2 Poems by Jim Ward

INSOMNIAC

As I lie awake I leave the light switched on – the all-seeing eye.

Frightened by the devil or something stupid.

And there’s always a bump or a thud to back it up…

…the fear.

I’m warm as toast though it’s cold outside.

Body heat, sweat-beads like tears from my skin

tickle me under my blankets.

The time passes slowly; nights are long

but not long enough to sleep in

and dawn will come like an anti-climax changing everything.

When my brain crashes I snooze

till the light – the all-seeing golden eye

calls me back.

I’ve tried darkness to tranquilise, to mollify

but then I’m back – back where it begins

a kid again…

terrified…

listening to his drunken feet on the stairs

cursing and pounding the summit…

…to my room.

BLACK PUDDING

For some reason, it’s thought of as breakfast – 

in among the sausages and rashers,

though we ate it for our tea in the days before dinner 

got moved to evening time.

Black and rich and filling.

The trace of violence in it – like blood rare steak

satisfying some primordial instinct still with us.

‘From pig’s blood,’ I once explained to a visitor

who seemed unshaken. American of course,

not squeamish to hunting or to ‘manning up’ for the kill.

Although reviled by some people sensitive to cruelty,

in some places a delicacy – special guilds dedicated to making it.

Nice eaten washed down with something – strong tea or perhaps 

a wheaty beer like how the Germans enjoy their würst.

Better, even, after a hungry ramble in winter sunlight for a couple of hours

when hunger is earned and –

like tae drunk on the bog – ‘good sauce’.

About the contributor

Jim Ward writes and publishes in English and Irish. His award-winning play Just Guff has toured locally including Town Hall Studio, Galway, Kilkee Playwright Festival, and Liberty Hall, Dublin as part of MayFest 2019. His poem 2016 Proclamation was runner-up in the Galway Bay FM/Thoor Ballylee Poetry Challenge, 2017.

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