Peter Branson


You morph into your smiling fix

for chat show host or journalist.

Which YOU will they pin up today,

goddess, donkey, world’s wife, slut?

Red carpet’s out, so blood won’t show

when shutters open, gossips spill

your private beans for real cross page

and screen: no air-brush fix; no shame.

Folk you’ve not met claim ownership.

You face them down with badger mask,

from harmless soul to psychopath.

I’d rather be an also-ran,

the I know you and you own me,

but only bits I let you see.


They’ll come as ways

are opened up

spring solstice time.

The lord, his fate

a certitude,

dines with his ghosts.

Through sun and rain,

folk soldier on

much as before.

We mind far less

than burying

a winter’s dead.

Things green apace

as furrows ease

their frowning brows.

Livestock will thrive,

God’s holy will,

the grass grow sweet.

One dragon slain,

another beast

will take its place

Peter Branson © 2009


‘Molestation and rape were widespread and endemic.’

The Ryan Report into Child Abuse, 2009.

‘It had a stench of violence about it.’

Artane Boys’ School, nr Dublin, 1963, run by

The Congregation of Christian Brothers.

Shed my religion here soon after faith

and hope abandoned me, unseen, unheard

to hard-faced charity;  anonymous

as monstrance smiles, rootless as autumn leaves

at these school gates. So many years ago;

I’m damaged totally, for life I sense.

All that you need to do, to comprehend

what happened, hold this mirror to my face.

Just one more station of the cross to bear

with no respite: thrashed if you rocked the boat –

and some got off on that - after they’d come

for you at night. Tripped by their second vow,

burning they fell, yet reigned, Guinness black – white,

estate within a state, as safe as saints.

Peter Branson © 2009