David Ratcliffe

Barren Branch

A barren branch kisses the pane,

adding hollow percussion

to the dirge, I direct at the

loss of everything, casting shadows

on the walls of my filthy retreat.


The whistling wind erodes time

carrying me eagerly toward dawn;

the dank musty smell of neglect

replacing the fragile fragrance

of another time, another place.

Random creaks, constant ticks,

a rustle of brittle leaves merge,

removing the soft velvet voice

that once called my name

with fondness, now spent.


I lay here in shit, open my eyes,

try to picture a face in the murk,

lean to kiss what appears a sweet

neck, and inhale the reek of

stale sweat on my pillowcase.


Tap tapping continues as I cower

beneath grime into oblivion where

accusation beats my brow and

I sink into the mire, with just a book

of fairy tales at my side.




Ruairi Fallon Mc Guigan’s (1993 Belfast) paintings, prints and objects combine memories, architectural desires, the domestic and his cultural background. Fictional spaces are constructed and distorted in order to convey insight into his political and domestic existence.

© 2019 by Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival. Website by What Elephant. Artwork by Conor Barbour. 

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