Poetry of Existence

About Us


Terra Incognito


Plainsong heard

Within the

Abyss Country Club


Medieval pioneers


The end of all



The age of Reason


Is it too late

To take up my psalter

At the altar of

The Last Judgment

Near Hell’s Mouth?


Draped in Doric chiton

I climb

the carnal scaffold

of my soul, humbly

Remove my nikes

To mount the

Daru Staircase:


There my plea

before dynastic scribes

with limestone eyes


A winged victory

over flesh.


With lapis lazuli tongue

I dare to speak of

Time, space, peace

On Milos of Greece

With blue




June 27, 2015





My mother,

perhaps in a moment of

regret or remonstrance

toward we six willful knockabouts,

sometimes alluded wistfully to

a certain mellow Jewish fellow,

Pete Schwimmer by name,

who became one of her

once penelopean-like suitors.


Pete, so the story goes, proposed

marriage in pre-World War Two,

there on Staten Island where

connubials of a Catholic and a Jew,

rare as matzah balls in Irish stew:

we tribes stuck together. Scuttlebutt

dispensed codes and cues,


in the streets, on the steps

where stoop ball played our fears

in schoolyards or baseball in the park,

big kids yelling “Jew” “Christ-killer”:

a bully’s sidebar filler and bark.


Mother declared and I remember

she was an honorary member

of the Jewish Writers Club NYC--

a time away from our necessity.


My knee-high language

grew big ears to hear

details of her dating past:

a paramour of Hebrew persuasion

full of promise for any occasion,


especially her plan to bear

three in pink and three in blue

which she did, of course, though

without Pete, true,


Dad won the day and her hand,

then took off with Johnny Walker,

left no message In the bottle,

but what a Fordham grand talker!

Across a crowded room

was it also his Irish tenor crooning

Sweet Sue that got her swooning

that enchanted eve

where she sat with Pete

like Abie’s Irish Rose,

his Jochebed. Dad’s Brigid.

Who knows?


But I do wonder now,

What did I miss somehow

not being Irish and Jewish,

say. like Blll Maher,

a Christ-kidder and star!


And what of Pete? For $49.95

I might uncover if he’s still alive

tell him Sweet Sue did alone thrive

and so did we and ask him,


did your family survive

Sobibor or Majdanek


Dachau or Buchenwald

Mauthausen or Treblinka

or Jasenovac on the Sava


and are you

or was it Black ‘47

or Lydda,

why I was born

in Manhattan,

as it happened,

on the second night of



June 2014


Masquerade a La Belle Époque


We remember you

from gaslight days and

your industrial mates.

You scooped unwanted

cherubs off lower eastside

alleys shipping them west

on orphan trains-

for their own good.


So comely in your day

gracefully lifting crinolines

stepping into the gutter,

every hair in place.

Now you’re in my space,

as in a dream,


swishing feathered fans

sweeping into charity balls

craning Tiffanyied necks

gowned by Maison Worth:

courtesy of loop holes

tax rates and supersalaries

from your Rastignacs.


Would it move you ever so

if my 47% lived more like then?

Above saloons, rolling tobacco

in 325 square foot rooms?

Or in seven-cent lodgings

in basements black as night,

only to meet light

and earth in potter’s field?


Or is your hedge-fund head

into coal burning stoves

and burlap-smothered walls?

Seamstresses, rag pickers

and peddlers?

Or planks as beds?

Two-cent all night

joints? Children of nine

scrubbing for a dime?

Or Mama dragging water

up tumbledown stairs

from an alley spigot for a

bathtub in the kitchen?


Rentiers Américains,

at after-tax afternoon teas:

your gardens coiffed by Juan,

in mega mansions secured by Willie,

offspring reared by Josephina:

Belle Époque Ladies,

you are on the scene

in between

changes of haute couture,

corseted assets on display,


a dash of Imperial Majesty

behind an ear wafting over

dividends, stocks and bonds

in the hands of few,


How do you do?

How do you do!.


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach            

April 24, 2014



Pomp and Circumstantial


Like Ursuline-uddered

Madame de Pompadour,

the almost virgin

of the 1950s:

not to mention, and soon

foregoing, masturbazione,


was dispatched

to the Immaculates,

who very soon thereafter

disentoiled and disentangled

the umbilical cincture

circumnavigating their black


And blue sails,

ejaculated oraculating hierarchs:

a veritable de-mitre-ing

of Pacelli, Roncalli, Montini,

and swore off the pallium.


Un-habited, the Sisters

wore only hearts

of Mary on bare arms

and naked limbs with

crosier carved of distaff

far off from ostiarius riffraff.


Recapturing canon,

They set up home,

a communal space,

more immaculate than

that distant place

in Rome.


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach

May 2014


Pilgrimage (After Schiller und Goethe)


If All Roads

lead to Rome


if All Roads

lead to Mecca


If All Roads

lead to Jerusalem

Is there a road left

for me?


or a language

Latin Arabic Hebrew

Gaelic maybe

redolent of the flavor

and favor

of Abrahamic God?


Shall I weave

a kiswah or

wear a pallium

perhaps a kisui

covering the humanity

of my being woman

and human

all at once?


By what caravan route

of camel cart car

will I arrive

to dip my fingers

in holy water

or drink zamzam

from Hagar’s well?


By sturm und drang


by Spieltrieb’s playfulness

will I purify my soul

of Rome’s

mischmasch von irrtum und gewalt ?



by the sword

head in hand

an outcast

in heresy

will I end

my wend?


my plea to Oisin 

and Fionn mac Cumhaill

bless the ossianic mythical

in me

ignite love and courage

to stand with Colman

at Whitby resurrecting

sensus fidelium

in this hour

   While I live is never given

   Bridge or wave the goal to near--

   Earth will never meet the heaven,

   Never can the there be here!

                                    -Friederich von Schiller


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach

April 14, 2012





In the heat of


like the desert tortoise

I claw my way


extreme freedom


Dry mouth open

to ingest

a moment

  a word

          a vision


to greet my kin:

dark embrace

of tarantula


  no longer wise

yet witty still


snake entwining

what’s left

of me

drawing me in





Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach   


Irish License


I give myself


to make up my life

as I go along


Samuel Johnson

long dead and gone

cannot contradict

the myths I glean


from a trinity

of deities

Banba Eiru Fodla

Mother Daughter Holy Spirit

in one triune



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach   

June 18, 2011


Farewell to Rome


The jacaranda flower

kneels chaotically

at the curb

playfully lifting up

her lavender smile

bidding adieu

to doting parents


let her go


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach   

June 14, 2003