“Cats and Boxes”; “Playground”

Cats and Boxes

Muezza, favoured cat
of the Prophet,
ended her tale thus
on the one thousand
and second night:
“O cats who came from
the Libyan Desert
and conquered Egypt
and the known
world with fur and claw,
heed then this tale
of the flying box
which like the carpet
is carried by djinn
directly to Mecca;
I enjoin you to try all boxes
and sit within.”

Julian O’Dea

——————————————-

Playground

The children go inside
vacate the playground
and leave the light
to play alone
glancing and beaming
as a truant wind scrapes
a dry leaf along the ground
like a small boy grazing
his knee.

Julian O’Dea

Love and Dogs

TIME WAS

we could conjure

a hearth and

you let your hair

down like a pour

of molten gold

from a jeweller’s

trembling hand

Julian O’Dea


DOG

Flopping on the bed

our friendly white Samoyed

happily blows phlegm

into the air

like a tiny Moby Dick

disgorging precious

ambergris.

Julian O’Dea

Nadège du Bospertus, leaving the stage sidesaddle

Garden Whites

Garden Whites

pallid Pierid butterflies
like shards of light
alight on
the bush heaving with scent
wings singed fringed
like scraps of a burned
book carried in warm air
moving fretfully to
settle and crack the code
of pollination
to turn scattered matter
into seed

Julian O’Dea

Unicorn Blood

A makeup colour.

The girl is biting her lip, a sign of arousal or interest.

Spring

Spring comes out again
like a painting
from the attic
that we eagerly scan
– here is a patch of pink
– how lifelike the leaves
– hold it out in the light
– more light please.


Julian O’Dea

FOR THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION

FOR THE FEAST OF
THE ASSUMPTION

In Irish not simply Máire
but Muire for the Virgin Mary
like murine for a mouse
in Bethlehem the “house
of bread” bred Christ
to feed the ages then
snug as a dormouse
in a Roman glirarium
fell asleep to rise
from her Dormition.

Julian O’Dea

MINOTAUROMACHY

MINOTAUROMACHY

Ancient agonistic minotaurs
each day anew disport themselves
chimaeras of the real and fanciful
heaving and fighting and bleeding
on the hot yellow sand
dying elegantly contorted
to wake unharmed in the morning
for another day of their ancient
Mediterranean games under sherbet
clouds in timeless Moroccan blue.

Julian O’Dea

MOSAIC

I make a mosaic in my mind
from shards of memory
and remains of splintered
dreams of sun and sky
that retain their gilded hue
and rich lapis blue
and, after picking up
the pieces and putting them
into some kind of place,
an image emerges
that hovers like an angel
somewhere between
the random and ideal.
———–
Julian O’Dea

ST MONICA’S CHAPLET

ST MONICA’S CHAPLET

Rain falls like Monica’s tears
for her child, or the pitter-patter
of an innocent heart,
on the tin roof as a chaplet
of beads.
Patient, like love a given,
enduring enough to soften
a heart of stone.

Julian O’Dea