‘BITTERN CRY’ by Fergus Hogan

Our sensibility recognizes the divine in Nature and Ceremony. With vision and voice, Fergus Hogan’s lyrics intensify the connection and set it afire. 

Three Stones for a Decision

there’s a path through the woods
round the lake where I pray 
that I take when I’m feeling low down
the summer I left I went to the edge 
and sat there alone every day
just me the fox and the moorhen
we’d watch the sun rise
from the shoreline beyond
and ripple its way across water
till it kissed every stone
on the shoreline this side
and they glistened red-gold-n-amber
till the sun rose so high
it heated the sky  
and the earth and the waters too
and the fox bowed its head  
and returned to the woods  
and the hen went back to the reeds
and I sat alone betwixt and between  
the trees and the water still
my 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 Magic

Now, I feed my worries to the crows
having learned how to live in nature’s cycles 
I plant my troubles in seeds that I’ve gathered in warmer times
I place them on branches, cracks and cervices, of dead old trees
and hidden thin-spaces that miss the company of birds, and song
a gift from me to them, and they come
blackfeathered, blackwinged, blackbeaked
sharptongued they descend in raucous mourning 
and take them all away from metransmuted
my beautiful flock of silver eyed friends 
my 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

8 Responses to ‘BITTERN CRY’ by Fergus Hogan

  1. Frank Wagner says:

    This is magnificent poetry with clear and striking imagery and moving language. Fergus Hogan works to clarify, not obscure. There are no literary games, just touching clarity.

  2. Kathryn Clare Wegrzyn Wegrzyn says:

    The setting in the Poems by Fergus Hogan with nature, respecting in wonderment all which is bestowed upon us. Each path to remedy the course of lifes decisions,whether we hand out or receive it is the comfort to remain present as One Who Gives it up to God.

  3. Mary Fallon says:

    Love the tenderness of these poems. They were prayer-like and hopeful. The poem shelter was particularly moving and reminded me that God is our shelter, especially in such uncertain times. The litany of familiar scents and sites in the church convened a sense of the eternal nature of faith. Thank you for sharing them.

  4. June Granville Mazouch says:

    These are the most !beautiful poems I have ever heard . Thank you!
    I’m from Chicago This has been a blessing