Mark W. Ó Brien describes himself as an Artist, Poet, Philosopher King. He is the author of Neo-lethean Dreams (2009), Telluric Voices (2013), and an alumnus of the “Blackwater International Poetry Festival” held yearly in Fermoy County Cork, the town of his families origin. His latest collection: Lenticular Memories (2014) was launched in Ireland at the Festival in 2014. Mark was invited by the festival and traveled there with generous help of fellow poets from around the world via a crowd funding campaign.

That Sweet Weekly Agony

Where are you now
Sister Mary Margaret
with your Muskerry lilt
and your sea green eyes?

Is it the retirement home
or had you left the order
an birthed your own so?

Are you sadly gone
contentedly now only
asleep in the Lord?

Do you know
I still remember
the scented spice
of your hand?
You laughed
calling it: “Eau
de Ho-lee.”

Do you know
I still remember
those Saturday
mornings
learning rhymes?

When my brother
stayed home to watch
Mighty Mouse
Tom & Jerry
Heckle and Jeckle
and I shucked off
to you?

This scared
frustrated kid
you taught to read
with rhyme
came to love you
looking forward
eventually not only
to you but the
poetry as well
the two forever
intwined.

This endless rhymist
you set spinning off
through life
a tool kit of words
finely grasped
only basically
within these hands then.

Where ever
you are now
Sister Mary Margaret
Thank-you
for the gift
of my lifetime!

It took all these years
to recognize
the mustard seed
and it’s sower.

The soil was good
crop successful.

“Amen to that now,
Amen and Amen.”

 

Reaching

I’m maybe five
when we used to watch
Wild Kingdom before Disney
every Sunday.

Marlin Perkins is wrestling tigers
in absentia. His trusty assistant Jim
taking the blows to Marlin’s
narration.

Reminds me of my sister
chasing my little brother and I
with that scary picture of a tiger
leaping towards the camera.

When nothing Muse this way comes
I am often inspired by
the encyclopedia
of fear.

 

Biddy; When I Was Young

…the wind piped slow through weed and sedge
while I set perched upon the ledge….

Upon my word
one night I set alone
in the house until
I saw a specter of a former love
standing to my windowsill.

…and without so much as a blink
remembered her in her kitchen
cleaning the sink…

Sort of tremble came into my blood
and I heard my father say as he would:
“So when you go in to see the body
you must take off your cap.”
He spoke with authority
to my unconscious trap.

“Go down on your knees
beside the body
say a prayer
and don’t you be worrying
the body will make a stir

…just pray for her soul as it were.”

Entering slowly
I went down on my knees
but it was not for prayer
I was thinkin’ if you please

I was watching her body for fear
for fear it would make a twitch
when I were near.

Later, I heard my ol’ man intone
when we was once again alone:
“Isn’t it strange….” he pondered,
lookin’ out toward the horizon
as his thoughts they wondered…

“She makes such a nice corpse
it’s a shame she was run over
by the Parson’s horse.”

“You may well say so.” He implied,
“You may well say so.” I lied.

 

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