Poetry by Paul McCafferty

Photo: paul mccafferty. Born in Elderslie. Grew up in Paisley. Lived in Canada for 10 years where he won the Toronto spoken word prize in 1996, the prizes being-A publishing contract with Insomniac Press and performing at Lollapollooza, the North American Glastonbury. Paul has published over thirty poems and a couple of short stories (Prose being one of the things he came to the M-Litt to try to perfect.) He recently finished work on a co-written adaptation Of Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy and was nominated for best screenwriting at Milan. A fact which has him pinching himself.


Listen, the almost stopping velvet night
is a perfect blue circle. Quantum hymns of
nearby trees, an entirely other sonata.

Distant cars like harpsichords
pass quick fingers past inky spaces,
cool air rushing outside a bubble.

Listen here, beyond the hours,
the bound and limited clock hands,
the breathing of the great ones,
my two gone friends amongst them.

Tune in, that rise and swell of
aspirations, tall grasses sway in wheat fields
dance in poise and gesture for the silver of the moon.

Listen now, the vast scattered song of stars,
the fluted arcs, the light years of such spaces
have skipped across all form and voids
to nestle in your drum.

Drink this night, a druggy mist where each
half formed hope goes about its own sweet play
un-seen and ever partly comprehended.

Listen, for it is not out of shot,
to the hair growing on the chin of the fox,
the deafening, roaring sprout of the bountiful
apple as it sways amongst its blossoms, chants
its green mandala for the vaulted spinning sky.

That Ol Time Religion

How is it that they still hold us so,
them guys an galls of yore?
Those tree brained titans who
stomped and stormed up the heavens
in the big directors room at the very top floor.
The place where all the decisions got made.
Hefty stuff, mountains toppled, oceans drained.
Cocky mythic continents rained upon by streams
of meteors. Despots crushed by their own giant faces.

Why is it they still hold such electric fascination
in a world that bows mainly to the One God.
See how we get drawn in to these half-fossilised
yet somehow, still alive, tales that have never ceased to slither
through these ring bound centuries, under the dry papyrus,
out of those jars of clay. The visions just as strong folks. So much
still holds sway. Suppose I said that men with the heads of jaguars,
dog headed blokes, (think Shep's head on Blue Peter's John Nokes)
Still prowl at the edges of town. Or Hawkheaded ones, whose hearts were
suns that never stop to shine. It's something that will not go away.
Poseidon's council still has its way.

So when you walk out at merry little Christmas or
go for the summer stroll on the longest day
With mp3 and/or blackberry don't ever think they've

gone away. Look back a moment, was that a tossed leaf
blown backwards in a breeze? Try see what really hooked
your eye as you passed that dark patch of ocean or what
caught you that day in the deep wood when you thought
You'd seen a whirling hole through thicket and something going into...

We all have these moments. Little fractures at the corner
of the mindset. Mostly we drop them like a too hot ladle.
Squeeze back into the 3D. Yet the old myths stay and stay and stay,
pinned like a broche we cannot free. Old wives know more than we
can give credit, I heard one just the other day say-
If you can think it, then it's real.

The Gifts Of Silence

for Caroline McGhee

Here are the subtlest, most sacred
gift's of all our silence's. Like every song
not written but spread amongst the
stelli-scripture of the stars or smoothed
across the moody ocean's of all our un-spoken

They comb back winter trees.
They un-tangle length's of Augusts
coiled wheat and start across the quiet hours
of our thought's like lightning bursts of pure and
sudden love.

These silences are where we go for ripening,
in-between the spaces of what we choose to say
as sudden presentation's of our soul's. They cut
new outline's for the clean sharp moon.

They airbrush cleverly the ever pondered skies.
They come like Aprils first born scent of the honey rose.
First whiff of the heart's bloom. They stare from that fresh
conviction in your eyes that has me kiss them.

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(performed at The Lit Parade, 13th June, 2012 by Paul McCafferty - part of Glasgow West End Festival 2012)