Bernard MacDonagh

Bernard Macdonagh
Bernard Macdonagh

Born 1953 London. Brought up in Ireland from 1959 until 1972. Teacher trained at Strawberry Hill London. First poems published in Irish magazines and newspapers around 1975. Started teaching English in Aldershot and continued publishing poems in English, Welsh and Scottish magazines. Organised poetry weeks and edited 3 poetry mags in Aldershot. First collection published by Arrow Press in 1980. 1982 Joined Southern Arts writers in schools programme. Moved to Portsmouth 1986. Worked as teacher-in-charge of Highlands Centre for Adolescents out of school for 23 years. Now working as a Lead Teacher Adviser in secondary schools in Portsmouth. Continued to write poems and go to workshops and do readings in schools. Helped Maggie Sawkins set up Tongues and Grooves in 2003. Pupils from Highlands read their poems at the T&G sessions. From my love of Irish Traditional music and playing the Irish button accordion the band Feckless born from sessions at the Florence.

I continue to write and publish poems and music and collaborate with poets like Maggie and George Marsh as well as Feckless to use music and poetry as a source of fun and entertainment.

She picked him because he would dance
in the bar, drunk but knowing the steps.
She spun him and cajoled him
like you would a shy horse.
Small and soft but with strength in her arm.

The bar room comes back to me
where the men bucked like stallions
and the women whinnied joy
as the squeeze-box plied them.

And he was sobered by her
and led her a bit, but she
took him round unexpected like
until he gave in. They did spin
so they did, for five minutes.

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