Poetry from Diarmuid o Maolalai

Primary colours.


the mountains

were blue all over

and the grass was green

and white clouds

cast without shadow;

this picture

so simple, like a child

with poster paint, and sometimes

there really

are no words for the countryside

beyond speaking slowly

in primary colours.


we sat together

on the sheet

wooden pine, unvarnished since winter

and staining

with sunlight,

drinking our coffee

and eating

oatmeal toast

and marmalade. looking down,

across the hill

which made a lawn

and on which the grass flowed


like the surface

of a rolling sea. one car, a silver fin,

patrolled the roadline, gifting us

with easy demarcation;


a way to decide

the end of land

and the beginning

of landscape

you can’t touch.


Cleaning windows


tied off

like crawling animals,

they scuttle

down the building, hurrying their work

as the rain

begins to rain.


the day

was finely

forecast – otherwise

of course

they wouldn’t be there. but the pressure

is plummeting

and clouds

come like horses,

in from every direction, heavier

than buildings,

floating on the grey.


ground-level, old lads watch

the harness – the supervisors

guiding their ties. above, their arms

spin like spiders, holding


their belts

and squirtgun water bottles. inside

work stops

and people watch the windows,

gangly as fat

spiders, swinging

over depth.


the ropes become slick

in their grip

as the storm

thickens. the horizon

is all dirty

and the cleaners




A poet should like things fine.


but the thing is

my coffee

comes instant anyway, and my tea

in cheap bags, just brown

and boiling water. I never spend more

than a tenner on wine

and I like it. don’t cook

steak, and my fruit

is gotten

on special, and whatever is cheapest –

yesterday two euros

bought a punnet

of unripe pears.





too hard

to get lunch.

too hard

to open a window

and see the sun staring

in at you.

too hard to eat broccoli

or leave the house,

even for cigarettes.

too hard to wake up in the morning,

listen that chirpy

fucker alarm clock

and want to go to work.

too hard to –

too hard.


I want to lie on the sofa,

eat eggs

and turn off the radio.

I want to stay asleep

with blackout blinds down

and wake

and not know what time it is.

I want the carpets to curl

with age and mildew

and the doorlock

to break

with rust

and uselessness.


the world will end in fire

or flood if it must;

I want to die

without anyone surprised

they haven’t heard from me.





what ever happened

to the penny-sweet

counter, and children

don’t say “doggie” anymore –

have you noticed? it’s

“doggo” now – the influence

of internet. to say words

like “doggie”

or talk about penny-sweets

sounds quaint all of a sudden,

like “what in tarnation”

or “goodness” instead

of “fuck”, and birds you never saw

are common birds. I guess

this is my first shot

at becoming

old, really. watching words

which I grew up with

being torn out

by new words. evolution. like the garden

after your grandfather dies, sprouting blue

new flowers

all thist


Bio: DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

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