Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Bad Days – a poem

By Michael J. Whelan

Michael J. Whlean served as a peacekeeper with the Irish Army in South Lebanon and Kosovo. He was 2nd Place Winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2011 and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2012. His poems and short stories have been published in Cyphers, Crannog and The Moth. (


The mist peels back for the rainfall,

I feel the craziness once more.


In the wild eyes of an old man’s face

I see his mirrored thoughts

fouled by the bad days just gone,

still trapped here in this place.


The sky is falling,

lingering mist slowly revealing pain

as it clings to leafless treetops.

Each breath I take is different

every one he takes – the same.


The closer I come to the stone,

to the fabric – the tales

gripping this village

the lonelier I become,

my ears want to hear,

my eyes to see

but my heart says ‘no.’


There is groaning

in the empty doorway,

my stomach tightens,

he is calling to his wife.

I button up my combat jacket,

shove my hands deep into pockets,

make fists that no-one sees.


She will not come,

his heart is breaking again.

I step back,

back out into the sucking mud.