Teresa O’Connor-Diskin, To Whitewash Night Away

Things I always knew I liked

Morning when the sun sneaks
above the skyline to whitewash night away
and the dark when the stars scintillate and shimmy
in soot black, all a far-flung display of nuclear fusion

I always knew I liked colour though
It was hard to get one to suit me, or so you said
That day we settled on cream and golden yellow
But I will forever remember the cardigan
A chromatic spectrum you admired
One last time

I always knew I liked the bounce of light
Off water on the lake
It’s stillness, like a sliver of silver
Revealing a specular reflection
Landscape’s perfection

I always knew I liked the intricacies of tree trunks
Their up stretch to grey and blue
Of sky above and down to earth below
The gnarls and burls of a native Hawthorn
The barrel-like bluntness of a Giant Sequoia

I always knew I liked the exuberance of youth
And in their midst, as if by osmosis
I am fully charged
Though I never wear the black and blue striped sandals
Or beat a bass drum

Spring and the Weeping Pear Trees

Slowly she shakes out her mint-green mop
while you stand leafless, still

Dead entangled head
mossy limb’s
naked embrace

Bare open the heart of you
where a blackbird finds frequent rest
sings new life into your skeletal form

Last summer’s drought has taken its toll
Annual rings number the years
you welcomed sunrise over the lakes

MJ, don’t panic

(After Ocean Voung)

The end of the road is just the start of uphill
Don’t forget. Your father was only your father
until one of you needed permission. Like how the stomach
won’t remember its function
no matter how many times
it has rumbled. MJ,
are you listening? The most beautiful part
of your body is wherever
your mother flickers
Here’s the house with childhood
carved out, a carapace
Don’t worry. Just call it soulless
and you’ll never be drawn
Here is today. Here’s the man
whose arms are strong enough to carry
you through and here’s the moment
just before the lights go out
you capture the remainder
How you can use it again and again
to return to a former infinity
Don’t be thwarted, the cacophony
is only the sound of others
bemoaning. MJ,
get up. The most solid part of your body
is in your head, and remember
loneliness is out there,
will sometimes make itself unwelcome
Here’s the gallery
where all keep cold watch
Here’s an ochre mat and touch lamp
Yes, here’s a room
So warm and lived in
I swear you have moved in

Unleashed

After night’s black spell of magic
Orange light of fusion bathes my brain
Dawn has come ashore
Invitation rides its wave
Knowing this day will not come again
We head out while others slumber

A bird conference from treetops
Woodpigeons coo their return
A festoon of lemon catkins, stretch
New white lace, a Blackthorn’s dress
Shy snowy flowers on a holly bush
Frogspawn jellied egg mounds, glisten
A gnarled hawthorn in reverent repose

Turbine blades turn on the horizon
Machinery breaks cherished silence

Twin, For Bernadette

(After John O’Donohue)

Tie of threads connect us
Lie hidden in the intricacy of our nuclei
Together we navigated darkness
in the intimacy of one womb

Between plates, we took root
in the red pool of sustenance
that one day would reveal
the twinkle of kinship

A throwback trait
Shades of a distant forebearer
Body language that whispers
consanguinity

And yet our dance of variance
finds its own swing in the rise and fall
A self that knows oneness
despite scars of struggle

When shadows fall and grow
and we walk in the shaded space
may the noonday sun scatter them
bathe us in the light of perception

Teresa O’Connor-Diskin is from Co. Galway, Ireland. She grew up on a farm, has a keen interest in nature, and lives in Moycullen with her husband, Peter. She is a retired teacher who enjoys writing, gardening, walking, art and travel. Teresa attends poetry workshops in Galway city and was shortlisted for Poems for Patience 2019. She has been published by Skylight 47.

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