Weekly Poem – Magpie

While there was a little lull in the Geopark Poetry Map proceedings I have been catching up with some house and garden tasks put on the (very) long finger. But now I am again reading submissions, this time from the school children of Curravagh National School and Florencecourt Primary School. With both groups I had introduced the haiku on previous visits pre-Covid 19 and as a preparation lesson before my school visit. In the session I also introduced the poetry form of the cinquain. It is a five liner, but unlike a five line form like the tanka you do have license to rhyme if that is how the muse leads you. In addition, we had to talk about the geoheritage and Geopark site element that was an important component to the poems, too.

While only two children had never visited a Geopark site before, many had visited a wide range of sites across the Geopark – Castle Archdale, Ely Park Lodge, Devenish Island, White Father’s Cave, Pollnagollam Waterfall, as well as sites closer to home like Marble Arch Caves, Claddagh Glen, Shannon Pot and Cavan Burren Park.

However, I was really struck by a poem written by a child who is considered educationally ‘challenged.’ While he did not write a poem about a Geopark site, his poem about the den in his garden was a standout. It had vivid images. His simple language conveyed a contentment and feeling of security and serenity that is marked in these uncertain times. I wish I could include it, but sadly it does not fulfill the geoheritage criteria. But I made sure to write his principal to ensure that he gets some praise heaped upon his head for his very well conceived and executed poem.

It really is both a pleasure and a privilege to be reading all these submissions.

For the weekly poem this week I decided to write a cinquain, too. The five liner runs 2-4-6-8-2 syllables per line. The subject has been haunting me these past few weeks, sometimes, rather unnervingly, peering straight at me through my bedroom window in the morning. Yesterday on my dog walk up to the holy well I happened upon a found object.


edge cobalt blue bleeds
to coal black, finally
transitioning to bottle green:

Meanwhile, it is back to the house and garden tasks. I have a half-finished bedroom that needs the final wall painted. The (fully vaccinated) niece is calling next week and wants to have a peek at all the do it yourself rehab going on. There is also a lot of bindweek and cleavers that needs to be weeded out and burned at the stake!

I hope that you are finding some summertime joy safely, in uncrowded places.

Featured image by Natasha Miller on Unsplash.


Writing practice had to wait. The sun was shining. There were (and still are) garden tasks that need to be done that are a much greater pleasure administered without wet and wind. I grew up on a continent that called these autumn days ‘Indian summer.’ The phrase caught on in the British Isles, which I find patently perplexing. Or perhaps it is just another case of cultural colonisation. Or misappropriation. It was the Columbus Day holiday in the States on October 8th. There has been a movement in past years to rename the holiday Samoset, or Indigenous People’s Day.

Such is the day. It may be a last opportunity to throw all the windows open. So at 3pm I pause and take up my pen today. When I finish there are some tulip bulbs, crocus and narcissi that need my attention.


There is nothing particularly
Indigenous about
sultry, sunny days
with clear azure sky
in October
in Europe

on a day we wish
we had not been so precipitate
in packing away
the short sleeves
the ankle socks
on this day
with the mercury pointing
to 20 degrees C

unseasonal, yes
a little surreal, yes
(given wooly blankets already on beds)
but nothing subcontinent
to the east
or Amerindian
to the west
at all

A solitary magpie
sits in the willow tree,
sermonising the suet ball feeder.
One for sorrow –
that it’s no longer just
a change in weather.
It’s the climate.
Our over-hearing planet
Is all.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith