The United Arts Club

Fostering the Nine Arts in Ireland


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Award winning poet and United Arts Club member Ray Mullen


The mirror restores

the images we see

back from left to right.

– Or perhaps that’s right to left?

I wonder if there’s an axis in the middle?


It never switches up to down,

(or down to up for that matter)

even if you turn the mirror sideways.

It’s probably all gravity and stuff

that keeps some semblance

of normality on our world.

What’s up goes up,

what’s down stays down,

and so on.

It could be the other way around

of course,

– or maybe it’s all

just a little sideways.

Award winning poet and United Arts Club member Ray Mullen



Some years ago, or yesterday,

I threw a book into the air,

a medium tome,

hard backed, gold edged and well bound.

I watched as it arced

slowly through each temporal cliché

from the dawn of time till Gabriel’s call,

becoming something new

within the changing quanta

of the universe.

I see it leave a fading rainbow

of trailing images

in the continuum that is the past.

As it twisted and splayed,

carrying its recorded magic

from one instant to the next,

I cannot tell if it stayed the same

or has such infinite existences

so as not to be at all.

Quite suddenly it is substance

in my hand once more,

its spine unbroken,

its future and its truth intact.

and from its pages beckoned

those meaningless words

once silently remembered

by the Holy Bishop of Hippo

Award winning Poet and United Arts Club member Ray Mullen

Da Capo


If you re-tell a life,

tell and re-tell things that had happened,

tell and re-tell old loves, friends and deaths

(if only to yourself), if you re-tell a life

events will swirl and stick to a line of time

like flies to poisoned  paper.

They will become like notes on a stave,

finding congruity and harmony in a key

that, in their soundless isolation, did not exist


And, as you tell and recount, you know it must be false;

harmony and progression are not singular;

melody moves only from silence to silence.


If you chose then not to re-tell the story,

the sequence and harmony seem to fail;

the sounds jangle and grate,

and they lie unplaced without resonance,

like old broken delft, the shadow memory of

a shattered pattern on a painted cup,

or some random flies scattered dead

in the corner of the dusty window frame.


If you re-tell a life

accidental structures

will emerge unbidden in the telling.

The shape and sound of words will

gather in the fragments of other things –

strange motes and specks that could be gold,

or broken cobwebs flecked with dead flies’ wings.


And so too are gathered in your wheezing pauses,

the breaths of breathing ghosts,

the creaking of the old house and

the banshee wind astride the high gables

screeching and re-screeching

like Minerva never wanting

and never finding peace.


A new word turns an old corner,

and a pattern shifts. Past and future

never really meet and the present

always returns

to an old beginning.















Ray Mullen – Award Winning Poet and United Arts Club Member



I’ve a pair of sturdy old boots

that nearly have the creak gone out of them,

steel-toed rostra that might have sat

at the stage edge waiting for a spool

to wind or a leaf to fall.


I am troubled by autumnal words

swirling  falsly,

strewn hither and thither by the cracked winds

of eyeless Vallombrosa.


There is a morning chill; little comfort

before the day begins or ends.


It is death who follows with bare feet,

lightly crossing the red stained tiles

in fear my boots would crush her brittle toes.

Award winning poet and United Arts Club member – Ray Mullen


(es hora de seguir otro camino, donde ella no sonría)


I dreamt

I saw Lucia last night

chatting on the train,

going home

from Heidelberg.


Her feet were tucked

underneath her on the seat.

Laughing lightly as she spoke

she warmly gripped my hand.


From time to time

she leant her head towards mine,

almost touching my brow with hers

and smiling like no other woman

could ever smile,


and her sweet breath whispered

the sins of paradise.

Award winning poet and United Arts Club member Ray Mullen



In the margins of my life I notice

that my poor dog is growing old.

Some days I look into her eyes and try

to rationalise the end of things,

(and the real end of things)

as we go about our common tasks.


Perhaps we both sense an approach of change,

together as we sometimes are

in the garden,

her, resting in the shade beneath my chair and I

wrestling with my book of words.


But she and I can understand nothing of it,

nothing of this single triple mystery,

this light turning into darkness, into light,

this silence into noise, into silence,

this unconnected cry of names and nouns

that trades no wisdom anywhere,

this other trinity ,

this tangled unity of birth, death and life.


No, nothing, I’m afraid, makes any sense to me

nor, I suspect, to her, asleep now beside me.

She and I are simply growing old in the

emptying margins of our lives.


Award Winning Poet and Arts Club Member Ray Mullen



sleek men are on the streets again,

suited, slick and tie-less;


women in black, clicked and smart,

not daring to be over forty;


all of an age

in their open easy fashion

they loudly crowd the pavements and the wine bars

near the Shelbourne and Fitzwilliam.


man-bags, girl-bags, brief-bags slung with careless lies

stuffed with evidence of worse to come.

Award Winning Poet and Arts Club Member Ray Mullen

Ray Mullen

I was reared and received my early education in Dundalk. I went to secondary school in Limerick and attended  University College  Galway where I obtained an Arts Degree in  English, History and Psychology.  I later  moved from the humanities to study pure maths and statistics with the Open University.

In  2009 I won the Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award. I was Highly Commended in the same competition in each year from 2010 to 2014 inclusive. I won the competition for the second time in 2015. The the only poet to win it twice.

I have been writing poetry on and off since secondary school and in  2010 a book called “Pennyworths” containing some 31 poems of my poems was published.

While I believe that through poetry we learn a lot about how we feel, we can also learn much about who we are and what we believe we are. I think of poetry as being a part of our consciousness that contributes to our search for meaning and identity. It is natural companion to science, art and music.




…………Ill fate and abundant wine

I slept in Circe’s ingle.

(Homer’s Odyssey  – Ezra Pound)


I fell asleep last night

whispering to myself

“You beguile me…

You beguile me …”.


The sweep of your dress,

the curve of your thigh,

the roundness of your small breast.

You beguile me.


I hear your laughter,

I see your smile.

In the pauses of my dream.

you touch my hand

with your fingers. And again;

and then your hold me.

With your magic

you beguile me.


I listen to your slender girlhood,

your foolish loves, your dreams

that never died.

You beguile me.


You held me, twice,

your rat, your swine,

and I am now beguiled

by my own slender hope.

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