FIVE POEMS BY EDWARD O’DWYER

ed o dwyerEdward O’Dwyer (b. 1984 in Limerick, Ireland) is published widely in journals and anthologies throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, such as Poetry Ireland Review, THE SHOp, The Stony Thursday Book, New Irish Writing, Southword, Agenda, Weyfarers, A Hudson View Poetry Digest, Scottish Poetry Review, The Houston Literary Review, Danse Macabre, and Tinteán.  In 2007, Revival Press published a slim volume of his poems, Oboe.  He was selected in 2010 by Poetry Ireland for their Introductions Series and the same year edited the anthology Sextet for Revival Press, and read in Ljubljana, Slovenia, thanks to funding by Culture Ireland.  Since then he has been shortlisted for the Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry, the Millwheel Writers Prize, and the Desmond O’Grady Award, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He also recently got to represent Ireland at the Poesiefestival, Berlin, 2012 in their European ‘renshi’ project.  His first full collection, A Love Poem Mostly For You, is forthcoming from Salmon Press in early 2014.

 

Embrace
 
“After a 5,000 year-old couple are found locked in embrace…”
–                                                                             Sally Emerson
 
This poem is not the lonely embrace
of the same name by Collins,
but the other extreme,
one in which loneliness never existed,
and a single, solitary last leaf never fell,
 
a poem set in Mantua,
exile-place of Romeo once
but now setting of the love plot,
 
a poem in which lovers
fully love each other to death,
the vow
of ‘till death do us part
dissolved for one of eternity,
 
a poem in which two skeletons
are unearthed 5,000 years later,
 
a poem of fleshless limbs
clinging, still, to torsos,
lovers’ eyeless sockets
remaining only for each other,
 
a poem that is lipless
and yet still on the brink
of Rodin’s kiss,
 
a poem in which the flesh
cannot keep
but the love can.
 

 
Home
 
Because it has always
been a place
of words as weapons,
 
it was here I learned
to piece together syllables
to split air
like speeding
whistles of lead;
 
where I collected
a vocabulary
of wound-making,
 
spoke in sentences
that rattled off tongue
like volleys
of returned fire,
 
and yet, still, it has always
been a place
silence was used
with the deadliest effect,
 
too deadly
for words.
 

 
What Has Changed
 
Stood on that beach they call theirs, once more, this time
he notices something – but just not what – has changed.
 
But as much as the cliff-faces are not what has changed,
the whip of her chestnut hair in those west coast winds
 
is not it.  What has changed more or less naught, too,
and he is grateful for this, is the white fire of her skin
 
in the frozen air of January, but, as well, he is aware,
the weather is not it – what has changed – and the sun
 
still refuses to so much as peep around its cloud,
as it seems to always refuse, and what has changed,
 
if indeed there is anything, will have gone unnoticed to it.
In her eyes, he sees no clue as to what has changed –
 
it seems nothing there has, and they seem, themselves,
unaware of what has changed – what is gained or lost.
 
If what has changed is not something hers, or his own,
and it doesn’t seem to be, then he can only assume
 
it is something shared between them, and what has
changed, then, most surely, is not something gained
 
but most certainly lost.  Yet what has changed isn’t
the longing feeling that each shared moment is the brink
 
of a kiss between them, and it is, this, the brink of a kiss,
and so they kiss, and it occurs to him what has changed.
 
A gain, not a loss, he knows.  What has changed is inside:
knowing the worth in the constancy of resplendent things.
 
 
Poem for Someone of
no Particular Importance
 
Though never awarded the Nobel Prize
and never shook a president’s hand;
 
though no calendar date or bustling street
survives your forgotten name
 
that never made the local papers
for anything more than death,
 
still it shouldn’t be thought
a life of nothing noteworthy at all
 
didn’t deserve a poem in dedication,
in remembrance;
 
at the least, something of a beginning
that skips abruptly to an end.

 

 
Pages Missing
for Teri Murray
 
After the years and years
she held tightly to each of all the days
when love kissed
pain away,
 
but now wonders
where have all the others gone;
what became of them.
 
All the empty space in there;
those gaps and holes
and all this leaping to be done
to move through it,
 
it’s as if
she’s turning the pages
in the sort of book she might have written
but finding so many are missing,
torn out,
 
the numbers skipping and skipping,
sentences overleaf
never picking up where they left off;
 
as though there were reams of days
she’d balled up,
 
tossed away
like bad poems.

 

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