Publication in ‘Riposte’ April 2011: ‘Griffeen Valley Park’

Delighted to be published again in Michael O’Flanagan’s monthly broadsheet ‘Riposte’. ‘Griffeeen Valley Park’ does what it says on the tin: it celebrates the coming of April to my preferred place of (ambulatory) worship and composition. The poem is structured negatively, being a piece that tells you all that a place is not, rather than what it is. That’s the way it is with us poets– Make the simple as complicated! But I really do think there is something in that old Victorian poem that finished with the lines ‘ … One is nearer to God in a garden / Than anywhere else on earth.’ (If he exists at all, that is. But I’m for Pascal’s wager…) Here’s another glimpse of Parnassus, and then the poem…


Griffeen Valley Park


There are no altars here

to dress for worship. Here

no genuflections at the railings,

only trees grown tall

through years of winds and rain

and sunshine streaming

through no stained-glass. Nor

do thuribles bear incense here

but wild flowers send their fragrance

down the riverbank where plainchant

never rises, only murmurings

of waters on their journey

to the sea. Here is full communion

with whatever is unknown,

unknowable, whatever makes,

unmakes, remakes— Whatever is

that shapes the world

as it is now this April,

as it will be in other Aprils.

As it was in the beginning.


  1. i really like this poem. the negative structure works extraordinarily well. Eileen k


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