I have been writing for 42 years, and have had some work published in Poetry Ireland, Ireland’s Own, Village and in small magazines. I have also occasionally published small collections of my own poetry and a graphic-novel style account about my stillborn daughter’s brief life and times. My latest publication is a collaborative project between a student photographer and myself Louis explained.
‘A relative of my wife was vacating her house for a long trip away. I offered to house sit for her property, near Roscrea. I was living near Roscrea with no company, bar occasional brief visits from my wife and grown son, from January 10th to March 20th - 70 days. I had just bicycle and wi-fi access and coped just fine, hardly speaking to a soul and working on my writing extensively.’ He continued.
‘By the conclusion of my stay I ended up with 75 new poems. Of course, not all these are brilliant. Some are just sketches, others pack a punch or two. I then marketed them on Twitter by searching for accounts related to my poem niche area.’
Back in February of 2016, Louis published ‘‘For my daily food, I rely on farms alone’, which is dedicated to Ray Dempsey, Chairman of Roscrea Central Auctions.
‘In regards to the mart poem, I was looking up events in Roscrea and came across the mart listed there. I thought it might make an interesting addition to my friend’s portfolio for her online degree course. She warmed to the idea and came to photo the mart in progress. While I was accompanying her at a sheep auction I thought I’d give a go at writing a poem about the mart.’
Here is the poem:
Trailered jeeps enter Roscrea auction mart,
metal gates clang open, absent bleeding hearts;
booted farmers gather, lean on freezing fences,
- will sheep sales cover climbing feed expenses?
Gathered, these men mutter: poor grazing weather,
lambs sadly slain by stray dogs, arteries severed.
Stubborn sheep exit steps of transport ramps,
some look freshly showered, others rural tramps,
colour marked cream wool, faces black as soot
- mart concrete floor so very cold underfoot;
stage-frightened ewes in circled auction ring,
echo auction-call faster than rappers sing.
Tongue-twisted numbers, rattled off in speed,
bids almost secret, old men in capped tweed;
occasionally sheep make maiden warbling speech,
quick-hammered lots, exit gate opening squeak;
sellers seated stoically on timbered concrete steps,
quietly conversing, half-anticipating sales cheques.
Animal urine spray, shit-splattered all surfaces,
sheep loaded up, predestined for new purposes;
I’m not Journal reader, rarely hear rural news,
regarding Irish farm policy, I haven’t got a clue
but for my daily food, I rely on farms alone:
tender lamb-chop treats, nibbled down to the bone.
Photo: Louis Hemming website.
We will be featuring another one of Louis’ poems next week.