Founders of Lapwing Publications

Poems by Dennis Greig

Taken From December Days  


The steel I work is the poem I write,
hour by stanzaic hour.
Tidal is the light yawed and yawned
between clocking-on and off.

A Moiré fringe measures
the precise length of a field
diameter of a hill
and substantiates our circle,
but only to light’s approximations.

Home and love:
always handfuls of scrap astray
in our marginalia, ignored errors,
safety in numbers, formulae,
but a precisely measured, machined pin
won’t fit its own match in a honed bore,
and two identical lives
will not accommodate each other
in God’s man-engineered earth.

The steely poem,
work’s stanzaic imperfection,
gives measurement to
my flawed hours,
and the poem I work
is the steel I write.


There in the distance
lines of men
some singing, laughing,
crying, saying,

“Dear comrades in arms remember when…”
There in the street
women of grief
some singing, laughing,
crying, saying,

“Dear sisters in sorrow remember when …”

There in the prison cells
our children
some singing, laughing
crying, saying,

“Dear mother and father remember when…”

There forgotten
the men, women and children
and all of them victims
some singing, laughing
crying, saying

“Dear fugitive future remember us when

X marks the bits of us

Missing …”


Every bullet was engineered
to an interference fit,
to its own calibre.
Not a loose rattle down
worn gun-grooves
but a rifled apology
exploded from muzzles.
Of course, you suffered that.

Explored and plundered,
cracked air and bone;
parabolas whipped through
miles ultimately earthwards.

record every fault and flaw,
post-mortems on my blundered work
detailed each night’s
scrapped diameters.

There are days omitted,
when no one admits,
whose coarse hand
performed this task.
Its cause, some force
matched brain to brawn
for mythical worlds
beyond talk’s narrow limits,
our tongue’s broad skill.


You should have seen the fires.
Belfast’s obsession inflamed his song.

“My kind of town …”
The shrill excitement
of fire-bells and sirens,
syringed its hatred
into sinewy city.

His binoculars trained down
to the kilned town below,
its salt and clay glaze
fixed that terror in his eyes,
he sweated
back in the Belfast blitz.

Helpless now myself,
I feel that hexed star,
the scorch and scar
of who I am
on sleeve and heart
and hear fire-brigades,
ambulances, unmarked cars
screech on their way
to a house in the Diaspora
where apostles
and pyromaniac uncles write …

“You should have seen the Belfast-fires.”

Copyright © Dennis Greig 2007
All rights reserved
The author has asserted her/his right under Section 77
of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988
to be identified as the author of this work.

Poems by Rene Greig

Taken From Through a Hedge Backwards


Brick by stone by brick,
memory by slate by memory,
Stone by brick by stone,
slate by memory by slate.

Deconstruct a house, a home,
time plays slow motion tricks,
weed seed stuck on fuzzy bee’s legs
settles new cracks in red brick walls:
Walls collapse of their own volition,
and the magpie, with his bright blue tail,
surveys his new nested palace,
watches the rainbow ring around the moon,
nature returns, reclaims her own.

Bee by seed by bee,
crack by walls by crack,
seed by bee by seed,
walls by crack by walls.


Last night’s bonfire passions
strained to stay alive.
Smoke subdued the U.V.F.
wall mural’s severe reality.
Ashes told a bedtime story ¾
all that remained, the springs.

Recumbent on the grass
he sprawled beside the ashes.
Black suit concealing dirty vest.
Grubby white trainers
had seen better days.
We believed he was dead.
Who but the dead would rest
beside a smouldering bonfire?

A boom, a boom, a boom, boom, boom ¾
The big bass drum boomed,
snare drums took up the cause -
a-ratatat-tat, a-ratatat-tat,
a-rat ¾ a-rat ¾ a-rat-ta-tat,
‘Oh it’s old but it is beautiful’
accordions played the melody
as ‘The Sash’ engulfed the chit-chat.

He sat up, looked puzzled,
stood up, groomed his jacket,
staggered off pursuing the band.


Behind closed doors wait certain situations;
Entering my bedroom I surprised - her!

Head on my pillow, body in his arms;
I suppose that explains
stray treacherous hairs flecking his clothes,
short blonde strands on my pillow.

The both of us are dark;
I mean me - and - him!

She stares back - I stare back;
her brown limpid eyes plead,

I mean

what would the neighbours say?
The broom-tree’s seedcases
fissling by the bedroom window?
Its laughter that only I could hear.
The mop’s head intimate
in the mouth of the bucket?
Choking giggles underwater.
The gullible vacuum-cleaner
slouching in the cupboard?
All the wind out of its bag.


She won’t submit to winter:
October’s displaced night,
flaying rain along Brown’s Bay,
sand-blown its road,
she copulates photographs;
Does everything originate from darkness?

She won’t submit to winter:
Disdaining forecast rains,
cocooned in fluffy cardigan, open-toed sandals,
her steps measure last night’s pug-milled mud,
rain-washed downhill past her bus-stop.

She won’t give in to winter:
fortyish, in middle-age’s swathing spread.
She still anticipates nappies, wakeful nights.
Someone small, newly out of season
would verify her winter never comes.

Copyright © Rene Greig 1999
All rights reserved
The author has asserted her/his right under Section 77
of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988
to be identified as the author of this work.