Recent Poems

Most of these poems were written during a burst of creativity in April 2020, soon after the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic



I Want to Hold Your Hand

As we walk through the woods, hands entwined, 

We see bluebells, the first sign of Spring,

A blanket of beauty dancing and swaying in the breeze.

It is time to enjoy the early Spring flowers – 

Snowdrops, crocuses, primroses,

Apple blossoms, red poppies, tulips, wisteria.

Around the world, woodlands and gardens burst into life,

Bringing beauty to our wintered eyes.


When the dark clouds are lifted,

I want to hold your hand.

I want us all to hold hands

When we have passed through the darkness together,

A universal challenge that has made us one.

It will be time to form a chain across the globe,

Bearing flowers gifted from the Earth we love.

It will be time for peace and harmony.

May we all hold hands and comfort each other,

As the flags of nations wave in unison across the world.

I want to hold your hand.

I want to hold your hand.

I want to hold your hand.

       Gabrielle O’Flaherty, 1 April 2020



There Will Be Light

“The sun also rises and the sun goes down,

The wind blows to the south, and then turns to the north,

All rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full;

The thing that has been will again be;

There is nothing new under the sun.”

            Ecclesiastes 1:5 – 1:7, 1-9.


As I lie here listening to the birds singing as dawn breaks,

Sunlight pouring through floating clouds,

I know everything is going be alright.

There will be light.


When the sun rises, dark clouds fill the sky.

Souls are dying, souls are dying;

We know everything is not alright.

But the sun will burst through, despite the darkness,

And we will know everything is going to be alright.

There will be light.


As I walk on the shore’s edge,

Footsteps are washed away by the floating tides.

The sun reflects on the water’s edge,

And beach stones glisten bright.

Shore birds feast happily: 

Willets, whimbrels, seagulls mixing with terns,

Flocks of sanderlings ebb and flow with the incoming waves.

Life goes on.

There will be light.

       Gabrielle O’Flaherty, 3 April 2020


“Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah

La-la how their life goes on”

            Beatles: “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da”.



The Fork in the Road

As we walk away, our hands untwining,

The dark sky threatens a big storm.

Clouds burst and rain pelts down, soaking our flesh.

Thunder roars and lightning strikes the fields below.


Sheltering under an old turf shed,

We see a fork in the road.

I take one path and you the other.


I went into the darkness, and you went into the light.


I wonder, if I had taken a different path, what would life have been?

I still feel the stillness and the silence, as I trod on black soaked leaves

Fallen from trees with bare arms reaching in the darkness,

Some already rotting without light.


We will meet again as the darkness fades

And the sunlight warms our hearts.

Our hands will entwine forever as we meet again

At the fork in the road.

       Gabrielle O’Flaherty, 5 April 2020



The Present Will Soon Pass

As I walk out this morning, face covered and gloves on,

I see a stranger at the end of the alley, waving to me.

I wave back, feeling togetherness, despite the unknown.

My glasses fog up as I breathe into my mask.

These are not normal times.

The present will soon pass.


I look up at the sky, and see black clouds looming ahead.

The wind picks up with strong gusts.

My hat blows off, and I run to catch it.

Drops of rain begin to fall.


I see two men on the steps of their house, bending over, stroking their golden Labrador.

I hear words of love and happiness.

They look up and say “Hello”.

In that moment, I feel embraced by the encounter, not wanting to move on.

The present will soon pass.


I keep on walking to the village, where I hear strange voices.

I see a young couple sitting close together on the flatbed of their truck.

They are looking towards the sea.

There is a storm on the horizon, under an overcast sky.

A man approaches them, warning that they could be fined for congregating.

They are not six feet apart.

I stop to chat with them.

Both are out of work, but try to stay positive, saying

“This will soon pass”.


I turn and walk to the seashore. 

The tide is out.

Dozens of sanderlings are gathered together, running towards the ebbing waves.

Nature still goes on, knowing nothing of social distancing,

Nor human suffering around the world.

The present will soon pass.

I walk back and enter an alley.


I see two children playing ball ahead of me.

I turn around and walk the other way, back onto the street.

I see a strange neighbor walking towards me, face masked.

I feel safer.

The neighbor passes on the other side of the street.

We greet each other and wave.

The present will soon pass.


I stop to take photographs of a neighbor’s flowers, their beauty embracing me.

I reach my tiny garden, filled with Spring flowers I planted.

Freesias, gladiolas, orchids have become my friends, as I tended them.

I feel free to touch them, to nurture them, Nature having no barriers.

The rose bushes now have blooms – red, yellow, pink.

I cut some, before the storm blows all their petals away.

Happily, I fill a vase, knowing

The present will soon pass.

       Gabrielle O’Flaherty, 7 April 2020



Times, They Are A-Changing

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,             

Children were playing down on the beach,

The parks were filled with their joy.

Now, both are deserted, fear has set in.

Times, they are a-changing.


But the birds at the seashore are still full of life.

Nature continues, undaunted.

No more footprints left in the sand.

No surfers riding the waves.

Times, they are a-changing.


Neighbors hibernate, contact now a threat,

The silence around us is deafening.

Faces are covered, eyes open wide,                                                            

Alert to danger on the streets we tread.

Times, they are a-changing.


The sun also rises, Earth carries on;

The birds sing their mating songs;

Spring flowers burst with beauty.

Life will continue, with or without us.

Times, they are a-changing.


Today is a warning we all must heed:

Nature is saying “Conserve Mother Earth”,

Let her beauty continue for ever.

Let lands, oceans, and the sky survive.

For we may be gone.

Times, they are a-changing.

        Gabrielle O’Flaherty, 8 April 2020



April, When Darkness Fell

April - when bulbs and shrubs and trees burst into life,

When freesias bring us joy as we inhale their fragrance,

When daffodils dance and flutter in the breeze, under a blue sky,

When roses - white, crimson, yellow - warn us with their thorny spines,

April fills the air with songs from nesting birds.


April – when darkness fell and the Earth froze in time,

As a secret enemy soared through the air to invade humanity.

April saw rose petals, once so beautiful, now wilt with the weight of our tears,

Daffodils, once smiling in dance, now fall dying to the dark earth,

The pungent scent of freesias now masked by covered faces.

The virus engulfed the world in fear and darkness;

Pain, hunger and death now hung below black floating clouds.


April will be remembered as the month

When invisible flames encircled the Earth.

Two hundred thousand lives perished as the virus spread,

And the tears of the world fell on broken hearts.


Our tears will dry when blooms burst forth again in Spring.

Daffodils will smile and heal our wounded souls.

Birdsongs will fill our hearts again with joy.

We will come together around the world

And dance in unison with the daffodils.

           Gabrielle O’Flaherty, 1 May 2020



The Wildness of the Garden

The wildness of the garden meets me in the eye.

As I stand on the red brick terrace,

Surrounded by pots filled with blooms,

I gaze at the expanse of green lawn before me,

Adorned by the old magnolia tree, its blooms open now in spring.

Borders on either side, overflowing with wild shrubs, wild holly, blackberry briars,

Junipers fifteen feet high, plum vines attached to the lilting weathered fence;

The clothesline stretching across the lawn, just visible.


In the distance, more shrubs, an old toolshed,

A large compost heap, dark and rich, shovel and wheelbarrow ready,

A backdrop of dense trees, dominated by tall pines.

The wildness of the garden, a work of many years -


The magnolia tree, long arms covered in buds, 

Stretches towards the blue sky, clouds still lingering after heavy rain.

Buds are beginning to open, the beauty of first blooms,

Pink petals at last bursting through.

Bird-feeders hang full from branches;

Doves, finches, starlings, blackbirds hover, wings outspread, feasting on nuts and seeds.

Squirrels dart about, foraging for food fallen on the grass below.

The wildness of the garden, a home for nesting birds.


The buzzing sound of the lawnmower, the sweet strong odor of fresh-cut grass;

The beat of the clippers, snipping sprouts from hedges, now pristine.

The caretaker stands and bathes in the beauty of it all,

With his floppy khaki hat, his grass-stained shoes,

His rugged hands filled with fresh greens, his red cheeks glowing.

The wildness of the garden – his lifetime’s pride and joy.


He bends to feed his pet tortoise, his friend of twenty years,

Released from kitchen hibernation,

Soaking up rays of sun through his hard shell,

Rediscovering his outside home, protected by wire mesh, 

Munching happily on the fresh greens,

The feel of fresh-cut grass under his belly.

The wildness of the garden, refuge for creatures all.


Later, plums begin to ripen - red ones almost ripe, green ones hard as stones,

Buckets tinkling with purple plums dropped in, covering the bottom.

Wild blackberries push towards the sunlight, glossy purple;

The first ones tasting sweet, juicy;

Tongues lusting for picking;

Briars scratching eager purple-stained fingers.

Jampots, tin cans, brimming with purple berries.

The wildness of the garden embraces all who come.


Friends and family laugh together, sipping on cool drinks,

Seated around the patio table, the umbrella raised on a sunny day;

Grandchildren play badminton on the lawn.

The caretaker, the centrepiece, brings life’s abundance to his wild garden

Through the passing of seasons, through the succession of the years.

The wildness of the garden, may it bring endless joy.

        Gabrielle O’Flaherty, February 2020