The Frayed Heart

I was delighted to be recently invited to do a reading at the launch of Orla Grant-Donoghue’s new collection of haiku and micropoetry. The book launch took place at The Irish Writers Centre.

Exploring the themes of love and loss, The Frayed Heart is published by Fiery Arrow Press. You can find out more about this wonderful book at Orla’s website.

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A large crowd turned up on the night to wish Orla well. And, after the readings by gathered poets and creatives, Orla signed copies of her book. The author’s signature add such a lovely personal touch to a book!

Photo: Vivienne Kearns

Eileen Casey from Fiery Arrow Press introduced the evening. And Robert Power and Electra Grant set the tone with a beautiful, haunting song. Brian Kirk, David Grant, Susan Condon, Doreen Duffy, Eamon Mag Uidhir, Michael Whelan, Gavan Duffy and I performed short pieces of prose and poetry, tying in with the themes of love, loss and hope.

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Photo: Rose Comiskey

For the launch, I decided to write a short piece about the passage of time. Always needing a deadline to focus my procrastinating mind, I managed to finish the piece the day before the launch!

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Photo: Rose Comiskey

Killing Time

Tick tock, tick tock,
The ticking of the bloody clock!

Reminding me that I’m late again. That my schedule is a farce. That the deadline passed me by with its nose in the air. Everything moving forward relentlessly with bold optimism. Everything except me. I am welded to the bed again. And the cats are reporting me to social services. Time to get up, I suppose. In a few more minutes. No hurry. No bother.

Tock tick, tock tick,
That bloody clock is making me sick.

Maybe I’ll take an axe to it. Kill time! Let’s see how well you can tick tock then, you smug sanctimonious two-faced bastard of a clock! But as the seconds march on, I hear my mother’s voice in my head.

Ding dong, ding dong,
The chime of a forgotten song.

“Time waits for no one,” she roared, as she bundled us out the door and out of her way. Glancing at the clock, she sighed, thinking of all the taken-for-granted things she had to do before we came home later that day. A housewife’s work is never done. And never appreciated. Housewives never get promoted. I knew the clock was her enemy too.

Dong ding, dong ding,
Listen to the cuckoo sing!

It was the early 1980s. My parents were shopping on a grey rainy afternoon. Everything was grey in the 1980s in my little village, even the sun. “That’s a lovely clock,” she said, pointing at the mahogany marvel on the wall. “We can’t afford that,” my father immediately snapped back. “I’m just saying it’s nice. There’s no harm in dreaming.” “Well, dreams cost money too, you know,” he grumbled. Grey silence in the car all the way home. Grumpy love, always looking for a fight.

Tick tock, tick tock,
Another day, another shock.

“He’s late today,” she said, getting the dinner ready. “Does he think we’ve got nothing better to do than wait for him?” A car rumbled into the grey street. In he came, mucky shoes destroying her just-washed floor. Before she could crucify him, he put the box on the table. “Don’t say I never get you anything,” he muttered. She opened the box and gasped. She was speechless as she lifted out the clock. He was silent too, of course, devouring the roast beef. Grumpy love, never has much to say for itself.

Tock tick, tock tick,
Day by day, brick by brick.

Every minute of the day, the clock reminded her that time indeed waits for no one. “We’ve a busy day,” she’d declare. “Our time is not our own today, so stop your dilly-dallying.” No wonder she sighed every time she looked at that bloody clock. Or was she sighing for another reason?

Cuckoo, cuckoo,
The deadline is calling you!

My parents’ time has passed now, of course. And the tick tocks echo loudly in the empty house. I put down the axe and wind the bloody clock.

Listen to the lovely chime.
It looks like I am out of time…

For more details about The Frayed Heart, please visit Orla’s website. Limited copies are also available in Alan Hanna’s bookshop in Rathmines.

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Until next time…


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