I remember my youth quite vividly,
Was it yesterday when I was only three?
How are these thoughts not alien to me?
Not those of someone else entirely?

My youthful memories are so real, so close,
But just out of reach, intangible.
Advice cannot be passed back, only forward,
Marching in step with Time.

In this spring Tibradden sunshine,
Beauty abounds,
It’s everywhere…
…and past glimpses have come for a reunion.


The car pulled away
I was five and upset…
…and correct:
I wouldn’t see my friends or the girl next door again.


Fadó, fadó in Éireann,
Nineteen eighty-six.
I met a girl,
And for the longest time,
My stomach was in a twist.

In my six years on this earth
I’d never been so astonished, so astounded.
So terrified.
Hers was a beauty so overpowering
There was no refuge,
Only terror.
Terror of being discovered
(“Ansionnach likes girls!”),
Terror I might never say how I felt,
Terror of rejection.
I could only show off
And deny all The Inquisition’s suspicions –
Cowardice unworthy of such beauty.

As the years passed,
Encounters became more seldom.
Did she really send that Valentine’s card? (I never found out).
She would grow more beautiful every year,
‘Till we were seventeen
And I tried to ask her out…
…but the words would not escape my mouth.
That was the last time I’d see this beautiful girl,
Doubtless now a beautiful woman.


Before my teenage years,
I’d sometimes play with a friend.
She was fun and cool,
But all too soon,
Her visits came to an end.

What could I do to change this?
Surely not say something?
Tell her how much I enjoyed her company?
There was real affection there
For someone I knew,
Could talk to.

She was so real.
Not a goddess on a pedestal,
But one on a skateboard…
…and I didn’t understand.


My boss, she was bossy,
But with a hidden soft side.
I bought her expensive perfume,
Told her how I felt.
She didn’t,
But we remained good friends.
When our lives parted ways
I had no regrets.


Flora was formidable:
So intelligent, so beautiful, so charming.
We met while tramping through the wilds.
For several days we’d make up silly stories as we walked.

This was it:
Primal mania.
I went to gather firewood,
Needed to expend super-charged restless energy.
Wrenched fifteen feet of dead tree from the ground,
Dragged it for miles,
Stripped to the waist,
Destroyed it with an axe.
She occasionally peered over her romance novel in fascination.

As we sailed home
She disappeared.
I found her sitting on a railing
In the moonlight.
We talked ’till we were tender.
Then kissed, tentatively, passionately.

God, I loved that woman.
Achingly beautiful in every way,
With a wicked sense of humour
Concealing a mean streak a mile wide.
Still, this seemed perfect
And I did everything I could
To make it work.
It didn’t.
No regrets.


Abbey was a friend.
I was crazy about her.
Moved to the other side of the world
In the hope there’d be something more…
…but I messed up.
Didn’t anticipate just how profoundly debilitating
Disappointment would be.
I’m sorry.


Charming, oh so charming,
But a snake all the same.
Insincerity was her art form,
Triplicity her masterpiece.

An accomplished actress,
Well-practised in the harrowing breakdown,
Going from nought to sixty in zero seconds.

Ambition and advancement was her game,
Few truths could survive
Her damsel in distress act
And lethal character assassination barrage.
May she be a victim of her own successes.


Well that’s it for now,
I’m much recovered.

There are billions of women out there,
Some you could love eternally.
Even if they do bite,
Don’t be shy,
You’ll never know
If you don’t try!


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