shallows of tomorrow.
And watch remembrance hold and pollinate
some flow of possibility, of song.



The Floor

When washed, the cold stone kitchen floor slabs held dampness for a season except by the fireplace.
Sometimes in summer our feet surprised its solidity.

The sweeping brush dusted off the breadcrumbs; a dropped milk jug shatter-splattered white caricatures –

a face in profile, an elephant,
a bicycle pump,
a splash

– that sniffed out the stale smell of floor cloth.

At night, as we sneaked downstairs for illicit drinks of water,
the chill stone pattern of that floor slid like some gigantic span
beneath our footsoles, stretching out the walkway tunes we stalled on,
and orchestrating knowledge to those outer reaches where
darkness might morph to the softness of our skin



Negative Eclipse

when I closed my eyes
and tried to remember
there was this radiance, this aura
crashing north, south east and west
all points around

if I could float through
understand the hidden here
explore the wilderness and wildness too
then maybe there could be convergence
molecules within, without, and further on
there surely where it is, is where I am
in white
bursting from this black disc
where everything that is me is
and all that is other is without

I cannot stop now
in my breathlessness
or migrained rhythms punching
holes through walls
to find where I had left myself
the last time I stopped to check
to speed on to verify
that I am still here en route



Doing things

He sits tickling the screen
She sits plucking age from cheekbones
He sits huddled to a notebook
She stands cuddling bread
There they are.

When the world walks about
the stars do not stay still
When the breeze drifts through front doors
the must reveals of mouldy leather books

He had forgotten where these were
had opened the cardboard box, seeking space;
now he rubs away the whitish mould,
eyeing the goddess blind-blocked
on its mirror wall

She creates the chik-chik chop of knife,
the tinny tep-tep reverb that the wooden spoon
claims on the rim of a saucepan on the ring,
and then the on-off tap rush and soft scratching rhythms
of dinner sauce mixed in a handle-less cup.
And cupboard doors thud shut.



The mot juste

Each work we write must surely clarify
some thought or image from a fantasy
that sits behind philosophy. One mind
desires a new grotesque; another beams
through reason’s complex mechanistic zoo
or sky strewn clumps of floating stone or gas.
Imagine – sum – subtraction – with – without:
this Love is algebraic agony!

We cross the low divides to find a spin         
for our solutions in a mark or score.
We will triangulate, or part our limbs
by stratagem or guile, reveal the bore;
or strangulate, in words we let slip out,
desires slipped in to shore each cherished fin.