There's a poem in there somewhere...

It is life experiences that inform the creative work and stimulate a sharp awareness that slips the poet unannounced into gems of metaphors. And gems of course mean poems!

Maurice Spillane was born in Dublin. He has worked in Ireland, England, Zambia and the United States.

In 1980 he started his first company, RTS, an early innovator in the international software scene. The story is recorded in John Sterne’s book “Adventures in Code” which is a history of the Irish software industry. RTS was a model of the good and the difficult in growth companies. Maurice featured on TV, Radio and magazines regularly and won several business awards including the American Express Marketing award.

RTS was sold in 1986 to an American company and he worked for them for three years before founding the next of several entrepreneurial enterprises.

Maurice lives in Liddington in Wiltshire with his wife, Fiona.



When you leave the M4, like all motorways,
Your choice is limited.
You can go north or south.
North is towards the hospital and the town,
The road lit up at night like a landing strip.
If you go that way, you will drive in a brake-slip
From the rush of speed, but you won’t get lost.
Going south is different.

The lights are dim and few, and going up the hill
Kills your speed. A controller flashes 50
And you slow down some more,
Then slower again before turning left,
Down a dark country lane where a man
Parks his car with the tail out as a warning,
Then the glasshouse where my lights approach
And slip around by the pin-prick hedge
As the road bends, but bends with attitude.
There are no choices between these lines.

Then accelerate and back over the M4,
Like cheating, like repeating with another chance
That announced itself some time before,
Then move to slow and fast as the road permits
Until you come to the passing places,
Where every time through here is touching fear.
But you’ve come from the motorway
And the locals are still in second gear
As you would have been this morning.
You think: this is too fast, one day I will meet myself
In this passing place and then we shall see.

But not tonight.
Sharp right and sharp left,
Right again by the Village Inn,
And if you are careful you will see the gap,
A gap in a hedge, easily missed, a mantilla entrance
Unfolding like tossed hair to the very few.
And now you slow right down, turn off the radio,
Ease into the ease of coming home.
The dog barks, and you wait for the latch,
The signal to step into her arms and wrap her smile
Around the open door shadows and candles,
And her soft smells that weave us into a place
Where decisions no longer seem
The same as once they had been seen.

From Among Friends 2007

She is Left-Handed

She is left-handed –
Think about that.
Think about cutting bread with a very sharp knife,
Or turning a page, or counting notes,
Or tying a lace, or dishing out mash,
Or brushing her teeth, or massaging your throat,
From the left-hand side.

She is left-handed –
Each statement a tripwire
Of half-breath deliberations,
Of unfinished sentences,
And then the distant gaze
And the deviation down some ferreting hole,
Holding everyone’s attention,
But not through conversation,
Oh no, it’s a heartfelt wish that she’ll come back.
And everyone’s too polite to ask
If left-handed people are all like that.

She is left-handed –
When we met she slept on the left,
Announced some ownership rights,
Some distorted set of back to front,
But a moment of surrender
Sent her over the edge,
And now she sleeps on the right side of the bed,
Where women usually sleep –
Especially when they are with men.

She is left-handed –
Which requires tolerance from me
When she rattles my ordered world.
Now I buy fish and chips for two,
And the wine is gone about half way through,
But it’s touching glasses left to left
That really messes up my head.

And she says she loves me,
Like she means it,
Like it might be true,
Like a left-handed person might say it,
Who hasn’t quite worked out
How wonderful it is to be
With someone disturbingly wonderful.
That’s she.

From Love and Other Distractions 2004


It’s too late to get up early,
So I’ll lie awhile,
Foetal in this English bed,
And assume the position
Of my daughter’s child
Tucked in an Irish womb.

I can’t quite get used to grandfather
Or, God forbid, show preference to its sex –
There’s that awkward word again.
And why should it be awkward
This begetter of a life?
My child is carrying a child.

I lie back on my hands and compute the years.
This child could see the next century,
Might even read these words at the century’s turning,
Might even chuckle with grandchildren
About the black-sheep grandfather,
Might even fondly recall the dead.

It doesn’t seem so bad that this coming
Will be an advent of our going.
This is also my milestone
My joy beneath this Egyptian cotton sheet
That I have a child who’ll have a child,
A continuance beyond our brief.

from Among Friends 2007


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