I was born in Cork, Ireland. Since graduating from University College Cork, I have lived in London, working as a teacher and educational manager. I have published articles and poetry, and a play, Closing Time, which I co-authored, was staged at the Battersea Arts Centre, London. I published a novel Nidiya and The Children of The Revolution in 2010, and a book of humorous short stories, Zeno & Lu, is due to be published later this year.
The uncapped bottle’s sudden shhh
In a large crowded room:
Contents flow and glasses are raised
To toast the bride and groom.
Outside, the mood is sombre.
The day is dressed in black.
Crowds move in a slow procession,
Taking a well-worn track:
A funeral or a marriage:
It rains down on the dead
While clouds, like cheering guests above,
Shower the newly-wed.
Wake or revels? What does it matter?
You go with all the rest
Though lagging behind a little –
The uninvited guest.
You join the dots of the scattered stars.
You die and then give birth.
You put the face of the man on the moon
To look back down on Earth.
You fall asleep… and asleep awake to
The face of an other,
And then you regard your reflection as
Lover would a lover.
In empty space there’s no reply
But you can hear an echo.
The features of the man you see
Are always more than shadow.
You cross the cold mountains of the moon.
You cross the sunless sea.
You cross… and arrive to tell the tale
With lunar authority.
The temperature drops below absolute zero.
Winter arrives earlier than spring.
Days end with something less and greater than night.
In the half-light, clock hands are fixed in a smile.
Compass needles point to imaginary poles.
Life slows down to keep company with stone.
Stone is the ovum and the mala of stasis
Until in the sky, in a mess of yellows and whites,
From the sun's spilt yolk you slowly arise,-
Heralded by the silence, rise, like the dawning
Of a new planet to a new meridian,
Then slowly revolve to show your unmasked face.
Your crown, a nest of hissing vicious glory
Of bird-like creatures, winged but featherless,
Rooted to the spot though poised to fly.
Bunched together, these querulous siblings,
Identical yet constantly at war,
Would rather perish than look you in the eye.
©2015 Harvey O'Leary