Saturday, 28 March 2015


All the lives
that have flown away;
those precious eyes,
those bodies that pushed themselves into love,
the blood stained clothes
they sweated blood for,
and this crippled wreck
of strangled metal
and twisted guts;
a strange and desperate evolution
mocked constantly by drifting birds.
Who could have expected this?
On a day of sun and plastic food,
these fine hands,
minutes before burning,
had picked their way
with knives and forks
through clouds;
now, who points the finger?
What airline lifeline?
What God?
All this insistent movement,
this wish to fly,
the fear of standing
and theses wingless people
scorched to death
in search of 
the sun.

Keith Armstrong

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


(in memory of Hughie Gallacher, Newcastle United’s record goalscorer in 1926-7, who committed suicide in 1957)

Thirty six goals,
more than one way to skin a halfback.
Thirty six snapshots
of a legend
framed in Tyneside pubs.
That’s how we remember you Hughie,
for the good things in life.
Thirty six steps to fame
and a sprinking of treasured ashes
in a football boot.

You put us on the map for a season.
A thirty six gun salute
is the least we can do
for a man
with poetry in his feet,
a bottle of Brown in his pocket,
and a championship medal
round his neck.

You kicked us 
into ecstasy,
into the Blue Star yonder.
You were a magic dribbler
and stocky with it.

So, keep your feet still Hughie hinny.
They’ll never drive
those bonny dreams away.


Saturday, 7 March 2015


It was great to be back in Limerick again the other day. Always feel welcome there. Thanks to Dominic and the Writers' Centre for organising the reading. Expect to be back there in 2016 - God willing!