Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mick O'Dea, the artist

Mick O'Dea is perhaps best known for his portraits; his 2010 portrait of Brian Friel being a beautiful example of what he does so wonderfully.

But as the YouTube video above shows, he is far more than a portraitist. This will be borne out by a visit to his website, which I strongly recommend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

City Lives


City Lives.

They shout into space,

answer each other like whales

across great haunted distances;

they never meet,

only sound waves ever meet.


Alone in their canyons,



they roar.

Rooms upon rooms

upon houses upon houses

upon streets upon streets:

roars spilling out,

spilling over,

spilling down.

A million sound waves,

a million discordancies

tumbling, surging, 

pouring out

onto the streets,

into the traffic,

wheels, cogs, pistons:

that cannibal jazz

of cities.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A poem about something I can hardly explain


This poem is about something I can clearly explain,

our twenty-third year in this house,

the laburnum, again, filling our bedroom window

with its solar brilliance.


We met Graham outside, on the street.

He said “didn’t you hear about Evelyn, (his wife),

we buried her last Saturday.

I looked at your house, you were away.”


I am in bed. My wife,

her arm casually across me, is sleeping.

I am looking at the laburnum;

I look at it like this every year.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New or Old Religion

Old religion it may be, but worship of the goddess of the earth ensured that earth was not defiled. Ecology for pre-science days; the planet would be in a be in a far healthier state if those beliefs still prevailed.
Clay in her mouth,
clothed in darkness, caged in stone.  

She speaks in
the crumbling of mountains,
creeping of oceans across continents. 

When she pauses,
earthworms devour boulders.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

All the beautiful days

"All the beautiful days,
 all the beautiful days...." 

And he died
with all the beautiful days
like a wishbone in his throat. 

Two passers-by stopped and looked: 

How did his eyes become like that?
They became bleached blue with liquor madness. 

How did his face get so torn up?
He often fell but was not dead. 

And old, why is he so old?
Because he fought with every single day,
and each day's victory was notched into his face.
                                                                           from Sunfire (Dedalus Press, 97)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Painting Skin

Watching artist, Mick O’Dea, building up the layers of colour that are in skin was a revelation to me.

Her skin is clear and white (as I see it);
he picks out the heat and cold
that is in her flesh.
So her belly is blue and green,
colours I have seen
where rubbish stirs in low tide.
She is a frame for the hanging
of a thousand colours.
They are inside each other, 

wash in and out of each other;
overlapping, under-lapping.
They graze on each other,
slap, fall, meld, hide,
shimmer, swelter, drown;
no rules until completion.
The brush, searching for challenges,
rushes about the page putting out fires,
anxious for a thousand perfections.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tonight I Nearly Died

Tonight I Nearly Died.

Tonight I nearly died
in the Sunday chain
returning to Dublin.
A scythe
arched onto the road.
As I rushed
I nearly overtook life. 

What did I learn? 

My eyes are good
dilated in horror.
                                                              from Sunfire (Dedalus Press, 1997)