Stephen Byrne is a chef and writer in Galway. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Skylight 47, Ropes 2015, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, The Blue Hour, The Galway Review, Boyne Berries, RædLeafPoetry-India, The Poetry Bus and many others. He is also guest editor for Scissors & Spackle as well as Associate editor for ELJ Publications.
Where Flowers Grow
I saw your picture in the paper again today.
You were twenty-five, eighteen years ago
and you remain that age to this day.
Your eyes of youthful ambition, trapped
in a haunting pose, tried to catch
the pale blue of my eyes
but I looked away, out the café window
towards the claw of clouds, gripping
the tops of buildings, the same blackening
clouds I’m sure your mother watches
bring the rain again and again and again
that tumbles down upon your unmarked grave
where flowers open in sunlight and the moon
lends its light to the hearth of your dark corner.
I looked away from a mother-to-be, a daughter
held in a promise of possibilities and a state
of tribulation. I looked away from your eyes
towards the edge of the sidewalk, capturing
the first drop of rain, smashing to the ground.
In the Sand beneath my Feet
sat in the cup of my hand
like a tiny prehistoric egg.
Smooth and round,
as eloquent as a planet.
Chiselled by the jaws of the sea
to be laid in the sand beneath my feet.
A million year old sculpture-
a teardrop of the moon.
And when my bones
have turned to dust,
you will sit
amongst the grains of sand,
to sit in the cup
of another’s hand.
In Each Others Pockets
I have Arab blood and that’s according to science
hrough deoxyribonucleic acid and the wandering of molecules
from mouth to mouth through flesh and bone to tree, rivers even tea
I do not claim to be Arab yet my blood, our blood, soaks
in the same music, the same howling poetry, the puncturing
sound of Darwish or Hafiz of Shiraz or Basho, Lorca, Neruda
Ginsberg, Handal, Doshi- the quiet moments alone with Rumi
Our blood acknowledges the history of history, the blood of history
the history of blood or the journey of blood and the connection
I’m sure I have I’m sure we all have as Muslims Jews, Christians,
Buddhists, Atheists, I’m sure as brothers and sisters we Are brothers
and sisters, we Are connected like the deep meandering roots of trees
we are similar, we are of similarity in fingers and workers hands,
in roaming feet, in eyes laid upon our children, in the air we share
and the water we drink, we are brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers
children born from a seed and the first bolt of lightening
and here we are, brothers and sisters wandering with the same blood
and ancient feet as our common ancestor who once took to the path
that lead to you and I touching this earth, sharing some bread
reciting poetry, tasting music and our blood alive like a river
of wild horses, together rages through the grass as wild fire
to one day become the rock upon the hill, the carved wood
of a flute ,the rain-drop clinging to the leaf of a plant
or the river returning home to the sea