Three Stones for a Decisionthere’s a path through the woodsround the lake where I praythat I take when I’m feeling low downthe summer I left I went to the edgeand sat there alone every dayjust me the fox and the moorhenwe’d watch the sun risefrom the shoreline beyondand ripple its way across watertill it kissed every stoneon the shoreline this sideand they glistened red-gold-n-ambertill the sun rose so highit heated the skyand the earth and the waters tooand the fox bowed its headand returned to the woodsand the hen went back to the reedsand I sat alone betwixt and betweenthe trees and the water stillmy decision as clean as three stones
When I need shelter, I return to the church
Dip my fingers by the door in cold holy water
Genuflect deeply before a golden tabernacle
Kneel down-hard on old oak pews and inhale
Church polish, candle wax, frankincense. Listening to
Childhood memories, close as whispers in dark confessionals
I rang the bell to begin mass and the bell for consecration
I listened to tired priests chanting on dark early mornings
And the chatter of old women after. Once a year on Christmas Eve
I cried with the beauty of angels singing: Gloria in excelsis Deo
I still weep on Good Fridays when I feel the fear of shame
Fall at the back of churches on men’s bent heads like mine
My God, My God why have you forsaken me?
My God, My God hear my prayers as I cry out to you
Crow MagicNow, I feed my worries to the crowshaving learned how to live in nature’s cyclesI plant my troubles in seeds that I’ve gathered in warmer timesI place them on branches, cracks and cervices, of dead old treesand hidden thin-spaces that miss the company of birds, and songa gift from me to them, and they comeblack–feathered, black–winged, black–beakedsharp–tongued they descend in raucous mourningand take them all away from metransmutedmy beautiful flock of silver eyed friendsmy funeral of sin eaters.
Fergus Hogan lives and works in Waterford, Ireland, where he lectures full-time in systemic family therapy and narrative and storytelling therapy at Waterford Institute of Technology. His main research and publications are in the area of men’s lives and fatherhood.
His first novel The Wisdom of Fionn is a retelling of a well known Irish legend which explores men’s lives and masculinities through a lens of Celtic Spirituality, Storytelling and Mythology. It has been serialised and shared for free, a chapter a day, during the stay home stay safe time on his publisher’s Facebook page @Book Hub Publishing.
His poems have been published in the Irish Times and various anthologies. His spoken-word poem “Consent” took first prize in Waterford’s inaugural spoken word and slam poetry competition in 2018.
His first chapbook of poems, Bittern Cry, was published in November 2019. It is available for sale online from his publisher Book Hub Publishing or The Book Centre Waterford and it is also available from the Facebook page of Red Books, in Wexford.