Poetry Originals #15: Peter Adair

In: Showcase

Two new poems for Peter Adair in the latest instalment of our Poetry Originals series. 'Demolition' is an apt remember of the important of understanding and awareness when it comes to mental health. 'The Greenhouse' is a fine addition to the lexicon of Northern Irish botanical poems from Longley, Bleakney et al.


After the mental ward was smashed to rubble
the workmen doffed their helmets, cracked jokes,
mimicked the loonies’ laughter and pulled daft faces.
But the rain forgave, forgave, cleansing shattered bricks,
slivers of glass, those cracked tiles where the crazies
wept, or all night stamped out a manic dance
or shuffled back and forth in a suicidal waltz.

For the out of mind dumped out of sight,
the tomb people who stank in their grave clothes,
no one raises a statue that screams their names,
or a shiny new plaque.  These are the thrice-erased.
Yet when the workmen leave: wraiths, whispers…
someone prays forever for peace that never came.

The Greenhouse

Does that rickety greenhouse still stand
where she pottered about and soaked up the sun?
She watered geraniums that flamed
like meteors, or coaxed tomatoes
with strange elixirs.  All the seeds
her quick fingers sowed.

Now trowel and can are gone,
all her flowers blown away.
Yet the nerines, edging the greenhouse,
might still be growing, bulb-clumps
of skulls, thin pink fingers
trembling like her hands on the sheet.

Picture for blog story Poetry  Originals #15: Peter Adair

Peter Adair’s poems have appeared in the Honest UlstermanFour X FourPanning for PoemsThe Stare’s NestSnakeskinI am not a silent poet, The Bamboo Hut, Failed Haiku and Haiku Universe. He won the 2015 Translink poetry competition. He reads at Purely Poetry open mics at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. He lives in Bangor.

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