Poems From Sunfire
The After-Mass Men. comment
Remember those figures by the church wall
Sculpted in after-mass conversations:
That hung there by their jackets;
Museums with pockets,
Pockets full of knives, pipes and matches.
Pre-christians defiling Sabbaths
With their Saturday conversations.
Coats would be wrapped against them
As though they were sudden showers of hail
burst like plastic footballs.
Waiting on this sand-paper plain,
I am no more than a skull
With biro for harpoon,
I remain still
in the little pool of my shadow,
turning questions over
on the spit of my mind;
I have burnt larks on my plate.
All The Beautiful Days
Days, beautiful days,
and he died
with all the beautiful days
like a wishbone in his throat.
Two passers-by stopped and looked:
How did his eyes become like that ?
They became bleached blue with liquor madness.
How did his face get so torn up ?
He often fell but was not dead.
And old, why is he so old ?
Because he fought with every single day,
and each day's victory was notched into his face.
Poem Beside Your Hospital Bed. comment
that I loved,
has changed so completely
that I already know
our time is gone.
And as dying,
like a sandstorm,
rearranges your features,
I am useless,
a cripple of words.
So if the winds in your head
will carry the smallest breath
of what I am saying, father:
let it be that
my proud years are tatters here;
I love you.
Of course not!
Of course no one that ever cracked open a head
has seen a symphony pour out.
No executioner has seen the flow of an amber fireside with its intimate and tangling caresses
drain from the split skulls of lovers
nor have soldiers who shoot dark holes
seen rafts of memories spilling,
carrying the children, the birthdays, the orchards, the dances.
When they shot the poet, Lorca,
the bullets sailed in a universe,
yet when the blood spurted it was only blood to them.
The Country Child.
The country child
runs in and out of rain showers
sees the snake-patterns in trains,
the sun's sword-play in the hedges
and the confetti in falling elder blossoms;
knows the humming in the telegraph poles
as the hedgerow's voice
when tar bubbles are ripe for bursting;
watches bees emerge
from the caverns at the centres of buttercups,
feels no end to a daisy chain,
feels no end to an afternoon;
walks on ice though it creaks;
sees fish among ripples and names them;
is conversant with berries
and hides behind thorns,
slips down leaves, behind stones;
fills his hands with the stream
and his hair with the smell of hay;
recognizes the chalkiness
of the weathered bones of sheep,
the humour in a rusted fence,
the feel of the white beards that hang there.
The country child
sees a mountain range where blue clouds
are heaped above the horizon,
sees a garden of diamonds
through a hole scraped
in the frost patterns of his bedroom window
and sees yet another world
when tints of cerise and ochre
streak the evening sky.
He knows no end, at night
he sneaks glimpses of Heaven
through the moth-eaten carpet of the sky.
All poems © Michael O'Dea and the Dedalus Press.