Champagne Sorbet

On the day in summer when the old man warms his bones,
Stretching idle legs on Sean Walsh park benches,
Mimicking the patient heron balanced in the water,
First one and then the other, pop, ease and crack,
The light will be thrown off at an angle, just right.

Soft tones glow, wrap warm around the moment,
Drawing a long contented sigh from the soul,
Of the inkstained child of Inis Fail,
Grown now with a full notebook,
Who remembers the days of champagne sorbet.

Close he the eye to drift with flight feathers spread,
Meander along the lane, lined with ten thousand doors,
The tap and rap, the welcome in and rush of memory,
Full formed fat tears and Nile wide smiles,
Distilled into history as drink listener is made.

by Ruairí de Barra

This poem is dedicated to my friend, Michael J Whelan. I am proud and privileged to serve with this man, and even more so to call him a friend and mentor. The organisation in which Michael and I have the good fortune to serve is a unique place, full of interesting and dedicated people from all walks of life. Yet even within this rare community of talented people, Michael is a rare thing. A shining light for the rest of us.

Husband, Father, Soldier, Historian, Author, Peacekeeper, and Poet.

Published in ‘Live Encounters’ Special 12th Anniversary Editon in December 2021. You can read the five poems in this special volume on the Live Encounters website or download a free .pdf copy just by clicking here

Live Encounters is a wonderful publication and all of its issues, as well as special editions, may be found on its website at

I would like to thank Mark Ulyseas for seeing fit to include my work once again in the same pages of some truly talented people.

Photo Credit: Michael J Whelan.

Please find Micheal here:

You can buy his two collections at the link below. He has and continues to donate all author royalties from my recent poetry books Peacekeeper & Rules of Engagement to support Irish military veteran charities (the Irish United Nations Veterans Association & the Organisation of National Ex Service Personnel) who assist with accommodation, counseling, food parcels and other safety-net essential services for those who have fallen on hard times.

Michael J. Whelan

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