Poems by Gavin Bourke

Blue Oculus by Fahmina Israt

The Longest Struggle


In life,

wrapped in pink bubble-wrap and hardship.

Wearing the marks of child-rearing

from fairly young age.

In the twilight years,

two drinks on a table,

could barely.

Murders of crows falling back into unison.

Broken bottles in fields and tin-cans,

crowds coming out of local schools

in the driving rain.

Grandmothers, old and young,

four children in tow.

Pushing prams into icy rain,

the enslavement to and of history,

human capital,

every part for sale,

in bad deals.

Pressing the pram,

by an unforgiving biting rain,

blind conformity,

to other side of meaning.



The events Undulating

of the  peaks and troughs of life,

getting back up for your selfhood.

Rooms for rent,

four floors higher,

curtains torn down,

worn bricks.

Present memories of darkest Dublin,

humans not thinking of themselves as human,


sedation on a large scale.

The accelerating speed of the turn in the eye of

the public eye.

The kiss of death for the living?

Who knows, who knows, who,

for better or worse.

At rush hour, behind the JCB funeral.

Knotweed, speed, knocked signposts over,

roots showing, rows of green laurels,

pulling the devil by the tail.

Building bridges over well-trodden ground.

Ambulance sirens audible over church bells

and the flow of the local river,

in the falling rain.

The Morning Burial


They stood quietly in the cold,

sombre in the bright sunlight.

Beads wrapped around cold bluish hands,

pensively clasped together, heads bowed.

The grey lean face

appeared unfazed of the funeral director,

a sense of strained routine about the occasion.

An elderly man was overheard telling his brothers,

“For the chop, we’re next”.

in the distance stood two tall men of strong building

glistening with sunlight,

their shovels on the sharp edges .

Whillst prayers were said and tears expressed,

 the coffin was lowered into the ground forever,

 to the sound of ropes

 burning against the laminate wooden edges.

The Parish Priest poured Clay was thrown into the coffin

And many flowers, followed

initiated by the youngest present as expected.

A group among the crowd recited additional prayers

before the director covered the opening

with a panel of artificial grass,

as the mourners placed flowers and tributes.

Temporary closure for the entourage,

the two men were in the distance, when the cortege left,

prepared to make their approach.

About the Poet:

Gavin Bourke grew up in the suburb of Tallaght in West Dublin. Now married, living in County Meath, he holds a B.A. Degree in Humanities from DCU and an M.A. Degree in Modern Drama Studies from UCD. His work covers a broad range of subject matter including nature, time, memory, addiction, mental health, human relationships, politics, contemporary and historical social issues, injustice as well as urban and rural life. He was shortlisted for The Redline Book Festival Poetry Award in 2016 for A Rural Funeral. His poem Unanswered Call is published in the September 2019 issue of Crossways Literary Magazine. His poem Sword Damocles, Falling is published in the October issue of A New Ulster. He was invited to read at the Siarsceál Literary Festival in October 2019. He has worked in library services for over twenty years. His poem Louisburgh, County Memory was highly commended in the Johnathon Swift Creative Writing Awards 2019. His poems ‘Our Tree’ and ‘Getting On’ are published in the current issue of Qutub Minar Review International Literary Magazine. His first book of poetry (sixty pages) was shortlisted for the International Hedgehog Poetry Press (UK) Full Fat Collection Poetry Competition for 2019. His poems ‘The Power in Abuse’, ‘Beyond Bone, While the Jackdaws Watch On’ and ‘Fair Trade’ are published in the current issue of A New Ulster. His poem Ag Iarraidh a Churam Mo Intinn Bhun Os Cionn was shortlisted for The Manchester Irish Language Group International Poetry Competition 2019. Gavin is the winner of the international Nicely Folded Paper Trois International Poetry Collection Competition for 2020 for his book Toward Human which will be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press (UK) in 2020 and promoted and sold worldwide, beginning with a publishing launch in London. This is one of the most sought-after accolades for a first poetry collection publication. His poems ‘The Past is Present Tense’, ‘Transcending Mind Movements’, ‘The Breaking Waters of Catharsis’, ‘The Never Heard’ and ‘The Death of The Shepherd’ are published in the current decade edition of ‘A New Ulster’. His work will feature in the upcoming issue of A New Ulster. He begins a PHD in English, in 2020. His work is currently being considered by competitions and publications worldwide.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *