A Cafe in Sandymount Green Dublin on a Tuesday Morning in September

by John Saunders

A Café in Sandymount Green Dublin on a Tuesday Morning in September

The au pairs play with the children
around a table of bottles and beakers.
Jenny from Asia speaks in broken English
to her colleague Consuela from Spain.
George upends his glass of Orangeade
over his tee shirt and pants.
He is whisked away to the bathroom
under a verbiage of Spanish expletives.

Oisin unacquainted with the stickiness
of his ice-cream covered fingers tangled
in blonde plays with his minders’ hair.
The infants roll on the mat generously
provided by the café owner thoughtful
of customer satisfaction and improved profits.
One of them slides onto the corridor space
where the old lady with bottle end glasses stands.

The twins, Minnie and Mellissa have discovered
the washable paint walls do take crayon.
The American girl is talking to whomever
wants to listen about what her boyfriend likes
to do with his hands. The customer opposite
momentarily lifts his head from his newspaper.
The young student type from an East European
country pleads with the boy pouring sugar

into his cup of milk. She shouts what sounds
like – Stop you little brat. He doesn’t.
The news headlines announce themselves.
The older ones rise, pack satchels and bags,
open buggies and prams, install their small charges.
The café is silent and abandoned except for the man
with the newspaper and the spectacled lady.
The waiter arrives with a refuse sack, mop and bucket.

A Second Hand Book Shop

Musty, dust cornered wooden shelves, twisted
from the weight of so many brown paged, scuffed
and scotched copies of Yeats, O’Casey, Wilde, O’Brien,
Dunleavy, Behan or any name you care to mention.
They are all present in a quaintly ordered disorder
waiting for the skunk nosed collectors, elderly poor,
in for the heat, the post grads searching for arcane
references. This is the place to sit on a wood frame,
squeaky wicker chair, absorb the smell of dead poets,
congregate with the canon of antiquated playwrights.
The same old lady who is always here stacks volumes,
unpacks, handles that metal pricing gun like a weapon.
Every book is €2.99, but in the desired hands – precious.
If she’s in the mood she’ll spin you dog-eared stories
of how all the greats – Kavanagh, John B, O’Connor
and even Heaney dropped in. He smiled, chatted to her,
sat in that same chair, looked out the window
as if waiting for something to happen, his face aglow.

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John Saunder’s first collection ‘After the Accident’ was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in numerous Irish, United Kingdom and American poetry journals and on many online sites.

John is one of three featured poets in Measuring, Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012. His second full collection Chance was published in April 2013 by New Binary Press.

He has also had poems included in anthologies such as The New Binary Press Anthology of Poetry, Stony Thursday, The Scaldy Detail 2013, Conversations with a Christmas Bulb,2013 ( a Kind of Hurricane Press), The Poetry of Sex, (Penguin), 2014, Fatherhood Anthology 2014 (Emma Press UK). He was shortlisted in the 2012 inaugural Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition and is a 2014 Pushcart Nominee.

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art by Samuel Barrera


Neruda and the Bishop’s Heart and other poems

by John Saunders


Neruda and the Bishop’s Heart

Life is only a borrowing of bones

he said, his heart  coming to town

where he was treated like a heretic,

when they could not tell the difference.


They were dead even before the ship sank,

birds flying high over halted bodies,

revealing truth to those who watched.


The body that gives pleasure is the same one

that gives pain, the difference – perception .



The River Took Her


She came of the earth,

was of earth.

Breathed the air,

was of air.

Drank the water,

was of water.

She was of earth, air, water.

She ate the earth,

left the air.

Returned to the water.



I and the Village


Did you mean to forecast the future

where an upside-down world would dance

to the dogma of conflict and nationhood?

They look at each other, demon eyes

locked like sheep  in trenches

close enough to hear breathing,  smell blood

or perhaps it’s the frenzied

play of colour and shape

that spurns the natural order of things.


I and the Village 1911 –  Marc Chagall




John Saunders’ first collection ‘After the Accident was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in Revival, The Moth Magazine, Crannog, Prairie Schooner Literary Journal (Nebraska), Sharp Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Boyne Berries, Riposte, and on line, The Smoking Poet, Minus Nine Squared, The First Cut, The Weary Blues, Burning Bush 2, Weekenders, The Galway Review, Poetry Bus and poetry 24.

John is one of three featured poets in  Measuring,  Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012.

His second full collection is due to be published in Spring 2013 by New Binary Press.


Art by Sheila Lanham