Fern by Mike Gallagher


Day of the Wren.

I pick a hart’s- tongue fern

On its leaf are hieroglyphs

Dark brown gnarls that bear

A message more ancient

Than script or scripture

Than language or dialect

Than ogham or rune.

 Etched before

Stone-age drawings

Before Torah or Toath

Before religion or writing

Before Greece or Rome

Before philosophy

Before theology.

Before Adam.

It tells of

Survival, of renewal

Of harmony, of balance

Of beauty, of tolerance.

Writ by nature,

It asks

When will Man

Learn to read?


Mike Gallagher is an Irish writer and editor. His prose, poetry, haiku and songs have been published worldwide. His writing has been translated into Croatian, Japanese, Dutch, German, Italian and Chinese He won the Michael Hartnett Viva Voce competition in 2010 and 2016, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Award in 2011 and won the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Contest in 2012. His collection Stick on Stone is published by Revival Press.


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