Ciarán O’Rourke – Two Poems

Ciarán O’Rourke lives in Leitrim. He has won the Lena Maguire/Cúirt New Irish Writing Award, the Westport Poetry Prize, and the Fish Poetry Prize.

His first collection, The Buried Breath, was published by Irish Pages Press in 2018. His second collection is due to be released in 2022.


A windowed weather, grey and white.
A light-perfecting rain.

My poet’s
sky-perusing puddle-mind

is stirred to doom
(my body blanks) by word

of bright Brazil’s 4000
daily dead, whose pallid,

histrionic leader’s slither-chinned disdain
today is front-page news –

in this, the gleaming arse
of Europe, our off-shore shamrock isle.

Four thousand faces permanently bloat
and float beyond

my bird’s-eye view, a lurid carnival –
carnivorous and slow.

Up-close, in clearing gusts of blue:
the wind-blown, ribboned

of Ireland’s first-returning swallow.

There will, perhaps, be more tomorrow.
My postcard portals to another time

(to life-at-large, in portable array)
are vanishing impassively

beneath a day-lit plate of dust,
inhaleable and grey. The

pooling storm, in green
and black, of a rose exploding

softly into bloom – an abstract
plenitude, made visceral and true –

to monochrome, with all the room.

I pass my hand across
each paper screen, and clean…

a thin-boned sorrow hatching
in my chest, that takes to wing

when I remember
how you shone in near-delight

at the luminescent goldfinch,
ferociously in flight,

outside your final, glowing
window-pane – in spring.


Spring is a river kissed by rain.
I wake to a grey deluge, and run

in a slow, white light
from the streaming fields,

the dawn-blue, iron mountain
dreaming mist. In sleep,

chameleonic octopi
will shimmer every hue

in states
of primal ideation, lithely

drifting, creaturely
and quick – dreamers

like ourselves. The wet,
dung-scented Leitrim ground

is changingly the same,
a green and russet seething

as the trees
begins to flash. Some nights,

a lunar fever rattling
the glass, my rapid mind

compulsively resuscitates
the Boston-winter wind, more

ice than air, a skyline-
broken clarity of blue

whose shine, a glancing
shock of joy, could breathe you in.

You stop my breath
forever. Then we break.

What would you make
of me, old dream?

A mythologising mammal,
or a tantrumatic male –

a fragmentary fanatic,
furious and frail?

In the raining light
of April

I write letters
to you still.



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1 Response to Ciarán O’Rourke – Two Poems

  1. Susan Coons says:

    That Boston winter air can freeze your lungs in taking
    stoping a step.

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