Martin Simms

Paddy Joe

Paddy Joe,

West of Ireland rowing champion,

a man who could dig a hole

and get up out of it

and not a spot on him.

I can still see the picture –

me in Chelsea,

you on the front page

of the Connaught Tribune,

on the shoulders of the crowd

and the headline

They’re home!

Two twos, three o threes

rabbits, hares

pollack, mackerel

fuchsia, apple trees

old storm lamps, walking sticks

empty stables, stone walls,

pitchforks, swallows and sunsets 

and tears when we left you that summer.


Walking back,

in the black Innishnee night.

Happy to find a stone

which sets me back on course

and not down onto the rocks,

or in the ditch.

A glowing red circling light

round and round and round.

The wide-brimmed hat,

the pipe

and the smiling face.

Martin Simms studied German at university and spent a decade odd-jobbing around Europe. He’s worked as an E.F.L teacher in England, Germany, Spain, and Poland, and currently lives in Bangor, County Down with his wife and son, where he enjoys reading, cooking, sleeping and writing.