New Poetry, Fiction, Essay

5 poems by Dave Kavanagh

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Dave was born and still lives in Loughshinny, a tiny farming and fishing village in the coastal North Co. Dublin. He has been writing since he could hold a pen in his fist. His work has seen recent publication in a number of anthologies as well as online at sites such as madswirl.com and Medium.Dave was the originator of The Blue Nib and now plays second fiddle to the more experienced poet Shirley Bell who has taken the editor’s chair since issue two allowing Dave to develop other initiatives to encourage the writing and reading of new poetry. Dave is married with two wonderful kids and splits his time between Ireland and the island of Fuerteventura. He is currently working on a novel and a first collection of poetry.




The air tasted of the estuary;

wind wiped its eye;

wielding jagged edges, segmenting

sound. Slicing children’s voices; carried

away over a play-ground



History hurried by;

shoulders hunched, sloping

towards conclusions.

The river rising,

painting stains on ancient gabion.


Shushing -as the gritty susurration

of a heel striking sand.


A Pause; a breath held

in the vacuum before the storm.

When clouds paint shadow-maps

on city-scapes.


Darkness. a prophesy or possibility.

At the confluence, where blood meets flesh

she sat.

Perched in storm-light, an émigré,

landed, yet cruciform for flight.


We greet, strangers

in the anonymity of a private room,

where family albums

shout accusations from empty pages.


Revelations, I knew you.

In shadow and shape.

-my own face.


the half seen outline

of a once familiar place.







The healed skin of the quarry

in monochromatic outline;

Keloid scars of claws made flesh

in greened tufts; hoisted too the clear tops.

Of trembling yellow gorse

shimmering; on a windward breeze


The sea returns

the intensity of storm light bouncing

along grey repined walls.

A buzzard lifts, pinned to chalk

path of travel, tracks

air; pierced with plaintive calls.


She speaks of desolation;


of abandonment.

The sign is over grown

twisted limbs

of trumpet vine.


Sand and gravel, visible

for sale; erased,

beneath it’s blue and white

knuckle bones

strangulation masquerades

as embrace.


A vixen crouches

coat soaked to the hem

of her own precipice,

cold dark water paints her face

in perfect symmetry. The last men bolt

the lock and turns the quay.






The Hardness of Geometry


Painting the brilliance of sky. My core touching the softness of elder bark in a frantic, static shock world of arc bright white. The wind up here is sharp and pungent, redolent of hops and burnt grain and diesel fumes. My tongue craves surf and salt and the tang of marsh and mud. My nose the clean stink of razor fish and clams. Mouth tasting in anticipation, chowder and pan fried mackerel.


I am blinded by reflections, glass bouncing a million tiny suns in a billion shattered directions. Men sitting on lunchtime pales and struts. Rivet herders, city fellows that sing songs of Philadelphia streets and fast cars, scarlet molls and gangster rappers. Nothing here of sheep on green banks or black and white wisps chasing whistles and fleece back to cirrus framed barns or the silence of my land.


The lemon blue of the dollar clashes with the hardness of geometry, uprights blinding sight of rivers and lakes. The world seen through a matrix of welders art and rivet guns and bolts as wide as Mary’s waist.

Men up here walk on the edge of nothing, whistling suicide as they ride girders through swaths and slashes of turquoise sky.


The metal road heaves and all I feel beneath my feet is the song of deck boards. And a prayer whispering home, calling exiles back to the quietness of a lovers arms.





I Still Can’t Kick A Ball Straight.


(Conversations with my father)



This occupation of sitting

with legs dangling off hay bales

will pay no rent

when you can’t get up or leave the field.


Your voice is just a faraway now,

a teasing wind that scuffles dandelions

sends fluff and thistledown

tumbling across your emptiness.


Ernest is a washer woman

scrubbing the worn denim in your eyes,

and your workaday wise, on cracked lips

leaking lies -that fed us when soup was thin.


Your crackling grin. You said I adore you,

the way birds do to sky or fish to sea

you carried me on shoulders that sagged

under the weight of growing old.






The air tastes

of the first day of laryngitis,

battery acid,

or the unexpected stench

of rancid butter.


The sea regurgitating,

in violent reflux,

as wave on wave

sucks and heaves

It’s detritus





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