I'm Paul O'Mahony (Poet). On Twitter you can reach me @Omaniblog
A father. I work as business storytelling consultant - Podcaster - Blogger - Live streamer via Periscope - Foodie - I love to connect with people. .
Live in Glanmire, Cork Ireland Europe
and there was snow on the peaks of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.
The following year was bad
though earthworms flourished, corn crakes called,
and more books were sold than ever in the history of humanity.
In nineteen hundred and fifty two,
I escaped the threat of extreme unction.
The Quiet Man was found Waiting For Godot
Another journey towards maturity and posterity.
Miracle of life and death
A butterfly flapped.
Mary Oliver wrote “You don’t have to be good”
My parents showed “It’s best to live the way you should”
Conscience was a fashionable word,
Contrition was the world,
Confession insisted upon.
Surrounded by Holy Water fonts,
it was a miracle I grew up in Limerick
In those days, someone had to match Christmas cards with envelopes.
I remember meeting Picasso’s woman.
– perhaps that was Dublin –
I’m sure she had three heads.
Five heads flowed along the banks of the Shannon
Frank the Wisdom, Patricia the Joy, David the Magnificence, Deirdre the Talent
Peter the Intelligence.
Siblings under one roof
Resurection is much more attractive than birth. Rising from the dead.
Recovery is a form of absolution – a revolting cry
Recognition is a quintessence that collides while opening eyes
I stand on the shoulders of great mothers and grand fathers
“This is for you to consider.“
“It’s your eternity”.
Chapters of dialogue alongside the AGA in the kitchen
– like a primary school for the rest of my days.
There were Nurses marching outside the maternity ward of Bart’s Hospital, as he was born.
An amniocentesis in Homerton Hospital.
A whirlpool for my head
The nurse from Manilla crushed under the weight of a fainting father to be.
Filaments for the chronicle
So many fragments to stitch together.
Let’s celebrate the glory days of life No matter where the gold and silver lie and put aside those thurd’rous hours of strife until they shed fresh light upon our cries. It’s time to paint with colourful design To decorate our home and dress the bed In case this tide flows out and we decline Beyond the spit of smiles and slump misread. It’s Fall, when leaves turn brown and drift away A season to renew the bridge we built Back in the days we loved the wind that swayed The leaves of barley on the field of quilt. There’s no magic will disguise the mystery Of how to grow without complicity.
So there, dear friends, are lines composed to mark the twist in the road
When I was a child in Limerick my imagination didn’t stretch to Africa.
It never crossed my mind that I would go to Accra in Ghana or Bamako in Mali.
But I knew the name Timbuktu, the city that’s Tombouctou in French.
It never crossed my mind that Timbuktu in Mali might be twinned with Hay-on-Wye in the Black Mountains. That’s Wales.
My father collected National Geographic Magazines. I got the impression there were photographs of African people, animals, rivers, mountains, trees, and skies in every issue. The pull-out maps were big.
I had coffee in West Africa yesterday. I brought with me the best wishes of the people of Glanmire.
Two countries “bridging the gap” they said. You could see it happening in front you as you were drawn into the conversations.
I will own-up here. Give you the full facts (assuming there is such a thing as as fact).
After looking at WhatsApp, reading one message, and sending an audio reply …
After looking at emails that came in overnight, deleting all but one, and replying ‘ok’ …
I read the headline. The first paragraph. The headline, the news.
It sank in quickly.
I don’t admire the person I met in the kitchen this morning. I’m not proud of myself, my feelings, nor my thoughts.
I confess I had an evil mind. May my mother (RIP) forgive me. I must take responsibility for the flood of emotions I welcomed.
There was nothing noble about my hopes. Nothing honourable about my wishes. Nothing generous for breakfast.
Once upon a time, I wished my mother would break a leg, and be confined to bed for six weeks. I wished her no pain. All I wanted was for her to be incapacitated – so I and my friends could be free to enjoy ourselves without her rules hanging over us.
I may not like the person I am today, but it’s the second day of my birthday month.
He was overdue. A home birth. A first-born. His poor mother, she never complained nor forgot.
The centre of their universe, it took him months to realise there was more than one universe, because, in common with all infants, he began life on the outside feeling nothing but his instinctive desires. It never crossed his mind that there was an other.
He was only wanting.
From North Circular Road in Limerick to 13 Waterloo Road in Dublin to 54 FitzJohn’s Avenue & 10 Gayhurst Road in London to Bradford-upon-Avon in Wiltshire to Bath – and today in Cork.
“You haven’t changed much” resonated – as he contemplated in the kitchen he shared with dog, cat, wife & daughter.
“You’ve saught attention all your life. You’ll go to your grave (or cremation) still seeking even more attention.”
He swallowed tea from a mug decorated with a rooster. It was tepid by now.
The blueberries on top of his moist muesli – fat, firm and fruity.
It was 1st of October 2020, a day to celebrate his ongoing maturity. “Others haven’t survived. Thank goodness some of us have.”
Already he’d treated himself to a slow getting-out-of-bed. A bit of Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, RTE News, BBC News, and Social Audio.
A shower, shave, and fresh underpants – it was a day for distinctive action. He had a personality worth appreciating, and ruminating on.
However, he was shocked when he entered the kitchen. So wrapped up in himself that it never crossed his mind that anyone would take him seriously.
“I was half-joking when I said this October was my birthday month.”
The person who’d sent the tall plant – that sat on the cream tiles – had blown him away, lifted him up, and left him blinking.
“Is it plastic or growing? For me or my wife?” – as he fingered the giant variegated leaves, and stalks.
He ripped open the blue envelop.
“Happy Birthday You Silver Fox” the card announced. ‘
An empty mind, an empty space, nothing pushing to hatch. This is when I should write. One letter after the other, as if each was one step after the last one. It only takes one letter to keep going.
Thinking there’s nothing to say is a good way of stopping myself saying anything. Writing is the problem – words flow easily enough from my mouth.
Maybe I should speak into this laptop?
Maybe I should go get a notebook – a Moleskine. For years notebooks have been my companions. Often I’ve felt half dressed without one.
Which is worse? A notebook without a pen – or a pen without a notebook, napkin, back of an envelop, fag packet, a tablecloth. (I remember proposing marriage in a restaurant where I wrote the verse on a paper place mat.)
When will the apple fall from the tree?
When’s the time to put the green parasol away in the green shed?
Where have the small birds gone?
There are always questions, when there is nothing to say.