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Good Friday 2019

Good Friday 2019

The bees of Notre Dame
survived the fire and hum
their ancient chant: 
“to work is to pray,
to work is to pray” …
we will gather sweetness
from the flowers
of Sainte-Chapelle today,
and make wax for Easter
candles in our home.

Julian O’Dea

Notre Dame

Notre Dame, April 2019

Life holds out 
a blackened branch
Notre Dame is burning.
Where is my heart?
Dying in an upstairs room.

 

Julian O’Dea

For the poet Philip Larkin

FOR PHILIP LARKIN

The evening buses wind their
way through the suburb
like worms in cheese,
taking workers home to
where their dreams lie
about like broken toys,
where videos and TV shows
portray scenarios that glow
of other people who
have beautiful coworkers
and dramas that resolve themselves.

Julian O’Dea

The Dog, The Separable Soul

The Dog, The Separable Soul

As a blind man’s cane becomes
another limb; and a lost leg only
takes a halting leave; as a car lover
feels the pain of any scratch; so has
this pup grown on me; and when
he roams, it is as my separable soul.

Julian O’Dea

The Eternal Paternal

The Eternal Paternal

 

Yes, dear daughter, my
little bleating lamb,
what is it this time?

 

Evening and morning,
you importune me,
at times convenient
and inopportune.

 

Once it was lollies, dollies,
to come to tea
with fairy cups and doilies.

 

But now it’s for a little cash,
for a quick dash to the
shops and coffee with
a friend.
May it never end.

 

Julian O’Dea

The Colour of Irony

The Colour of Irony

Of the roses I bought her,
the only one to survive
was a colour
she disliked, mauve;
and it is blooming now,
with a single pouting rose
that faces straight up as
if to ignore us both
and strain to kiss the sky.

Julian O’Dea

Leaving

LEAVING

Most people die in rooms
too small for their lives;
nothing expansive remains; 
the spaces get smaller
and smaller, until their
vista shrinks to a hospital
courtyard or TV screen.

There is a lot to be said
for dying far at sea,
like a torpedoed mariner;
or in a singing desert,
like a misplaced explorer;
or disappearing right into
the sky, a carefree aviator.

 

Julian O’Dea