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No Fears

26th July 2021


Declan Henry

This is an old piece of writing from many years ago – a classic by today’s standards. But the collection of poems by Dympna has survived the test of time. I hope you enjoy them.


Poetry by Dympna Connaire

Preface by Declan Henry

Declan Henry’s commentary on the poetic works of Dympna Connaire does not follow in any particular order from the index of the 30 poems listed here. However, his interpretation of the poems in the preface falls into six categories: Childhood, Lost Love, Alcoholism, Mental Illness, Death and perhaps most important of all – Hope.


You may recall the theme song, ‘One Moment in Time’ recorded by Witney Houston for Olympic Games in the late eighties. When reading Dympna’s compelling poetry you can clearly see that each poem is a moment in time. Some of the poems will bring different kinds of meaning and comfort to various people, while others will be able to identify more readily with them.

But one thing is clear – certainly from my point of view – and that is Dympna’s unnerving talent and undeniable ability in poetry writing.

Dympna, a friend of mine since 1982, is a beautiful, intelligent and assertive woman who writes with great conviction and truth and these qualities are present throughout the entire body of her poetry.

Together now, I hope that you and I can journey through a selection of her verse that will hopefully raise some interesting points to ponder as we do so.

Let’s start with the subject of childhood. During the mundane happenings of life we sometimes fail to place enough emphasis on our childhood. In all earnestness, this is the most important period of our lives simply because what occurs during those tender years shapes and determines so much of a person’s perspective on what follows afterwards.

Childhoods naturally differ individually as does the person himself or herself. In Dympna’s poem ‘Childhood Dreams’, the innocence of childhood is illustrated in the lines:

‘Powerful the calling of the waves
As children tend to their sand castles
Left abandoned, as the ice cream
Bell calls.’

What people in Ireland generally have in common is that many have been brought up on farms, which provide a happy, loving and secure environment. Those brought up in such an environment (perhaps, with the exception of a few) recall delightful memories. The following few lines exemplifies the point:

‘… and daddy calls us to his
Car, where once more the
Cows await feeding and
Milking our important highlight 
Of the evening.’

When people reflect back to their childhood, parents are always central figures in those thoughts. Of course, many have to bear the tragedy of losing one or both parents quite young in life. But irrespectively this heartrending sorrow is a harsh fact of life regardless of how young or old you may be when it happens. It is also worth remembering that there is no set pattern as to how individuals react to the death of a parent – again, regardless of age.

‘Childhood Dreams’ ends on a very sorrowful note:

‘… and of times at night
I cry in my sleep
For a man who loved his children
As a farmer loves his fields’.

Let us move on now to the the subject and Love. Its’ glories and its’ pain. As illustrated in Hold my Trembling Hand’, love means something different to everyone and regardless how reticent a person wishes to be it must be admitted, to themselves at least, that they have loved another. The conveyance of a lost love is so very clear in the words:

‘I miss your love for me
Your power of thought
Your gentle heart that bleeds
For me in my hour of need’.

When feelings for another become so deeply entrenched and the other partner is unwilling to love any more, the culmination of this often leads to much pain and mental anguish and what seems an incessant problem follows afterwards.

‘Lonely days and lonely nights
Where deep down my prayers
Cannot answer my needs for you’.

The answer is never simple when all those enchanting and personal moments are over to be replaced by scepticism and extra deception if you have to camouflage so much of your hurt away from your family and friends. For what it is worth, the poem ends with perhaps a glimpse of hope, but still you can see that the recovery from this parting is far from being over.

‘Weep not now
And be it heaven or hell
I would gladly bear the suffering
If you could reach out and hold
My trembling hand’.

If you turn over now to A Dying Flower’ you will see that this poem shows how a person recovering from lost love questions life so much that they wonder what is the meaning of it:

‘A life lost, a life found
A lonely daisy waits for his brother
But realises it has wasted’.

The mixed feelings and the extreme uncertainty of the future with regards to falling in love again appear vague.

‘And now the day is calm
The flowers stand upright
But no one seems to notice
That darkness is in sight
And what does it matter
If they were plucked and placed
Upon a shelf’.

In our lives there comes an opportunity from time to time to listen and share in each other’s experience of love and to realise how different we all can be. I guess the mystery of love will be with us always, but can you imagine how empty our lives would be without it. I can, and I hope you admit it also. Is the necessity therefore to love regardless of the consequences? Perhaps sometimes yes’, and at other times no’. We all have the ability to choose but it is encouraging to remember that behind all the misery is the Christian belief that God loves us just as much as we love that now drifted-away person. What a beautiful thought that ends the topic of love here and leads us on to the very serious subject of alcoholism

Moving away from the above subject we can now debate some of the facts regarding alcoholism. It is not something that directly hits only the lower classes of society – or the commercial classes’ as Oscar Wilde would have phrased it. Alcoholism can affect every class and every race of mankind without distinction

Sometimes it is unavoidable and the reasons vary immensely. Everyone can name a few causes for this serious affliction. Whatever the reasons, the consequences are similar. Turn to the poem In the Gutter’ and read these lines:

‘Self respect gone with the
Cold harsh winds,
Dignity a thing of the past’.

The poem itself offers no sympathy to the alcoholic but describes the detail of his plight in life – the self-deception, the unrefined and vulgar attributes, the excluded being and the deep folly of it all. To add to that the fall in public grace is regretted in the words:

‘Was I the man that put the
Last stroke on a beautiful picture,
Admired the art of life,
And the softness of a
Beautiful woman’.

The poem ends with an apt description of the loneliness within the alcoholic soul

‘Now the lonely tunnels of my mind
As I sadly reach out to touch her
And know the warmth once felt
Must keep me walking, walking down
That sad lonely road’.

The recovery from alcoholism, needless to say, is amazingly difficult but many bravely fight through triumphantly. There are many areas of help available in the community but to those not so fortunate in making a recovery, and to the weak-minded who never try, our compassion should be close at hand. People outside the problem must be grateful that their own destiny hasn’t led them unto this path of misery.

Another contentious issue found in the poems is that of Mental Illness. We must look towards a bright tomorrow when the stigma of mental ill health is obsolete in society. It is very difficult to become immune to pressures brought on us by life. Psychological and emotional disorders are rampant in our society and they should be treated with the same respect as physical illnesses. The ignorance attached to these and the emphasis involved when some people label the mentally ill as `deranged’, `demented’, `unhinged’ and so on can only be described as examples of cruelty and lack of soul.

Read the lines in ‘God’s Special People’:

‘Find not a reason to glare at
My pitiful appearance
My pitiful appearance
Is only your mirror’.

And, further on in the poem:

‘You are blinded by the sun
Yet we see the beauty of
God’s love in our mind’s eye
You see only what you want
To see’.

People can learn from this valuable segment of verse and hopefully they can education people along these lines, although this has never proved easy to achieve.

In ‘Voices in my Head’ the torment comes through forcefully and in its conclusion you can equally sense the isolation within the person:

‘I drank an imaginary bottle of wine
And in my drunken state got sick
Mother came to take me home<
Where angels cared for me all night
And I awoke to the voice of the
Devil on my left
And the voice of God on my right’.

If you turn to ‘The Spirit of Time’ you will get a reminder of what hate, bitterness, anger and the loss of freedom is all about in a psychiatric hospital:

’Yet I look through a tiny window
’Feeling the years of anger here
Touching the souls gone before me’,

To obliterate the memory of having been a psychiatric patient is not easy, and to recover from the dispiriting experience of having spent time in a hospital of this nature is even harder:

‘The pain in your eyes haunts me
The fear in your mind boils over
Lost the need to cry
Retarded the pits of my heart strings,
No longer to play sweet music’.

You get such a strong sense of the reality of mental ill-health and what surrounds it that the misery from the lines in the poem overwhelms you. The words possess extra strength and the powerful thought behind them holds the reader in a firm grasp. The evil psychiatrist’ even gets a mention:

‘Bow now the head that questions
Take the papers and burn
The long awaited books’.

It will become known to the entire world very soon that the days of psychiatry and its evil practice in society are indeed numbered and a completely new approach will take its place.

We must remember that a human being’s noblest qualities are kindness, mercy and charity and when we find ourselves in the position of counselling to the mentally ill we must do so with extreme tolerance and understanding. If we find ourselves by nature unable to do so then we must try. One day, who knows, a new age may come into being and we will have a brighter existence all round. Hopefully, this will happen in our present lifetime.

There are a number of poems in the collection on the subject of Death so it is worth turning to the poem Grief’. This poem clearly shows that we must look beyond the initial period of grief in a definite sense. To a vast majority their perception of the Afterlife is Heaven whilst others hold on to different beliefs. But we must be united in believing that after death we reach a higher state of being in comparison to our present existence on earth.

‘And leave us to live on earth
Until the ringing of the Bell brings
Us into an era where time is
Non-existent and happiness taken
The place of grief’.

Death and the coffin. That dreaded and lonely brown box. It is so vivid in the poem ‘Carry the Coffin High’ that death itself is the ultimate thief. The reason is simple because there is nothing else so great that seperates us from our loved ones.

‘Onward they thread
Defeat in their tortured eyes
And yet somehow they maintain
Their pride’.

But the poem hints to one remaining comfort. Death may seperate us in a physical sense from our loved ones but it cannot do this in a spiritual sense, because we remain connected to the ones we love and who have loved us – for eternity.

The passing of time, its quickness is something people only notice as they grow older. A teenager lives life as if it it goes on forever. The poem ‘Time’ requests that you take nothing for granted. Live life now. Life it some more. Live it well. Because you won’t want to have any regrets when you are old that you missed oppertunities that can never be yours again.

‘But now as I look back
I ask myself did I really live
A life fit for me to gain
A happier one in the next’.

The final poem for review in this collection is Be my Dancing Partner’.

It opens:

‘Swept by an emotion
Too great for words to conquer’

I bet you thought for a moment that this poem was about love! But I am sorry to disappoint you. As you will see when you read on further, it’s not a poem about love. Rather it is about hope. Hope and trust in oneself and the future should be of paramount importance in our lives. To believe in yourself and your abilities is not a mere piece of vanity. People should never settle at being second best. Whatever your circumstances are in life you should feel within yourself that you good and that you deserve the best that life can offer.

‘Now I break my resistence against living
And suddenly learn to dance’

An existence without hope is worthless. An existence without trust equally so. Even a morsel of hope is better than none.

‘But my heart I keep nearer to the
Puppet master’s mind, and closer to his
Soul I dwell’.

The poem ends on a very strong note. There is future ahead. The strength is present in us to win through. We have the hope, trust and ability to make it. We will make it. All of us.

‘His hands no longer frighten me
This jungle no longer thick with pitfalls
Stronger now the will to survive
Determination graces my steps
To this non-ending dance of life’.

There is plenty to reflect upon in these lines. They must be words of encouragement for many.

Before I end – can I suggest you read each of Dympna’s poems very carefully. I am adament that each one has a clear message to convey. A message for everyone regardless of who they are. You may also think while you are reading this book of verses, “Have we a new Yeats, Kavanagh or Joyce on our hands?”. But this time round it is going to be in female form.

And, finally, one vital point to remember: One moment in time’. I hope that one day it will be yours – when your special talent or ability is made known to the world.

© Declan Henry
London 1989
All rights reserved.




Sitting in the midst of a classroom,
No homework, no fears
Five years later
Sitting in the midst of a starving nation,
No food, no fears
Ten years later
Sitting in the midst of a rich nation,
No love, no fears
Twelve years later
Sitting in the midst of a graveyard,
All’s dead, no fears.

© Dympna Connaire


There are times when loneliness
Is very strong within me
And alone I walk the shore
Where bright pebbles take me
Back to happy sun lit days
Where wine was drank at ease
And rushing something only
The city dwellers understood,
Powerful the calling of the waves,
As children tend to their sandcastles,
Left abandoned
As the ice cream bell calls
Little white feet to its happy door
And granny upon her deck chair
As mother graces her strong shoulders
With a shawl and daddy calls us
To his care, where once more
The cows await feeding
And milking our important highlight
Of the evening as down
The little road we take the churn
To the Knocknagreena river
To cool till the morning milkman comes
Back again from my happy dreams
To sober thoughts and oft at night
I cry in my sleep
For a man who loved his children
As a farmer loves his fields.

© Dympna Connaire


Caught by the latch as many a head
Leans over to ask the time of day
A hearty welcome from the rocking chair,
Once rocked back and forth
By young agile hands,
These hands now turned brown
From hours of working heathered bogs,
But Mary sits on her rocking chair
The hearth now her only remembrance
Of days gone past.
Often she thinks of her young son
Who would bring the turf home?
And milk the cow in the now
Empty cabin,
And clay pipes take the fragrance
From the bog with them
As cards are passed to the quiet tones,
Once in a while the laughter rings out
And Mary rocks her lonely chair
Had she three strong sons?
One for every field
And Jack in the Priesthood no more.
Tim but a lad lost at war
And John, my John
Who worked the shovel
And graced the table with a meal.
Oh! Lord if this door could speak
It’s tale of woe.
The paint the colour of their blood,
Now tired from hours of carrying
The family pain
Yet Mary is a fighter,
And so maybe someday
This home will bring back a laugh,
A smile, and lift this latch once more.

© Dympna Connaire


Deep despair for his own misfortunes
Pity somehow creeps out
And the muscles of his body tightens
The temper rises and a force
From somewhere that he will
Never understand gives him his
Mighty strength
The cut wrists leave a seed somewhere
Far into the long winder of his thoughts
The fear of losing the power
Of manipulation he threads on
Forever forcing his opinions on
Other weak minds
Leaving his blood dripping and
His personal tortures open to more
Pain again once more
And the failure in his
Deep blue eyes is something
That only the heartless can ignore
And the time for forgiveness begins
Comes back to the shelter once more
And the fear of rejection
Fear of once more returning
Brings out badness and evil
That build up from too many beatings
Too many lonely nights
Where the warmth of a woman’s body
Takes away the pain
But underneath in his subconscious
Mind he knows the money
Spent will bring him back once
More, and frustration of frightened
People take the fist closed tight
And the anger left drains the
Blood flowing from his inner soul
Can I ever regain the pride?
Of my mother on that first
Night of death and rebirth
Feel the closeness once felt
Grip on to that well greased
Pole and if suffering has anything
To do with it – be belongs.

© Dympna Connaire


I miss your human touch
Your smile and quiet laugh
I miss your love for me
Your power of thought
Your gentle heart that bleeds
For me in my hour of need.
Come back `ere half my life is missing
Half my heart is gone
Lonely days and lonely nights
Where deep down my prayers
Cannot answer my need for you
But they who sin sometimes
Never forgive themselves
And when I die alone
The rain shall shed its tears
Into sensitive graveyards
The flowers shall grow again
Fertilizing the land
Giving fresh hope to our unborn children,
Weep not now,
And be it heaven or hell
I would gladly bear the suffering
If you would but reach out and
Hold my trembling hand.

© Dympna Connaire


I picked a pink rose today
In the garden
And was maddened by its dying petals
That faded so quickly as I gently
Eased my way between thorns
How could something so beautiful
Die and thinking of the crown
Of thorns being driven deeper into
The flesh of an innocent man
I felt the prod and saw the
I, being sick and suffering
Had missed the first bloom
Of the rose
Watched it die as our lord did
I then thought of next year’s garden –
How I would tend to my flowers
In quiet prayer
And a ray of hope came
To my mind
The long journey of the Apostles
Gave new hope of Gods returning
To life again and the mystery
Now no longer strange
And little miracles happen in our
Time and sickness cured
I sat on my garden chair
Gave a blessed sigh
Finally thank you Jesus
For pulling me through the
Long lonely nights of winter
To the simple joy of being
In a rose scented garden.

© Dympna Connaire


A flower for every nation
A petal for every person
A colour for every creation
Some have bloomed
Others yet to come
And yet another one
Who survives for days without water
Only to wither and die when it came.
A life lost, a life found
A lonely daisy waits for his brother
But realises it has wasted.
A few survived, the lucky ones
Who were cared and bedded
A few died, the neglected ones
That never saw the light
And now the day is calm
The flowers stand upright
But no one seems to notice
That darkness is in sight.
And what does it matter
If they were plucked and placed
Upon a shelf,
Where they can no longer bloom
In the clear air,
And gazing out the window
To their rightful place
All they see is soil
And everywhere is bare.

© Dympna Connaire


Grey sand
Old and pleading blue skies
Forever holding the heavens together
And the horses trod along
Bearing fruits for all light veiled women
And the darkness of the night
Holds the flow of years together.
The sand in your piercing eyes
Reminds me of lost spirits
And the oasis stores up
The water of life
Blinded by the blazing sun
The wind craves the cover of trees
And the openness in your heart
Brings the vastness of the
Seas together.
Noah proclaims
We must move on
The rocking of the Ark
And we are saved
The burning of the desert sands
And the vacant stare
Ties a knot to my blanket
And brings back
The march of the crusaders
And the cross of forgiveness
Holds no place here.
The children weep in their beds
And the hands of the fathers
Cannot hold the power together
Ride simply by
And crush the marching nations
Come back to the green pastures
To the white flock of frightened sheep
And I wonder had the dogs howled
In the night or left the cry of the
Bewildered right across the stone
Of life and marked the heavy cross
Upon my soul.

© Dympna Connaire


Wrapped in quiet blue
She stands
Held tight to her – her baby lies
Sad innocence outlines her face
This beautiful Mother of ours.
I often wonder how she wept
As to her gentle arms he crept
And laid his worried head on hers
Gazing into the deep blue sea
Of her eyes,
He sees the beauty of love
And the agony of pain.
She holds her baby close
To her heart
And knows that suffering
Has yet to come
But she is brave and truly good
As she reaches out her hand
To touch and protect this
Sometimes sad and lonely child.

© Dympna Connaire


Patterns form to suit the cause
And the time of simplicity has gone
Had we once walked through
Green fields
Touched the silver track of a
Slowing snail
Could we but carry our homes
On our backs and thread
Unexplored places
Smell the fresh bread on a
Hungry morning where time spent
Shaping and moulding brings
Happiness to the mind
And the soft smoothing music
Fills the now empty kitchen
Footsteps now on the cement floor
And the track of hardworking
Men covers the empty hall
Flowers from the garden
As mother tends to the hard
Hungry soil and the smell of
Cows blindly walking to the
Takes the place of emptiness in my soul
And the soft cry of children
Causes the tears to flow
In the empty corner of a
Deprived womb.

© Dympna Connaire


Swimming in the gutter
Enjoying the muck and filth
Opening another bottle
Drinking the curse of mankind
Loving the ups
Swallowing the downs
And the now empty bottle is squashed
The dead mourned
The coat covers the hardened body
The lonely mind
Black eyes and black hearts
Never to return
Beg for a pint and pity the mind
Beg for a fag and pity the body
Smoked to death and the souls laugh on
Oh! Jesus the days drag on
The cold pierces
Blood flows from his side
You! You bastard need no shame
The dregs and the wine flows
Jesus did you mean that
Crucify the lord
Has the last dime gone?
Oh! Sure Paddy’s a soft touch
And we all sing together
Lie gladly down
And the hangover our best alarm clock.
Self respect gone with the cold
Harsh winds
Dignity a thing of the past
It’s well for the ones in the pub
They will take one’s last penny
And sing the fields of Athenry.
Sad fields I now walk home
Remembering the times when they
Felt good to walk in
Flowers had left their fragrance
The soil was yet unspoiled
And the ringing of the bell
On a Sunday morning brought Joy
Now the cursed thing sinks into the
Washed out brain
And a lonely man cries out in the night
Back to the gutter
Back to the welcoming pain.
Another bottle cracks and the pain
Of the opening leaves a scar on my soul
A deep hole in my heart
Jesus imagine I once sat by
Warm fires listening to soft music
Now the music of Hell grips my
Empty bottle
Howling like the banshee
Calling to a future full of heartache
And the smell of my socks I inhale
And vomit.
Did I once sit in quiet little cafes
Sipping tea with a cake or bun
Was I the man that put the last
Stroke on a beautiful picture
Admired the art of life
And the softness of a beautiful woman.
Now the lonely tunnels of my mind
As I sadly reach out to touch her
And know the warmth once felt
Must keep me walking, walking down
That sad lonely road.

© Dympna Connaire


Take the bleakness
From my soul
Take the madness
From my mind
I have fought this brave
Fight too often
I have died this sad
Death too often
Take this cross from my soul
Build a forest around my heart
Let the trees hold the answer
Crush the pain of forever giving
Tell me but once you love m
The need in your eyes tires me
The constant struggle to survive
The chains in my head
Fill my soaked up mind –
With revenge
Bitterness eats my soul
And I cannot forgive the hurt
You engraved on my heart
Walk the straight line alone
And the drunkenness of your body
Causes me to scream
And shout out your name.
And the need I have for God
Kills the death in your eyes.
The constant struggle to survive
The chains in my head
Fill my soaked up mind –
With revenge
Bitterness eats my soul
And I cannot forgive the hurt
You engraved on my heart
Walk the straight line alone
And the drunkenness of your body
Causes me to scream
And shout out your name
And the need I have for God
Kills the death in your eyes.

© Dympna Connaire


Naked he climbs
The red skin of his body
Burned by the sun
He holds the dagger close to his heart
And buries his clay filled nails
Into the ground
Left here to die and all the braves move on
Upon a high hill I die
The eagle calls me
Beckoning me on
Higher I go
Deeper the dagger goes
But the vultures eyes are preying now
A chief of men
My little tent has rotted
From spoiling long haired women
And moving naked men
The coldness in my soul
Leaves me warm
The bright sun fades
And the light of the moon
Clears the path to my heaven
The taste of fresh grass clogs
Up my mind
And the dew of the morning
Will not now come.

© Dympna Connaire


I walked in the lumpy swamp, and
Sank with my thoughts.
I looked to the hills but they
Boldly grew higher.
I entered the bare lands, and dying weeds.
The lonely cry of the birds
Echoed but lost,
I stopped but knew the Devil
Had taken over,
I inhaled the dampness and it
Set in my bones.
My longing body cried out.
A lost spirit called me but I
Refused to listen
I stumbled on a sharp stone and
My heart bled.
My fear increased,
I feared for my sanity
Alone and exposed to the emptiness,
I wept.
My tears dropped on a lonely
Flower and it thanked me
For opening its petals
To the world beyond this madness
I left,
But knew my soul
Would never again be the same.

© Dympna Connaire


Pass not by me and stare
Ease they self conscious
And look elsewhere
Find not a reason to glare at
My pitiful appearance
My pitiful appearance
Is only your mirror
Hold the head of a crippled mind
Share the tears of deep depression
Reach out to the souls in need
And when death is upon us
Will not our skeletons
Be no less than yours.
You are blinded by the sun
Yet we see the beauty of God’s
Love in our mind’s eye
You see only what you want to see
We share the sorrow of God’s suffering
And the Joy of our full reward
To earth’s people we are fit for
Institutions but in heaven
God holds a place for us his
Special people.

© Dympna Connaire


I walked the dark tunnels of night
Up and down with a cursed cigarette
In my evil mouth.
I felt the devil close at hand.
Finally morning came
Freedom of the soul.
I took the road and went to
Into the Sacred Heart church I went
God left his message there for me
“Come back to me”, he said
And I a lonesome sinner prayed.
A voice of the sweetest took me
Back and placed the thorns upon
My head.
Oh! But how did I think myself
Worthy of death.
I drank an imaginary bottle of wine
And in my drunken state got sick.
Mother came to take me home
Where angels cared for me all night,
And I awoke to the voice of
The devil on my left
And the voice of God on my right.

© Dympna Connaire


Take one step forward
And two steps back
Walk the straight line
With wooden shoes
Hard on the heels
Harder on the mind
Scattered dreams and deep illusions
Fantasy of a world that could
Not exist even in heaven
And the next night’s pill
Eases the constant reminder
There was a deep past
And now a lonely present
With the future in the obscure
That feelings are fitted
Into a light matchbox, thus
Left with the next one attempts
To burn the already smoke filled thought
The drowning cry
I am sinking, going under
And the silent cry of help can only be heard
In an era of deep understanding
More freedom of speech
Less bitterness and within this mind
The agony outweighs normality
And the healing process takes countless
Dark days but hope somehow comes in
And again out of the tunnel
A possible hope of release
The locked doors cannot frighten
The strong minded but the
Weakness held deep within
Each individual is brought to the light
And the guilty emotions are forever
Holding us back, bringing us into
A hell that not even the crucifixion
Could recapture
And deep down in the pit of my soul
I know I can never hold
A hand that hasn’t suffered
Kiss lips that haven’t kissed frustration
To the back of their minds
And the illusion of closeness is
Brought together for one brief
Moment in time
And I know without the promise
Of a power greater than this to hold
Me to this earth
I will be put with the dead matches
Heaped on the pile, and thrown
Deep into oblivion
And the causes of health hazards
Are the least important thing in
An already tortured mind.

© Dympna Connaire


Anger deep within me
Clouds my mind
Chains me to the walls
Where once stone by stone
Was placed together
The blood drips
Making a pool on my polished floor
Have I the right to fight
To crush this aching heart
To release the hurt within
Speak no more
Yet I look through a tiny window
Feeling the years of anger there
Touching the souls gone before me
Has the day of the straight jacket gone
The pain in your eyes haunts me
The fear in your mind boils over
Lost the need to cry
Retarded the pits of my hear strings
No longer to play sweet music.
I gaze at a time long past
At a future where hope must
Shut the door to these sensitive walls
Where prayer was offered in the little church
And Christ looked to answer to
Tired minds and tired bodies
Begone the days of Hell.
Tomorrow Tomorrow
Let hell laugh out loud
Echoing the spirit cry
Bruising the tender hearted
Come down the corridors of time
Share the smiles of caring people
Someday I will return and share
A tear, a smile
To now empty fires in
Cold dead ashes
Bury the grief
Take the actors from the stage
Gently let the curtain down
Bow now the head that questions minds
Take the papers and burn
The long awaited books.
To all who helped I give a tribute
For ye have held the walls together
And protected us in our darkest times
Sheltered us from the cold
Fed our empty bodies and
Delicate minds.
Dreamers take the road with me
To happier homes
Stand back and smile
For our day is done
A new generation springs up
And wipes away the pain

© Dympna Connaire


I climbed a tree today
And lied on its belly
And the birds above me sang
Happy tunes
I gazed through dark eyed
Glasses but the beauty I
Beheld was only real in
My mind’s eye
The roots of the tree began
To rebel against the long legged
Stranger standing amongst its
Green leaves and skies
Turned to sudden darkness
Leaving me frightened of the
Climb down and mystified by
The power of earth’s creation
I thought could I but stay
A little longer until the light
Of the moon cast shadows on
The forest
I left knowing I had not
Reached my goal and found
The cleansing of the soul
Was not an easy task.

© Dympna Connaire


I walked amongst graveyards
Listening to the sweet cry of hurt
And the mountains shelter the long
Since dead
R.I.P. their only claim to fame
But they fought for us
They died for us
And yet we criticize their ethics
Laugh at the victor
Curse the vanquished
Soft ground now
Who once battle upon battle
Took place
Ponder just a little
Oh! Christ the vile worms
Bore a hole in my mind
Had we ever a time of Peace?
Where the sign of the cross
Meant more than save me.
I buried a dead lamb today
And its belly’s guts made me
Run for clear water
I stripped beside a river
And the burning of the lamb of God
Could not then quench the thirst for life
I longed for the straight road
But the crossroads in my mind
Left the stench of their bodies
Buried deep in my soul
Who be the victor
– who be the vanquished?
Your poetry rings in my ears
Your bravery a torch in my hand
Your loneliness brings a long awaited tear
Your life is my life
And the horror of the masses
Drags me back to the torture
In my soul
And the bitter taste in my mouth
Prevents me from screaming.

© Dympna Connaire.


Nine month’s hard labour
And after that the pains
Of watching them grow up
Often to spit their venom
Into the agonising faces of their brave mothers
But tomorrow’s world shall end today’s dream
As we today have endless yesterdays,
Better to have the snake in sight
The sins of the fathers
And low and behold history repeats itself
But can we cure the ills a
Pent up child
The frustration when first they realise
They will never walk like their
Sisters and brothers
Never talk or know how to express
Their innermost thoughts
Has God abandoned them
Or have we the creators aborted them
On the night of that first drunken union.
Tomorrow’s world shall end today’s dream
Better to wake up dead than beg for
Forgiveness all one’s natural life
And I often dream of you at night
And hate the love in your eyes
And wonder was the hate there
Since first that cord was cut
On that helpless child.

© Dympna Connaire.


I often wonder why time heals the pain
When deep down the grief is buried until
Another funeral and then we wake the dead
To help us mourn out latest loss.
If we could but trust in God and let him
Be the alarm clock time would take its
Place and leave us to live on earth until
The ringing of the bell brings us into an
Era where time is non existent and happiness
Takes the place of grief.

© Dympna Connaire


Silently they carry their load
Onward they tread
Defeat in their tortured eyes
And yet somehow they maintain
Their pride
Kept their inward sights to themselves
Yet those who have suffered
Know now no pain
No anguish do they feel
Glory, glory on high
To those who held fast
To their one remaining comfort
Carry, carry
Carry the coffin high.

© Dympna Connaire.


Come the gentle kiss
The tender look
That held me together
When even death parted us
I had for so long our memories
But time has laid its heavy hand
Upon my head
And crushed the spirit
The fight and will to go on.
I can remember you all
Father, mother, those deep blue eyes
Watched and cared for me
When I myself did not know
How, and father your once proud
Laugh often echoes in the night
And my lonely cry frightens me
Did I once laugh gaily
At brown-eyed men?
Play piano at a neighbour’s home
Whirl round a ballroom
With nothing to stop my gaity
But the striking of the town clock
At twelve and I like Cinderella
Ran freely for home, to return
Again and play more games
Life was for living
But now as I look back
I ask myself did I really live
Live a life fit for me to gain
A happier one in the next
But death’s door is upon me
And now my God frightens me
Had I once the beauty of nature,
Where trees reached out
To enclose and shelter me
Or was it tomorrow’s party
the only thing that rang in my ears
Oh! How sad for I have
Lived a long life
Yet God I know now
I have never lived.

© Dympna Connaire


Come back soon for I cannot
Live with the pain of losing you
All and somewhere people out
There might understand that grief
Leaves a hole deep in the heart
And the loneliness is so profound
Now that my pain fails to express
The depths of my feelings and I
Am losing the only thing precious
To me in this life and the
Horror of last night behind a locked door
Terrifies me more and I see
The only remaining comfort in
God’s eyes and I stare at an
Imaginary tortured face and try
In vain to touch his blood-filled heart
And hope, compassion will hold
The key
Oh! For cloud-filled skies bathing in
The pure foam and lie lightly
In the midst of a heaven that knows
No pain or fear
Cursed and said to be selfish
But survival is the only way we
Know now and the heavy load causes
Anger and the skies again open
And water rushes forth drowning
The feeble-bodied and God has his
Own answer, no one can stand
Against a force so strong
Pick up the history books and feel
The years of lost causes seeping through
And well read pages and it
Causes us to rebel against a system
That will never work against the
Unjustly condemned and I come
Back again to this grey stoned
Building, I feel the need for refuge
But the cursed pain is still there.
And the fear of being kept in
Frightens me and the fear of going out
Causes the anger to rise and I am
Left suspended in a hell full of wild
Thoughts and I know not the answer.

© Dympna Connaire


Dead ashes cover the ground
Yellow dandelions spring up
And the smell of sweet scented hay
Fills my nostrils
I walk by the newly cut
Meadows and chance to take
The fresh green grass in my
Hands as small and slippery
Frogs leap up and down
Those who escaped the scythe
As the old farmer swings his
Heavy arms deep into the
Long grass and cuts a
Heavy path to the long
Lazy river – if perchance
I could leave those days
Behind and walk new lands
Building a little world
Of quiet happiness and take
One blessed day as it comes
And hope the fields of my
Youth do not tie the bay
Rope too tight and leave
The scented hay to rot.

© Dympna Connaire


Take it easy with the furniture
Mother says
Remembering the many places
They already stood in
Can one retain all those memories
The long hours spent in a sickening bed
The prayers said as we watched
Death come creeping in on a
Dark lonely night
Now we must move on
Sad thoughts come to our minds
As we gaze at this house that
Held many a family secret
Held deep blood of the generations
Before us
I simply say wherever we go, time
Will not stand still
A new beginning, a fresh start
I walk through the now neglected gardens
Where father once gave his energy and
Long hours transformed the weeds
Into a cared bed of flowery potatoes
And the smell of mint and strong
Onions came seeping through the windows
And the pride of a well preserved
Garden could be seen on the lines
Of his forehead
Now away and I will not look back
But trod on to hopefully greener
Pastures but I know as I dig
The spade into the hard ground
Of new soil – he stands over me
Helping me prepare a garden
Full of deep pride and the memory
Of his laughter will always
Ring in my ears.

© Dympna Connaire


(Weary from writing)
And we cast them out, demons
From all nations and feathered
Our minds with promise and hope
And little children were born
And their eyes open in starvation
And the swelling of their stomachs
Causes me to rush for cover
And vomit my well-cooked dinner
And at night they prayed in their
Beds and demons filled their
Pent up dreams
Constant reminders of the evil in this world
Forced to submit, they praised a God
They could never understand and
Left the dead babies in their
Mothers’ weakening hands
Bury the dead, no feeding here
For the worms
No brown casket or mourner to pray for
A soul that never knew sin
And hard it is to justify
The horror of it all
I crept further down in my
Warm bed and knew the dream
I dreamt leaves me wandering
Alone and the picture of God
Over my bed I take down and
Leave my dreams on a paper that can never fulfill the need I
Have to help.

© Dympna Connaire


Elizabeths of this world
Have no fear of future happiness
No fear of a lonely death,
For their kindness to us
Is never lost in God’s eyes.
I can remember times
When she held my hand
And I wept in grief for things
long lost friends.
Beauty she has
Beauty of soul
And I wonder when I die
Again in spirit will I reach out and
Touch her warm giving heart.

© Dympna Connaire


Swept by an emotion
Too great for words to conquer
I have braved myself forward
Into this thick jungle of heart-strings
Pulled here and there by loving hands
Chopped and saved by the cruel hand of fate
I danced to their forced rhythm
Now I break my resistance against
Living and suddenly learn to dance
Joyfully to that same rhythm
But my heart I keep nearer to the
Puppet master’s mind, and closer to his
Soul I dwell.
His hands no longer frighten me,
This jungle no longer thick with pitfalls,
Stronger now the will to survive.
Determination graces my steps
To this non-ending dance of lifeHave I the right to ask you
To be my dancing partner?

© Dympna Connaire

As a writer, I try to incorporate both sides of humanity into my writing, having learned that life is far from grim and that there is enough kindness, compassion, love and humour to overcome life’s obstacles, regardless of how much misery, abuse, or injustice exists.
Written by Declan Henry


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