Pongua Falls, Vietnam

Fare thee well now
One midnight horn calls
So I shall travel after
Following the smoke on the tracks
Down dark’s ribcage
Into the starglow

Remember me when the mist burns
When heat of day afloat goes
Trembling over the wild hay

I too passed along this way
Embraced and embracing
I roamed in the wind’s kiss
In day’s dews bathed

I was young when grief came
Too when love I claimed
My share of the fruit partook
Returned to me was all of this
I gave away, not craved

To bed of wheat
To silk of dream my weave
I got to the moonwash spilled
Plucking tears so to be filled
My hands of nectars soothed and stilled

Goodbye, goodbye
I will know you by your eyes
My luring breeze now flies
So to sleep bow I my sighs

Written November 15, 1995

Image source

About Desmond and Poems Unrequited.

Copyright © 2013 Mani O'Brien. All rights reserved.

Warbling Birds


Warbling birds
In the trees near the Mosque
Under a grey dawn sky
Beholding rise of day
For a gentle phrase to say
I look into the songs of the birds
But there, there are no words
Untinged by the sorrow that is mine,
Dark, even as the world
Will soon be shine

Written on February 28, 1996

About Desmond and Poems Unrequited.
Image source

Copyright © 2013 Mani O'Brien. All rights reserved.

A Grey Day and Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell

A grey day and Joni Mitchell morning
Ladies of the Canyon
And you always come to mind
With your tresses in the wind
And your hash pipes puffing
How long ago it all seems
But like yesterday too,
Me and you
Down by the creekbed
Under the full moon
Before you left for Boulder
And I went on to other gardens

I’d like to bring it all back
Fool that I am
Rearrange karma and the sunlight
Wipe up the tears and rewind the years
And it would only be you and I
Heads together, on our backs in Autumn
Our long hair tangled together
Stoned, dreamily staring at the sky

Written January 22, 1996
For Sue

About Desmond and Poems Unrequited.
Image source

Copyright © 2013 Mani O'Brien. All rights reserved.

The Valentine

Aleksandra Zaborowska

The Valentine silent and unseen
The one long-lived with me
I take it now out of its gilded box
Built by time with tears for locks
Handmade with skill and polished by heart
Seamless and sturdy my craftsman’s art
Fashioned by love to hold a spark
Of the blaze of her I keep apart
Treasure that is mine alone
Carried deep where I have roamed
A gift she gave long ago
Her love in my blood aglow
Kept in my simple chest of bark
Her light to light my life made dark

Written February 14, 1997

A beautiful piece by my Dad. Not sure who the subject of this poem was. I can usually recognize the tones he used when he was writing about my Mom, either honeyed or hostile. Sometimes he would say that the voices of his writing moved through him, translating the story of another. I just love images this poem conjures up – a treasured love buried deep in a gilded box. So touching.

Image: Aleksandra Zaborowska
About Desmond and Poems Unrequited.

Copyright © 2013 Mani O'Brien. All rights reserved.


Dying flame in the dark

All useless
Puffs of dust thrown
From a flick of the hand
The straying of wild wind
A crush of smothering flowers
Every effort
Drowned at the start
A matchtip flare in the dark
All the dreaming and the toil
A spattering of rain on dried soil
All the words worth a dog’s bark
Plundered now the richest part
Left but the splinters
Carved in the rotten bark

Written January 20, 1996

Unfortunately a lot of the poems I’ve been posting written by my late father are a bit… er, depressing. This one I think is pretty relatable. A nice one for expressing those moments when your’re feeling especially discouraged. I feel like this sometimes with my career. Like all of these teeny, tiny steps don’t get me much closer to where I’d like to be. But, unlike Dad, I feel pretty confident that I’m meant to be right where I am in this moment. Gotta just keep on keepin’ on, as they say.


Copyright © 2013 Mani O'Brien. All rights reserved.

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