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Poems & Prose


Copyright © 2019 Margaret Hawkins

All rights reserved. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher.

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Twitter @MargaretHawki10

Bushel Press, Co. Wexford, Ireland

First Edition

ISBN-13: 978-0-9575342-4-7

Print and audio version also available

Editorial consultant: Denis Collins

Ebook formatting and cover design by Ewa Neumann

I freewheel on Saturdays.

Freewheeling is what I call being free to write what I like and having the whole day to do it. It’s that weekend ‘inside smile’ when phones don’t ring.

As with life, writing can be an uphill experience sometimes but on good days, when all is well with the world and one’s pen is in gear, it can be exhilarating. You can almost feel the warm breeze on your face as you freewheel up the hill.

Putting this collection together has been an interesting experience. Decisions abounded – what to put in, what to leave out - but after all is said and sorted I hope that there is eating and drinking in the choices, so to speak. There’s a mixture of topics, poetry, prose and mood so expect some serious as well as some humorous pieces.

It’s writing from a rural heart really as I try, like everyone else, to navigate my way round the world. Fingers crossed there will be something to either tickle your fancy or strike a chord – or both.

Most of what I do is spoken word writing – for radio or public performance - so there is a conversational feel to it. I’ve tried many of the poems out in the monthly Tacumshane Old School Storytelling sessions near when I live and I’ve included short introductions to each piece because, in open mic situations, the tale of how the poem or story came about usually gets an airing first and gives an insight into how the brain cogs kick into motion.

Best wishes as you freewheel




  1. Intro 1

  2. Freewheeling

  3. Intro 2

  4. Dancers In Whitford

  5. Intro 3

  6. Attack On The Heart

  7. Intro 4

  8. Mother’s Painted Nails

  9. Intro 5

  10. That They May Flourish

  11. Intro 6

  12. Survival

  13. Intro 7

  14. Mother, Son & Sonny

  15. Intro 8

  16. Lift Off At Reception

  17. Intro 9

  18. Topsy Turvy Heart

  19. Intro 10

  20. Never Be Dead

  21. Intro11

  22. Nuts On The Road

  23. Intro12

  24. Mother-Of-The-Bride

  25. Intro 13

  26. A Matter Of Taste

  27. Intro 14

  28. Red Shoes Go To Lourdes

  29. Intro 15

  30. Pilgrimage

  31. Intro 16

  32. Stir Crazy

  33. Intro 17

  34. Pews On Wheels

  35. Intro 18

  36. Power Move

  37. Intro 19

  38. Reading The Signs

  39. Intro 20

  40. Nutcracker Sweet

  41. Intro 21

  42. Full Stop

  43. Intro 22

  44. At Sea

  45. Intro 23

  46. Get Real

  47. Intro 24

  48. A Sound Return

  49. Intro 25

  50. Ode To The Bra Extender

  51. Intro 26

  52. Jack And Jane

  53. Intro 27

  54. Party Girl

  55. Intro 28

  56. Granny, Johnny M And The Honda 50

  57. Intro 29

  58. Counter Culture

  59. Intro 30

  60. Ground Breakers

  61. Intro 31

  62. Holier Than Thou

  63. Intro 32

  64. To The Manor Unborn

  65. Intro 33

  66. You’re Still With Me


  1. Intro 34

  2. Aunt Ess

  3. Intro 35

  4. Townland

  5. Intro 36

  6. Missing The Beet

  7. Intro 37

  8. Elsie & Flo

  9. Intro 38

  10. Patsy Troy

  11. Intro 39

  12. Blasted Stones

  13. About the Author



Bikes – herds of them seen on a trip to the Netherlands. They seemed to need a voice


We are abandoned

on the streets

gathered in herds

in the waiting places



at corner shop

tethered, fallen

erect, chained

handlebars locked

like stags at rut

old bikes, new

pedals askew

grey, silver

mostly black

kings of the road

in a land that is flat

proud of the lanes

preserved for us

pedestrians, keep out!

And they use us

when they need to -

people with long hair

and lean limbs

whose hearts pump

getting there

to work or play

children on carriers

or riding in front

plastic sheet

between them

and the wind

we transporting them

to shop and basket fill

return over bridge

or by canal

but betimes

we dream of hills

of the challenge

they would bring

and the joy of freewheeling








Intro 2

I love music – and watching people dance – and sometimes it’s obvious that the urge and the rhythm surge is so great that couples take to the floor even when conditions aren’t ideal

Dancers In Whitford

They stuck it as long

as they could

sitting at table

resisting temptation

feet tapping

fingers mapping

the steps

through Neil Diamond

and Don McClean

rhythm exciting

their souls

until the quick step

finally got to them

Big Tom

oh, what a song

You’re going out

the same way

you came in…

and Johnny Cash

they were up in a flash

I fell into a burning

ring of fire…

and they danced on a spot

no bigger than

a good-sized bed

constant corners

round and round

on the beat

what a treat

in a zone

of their own

and then they sat

the itch scratched

but not fully

for lounge carpet

and scattered tables

had put a brake

on their flight

Intro 3

A sudden death in a family can affect those left behind, particularly if they have been overly dependent on that person being a buffer between them and the world

Attack On The Heart

He was gone

the brother who

brought news

into the house

dead as a cock

no more tick tock

of valve and vein

no more dealing

with mart and vet

and chemist and shop

it had come to a stop

the fixing



and what will they do now

Peg and Jim

out on a limb

no longer insulated

from the world

he translated


regulated for them

because he was the one

good at filling out forms

sorting things out

doing the things they

feared they’d make

a pig’s ear of

He had buffered them

yes, from doing things wrong

and now he was gone

but could this be

the making of them

bring them out of their shell

help worlds unfurl

let them know they’re alive

Or would it drive them

further back

this sudden attack

on the heart

Intro 4

Sometimes it’s far from shop-bought glamour that people live

Mother’s Painted Nails

She admires them on her lap

the now painted nails

on her now soft hands

pink, peach – even plum

the girls ringing the changes

giving her a turn

dolling up

Doing what

seldom happened

when time was short

and money tight

and fingernails were fringed

with pigmeal, pastry, suds

no time then for

the luxury of lacquer

Three strokes

side, side, middle…

And she marvels

at the speed


as others wait

some aware, some not

of the titivation that will come

side, side, middle

masking ridge

smoothing ripple

putting a gloss on things

her mind wandering to the times

she painted them herself

a bottle of clear

bought in Buckley’s chemist

ahead of a wedding

knowing it would last for years

Now she reminds them

when perfection it has

chipped away

and they come again

with bottle

cotton wool

the pungent smell

of pampering released

three strokes for each

and they’re done again

and she is a match

for her day once more

feels polished


contentment finally nailed down

truth varnished

Intro 5

A daughter getting married is a special day. It’s a time for summing up feelings

That They May Flourish

We’re not giving her away

just watching her go

to a new chapter in life

to being a wife

among many other roles

We’re not taking him over

just welcoming him in

the person our daughter loves

Isn’t it the natural way

that, some fine day

focus narrows


a choice of

partner made

when nest is flown

and childhood outgrown

and two people look together

in the same direction

see their reflection

in one another’s eyes

and lives

But for family today

a re-ordering must come

a shift

not a handing over so much

as a standing back where

while that may

pain in part

the bonds must loosen


to embrace

the new reality

let the new unit breathe


so that they can


the future they are building

for themselves

Many here have watched them grow

from child to adult

capable, generous, kind

true beauty

in their essence

people to be proud of

glad of

who, in their own ways

are making

a difference

So we’re here today

to wish them well

to pray that God and life

will bless their path

that they will be guided right

mind each other

and the good fortune

they have hold of

We’re here to tell them, too

what they should know -

that they are loved

for isn’t that

the greatest gift

one not wrapped in bows but



living in the ether

in the space between

the self and the world

in the certainty that, in life,

no matter what happens

they will never be alone

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