Poetry of Existence

Toward a poetry of existence...
Art happens when the mind in the moment
              is free from the history of the heart

    Winding Down, Winding Up



I am winding down

to reflection

            the years are growing

older in my bones.


Yesteryear’s fervor

of idea into action

            flickers out

replaced by passion

for a poetry of existence.


Exempted from endorphins’

false starts,

            I cart Mary Magdalene

away from the road to Damascus,

up an equally holy path





Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

April 2004


If I Am Away


If I am away

in some foreign lugar

Would that

a crowd of supporters

follow my fugitive box to

a railway station


Like Venizelos of Megali Idea

I will feel at home

Companions nearby-

A poetry of existence


In music and art.


Steam rises, wheels turn


Poems of Seferis and Iliana,

Heaney and Milosz.


A violin walks beside me

Caprice Viennois Op. 2:

Now I sleep with Kriesler.


Would that could be

One exit to consider

Than lose my head



Like Isadora

By asking more of life

Than I owed.


Sombre     May 21, 2017




Never knows

Who may arrive

To check if one

Is still alive.


So be prepared

Like a queen bee

Honey on your tongue

And sympathy

for tea,


Before they see

With curious eyes

The closing of the day

A last surprise


Ringing in your ears

through the silence

of their fears that you

Were never really here.



July 2, 2015




How memory once spoke

Of its travels

From one glimpse to another

Finally reaching the tip

Of your tongue

And letting go.



The time

When memory took off

Danced away with a stranger

Without a cue

To hang out

Somewhere else.



what you do not,

When you

Searched for her

Under hazy street lamps

In shadowy alleys, blurry

Winter fields and muggy

Summer walkways.  And


How you didn’t

Rightly recollect

What she reminded you of

Even as she appeared

in half-light,

Selfishly reminiscing,

Taunting, nagging, retaining

Pictures and diary only

For herself.


You are it seems

Someone different now.

Memory mocks you

From a distance,

Memorizes new details

Then vanishes again

With all your relics.



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach ~ March 4, 2015

The Box of Time (After Zagajewski)


Lift the box of time

open it wide

to see what news it holds

to find what’s left


Like a photon

in a timepiece moving

on my round-trip journey

to learn


is there only

one jaunt around

from start to finish

and no spares


Has time

found me out

to raise its hands

in victory?


If I were constant

as the speed of light

in my passage here

would time be generous


add more ticks

before my crossing

and slow down

while I keep moving


synchronize my soul

with muon’s rolex

increasing my lifetime

by a factor of ten


It happens in the lab

by staying in motion

zip through space

for another 700 years



Relativity speaking

there is no passage of time

at the speed of light

I would cross that barrier

but all I really sought

was to be on time

with my times.


I was                                                                        

Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

April 27, 2011




T.O.E. (After Brian Greene)


A tear in the universe

the big the small

            together at last

or for now

warping curving

            in the matter at hand


Space and time

star players

            in every event

the ups and downs

of quarky atoms

            keeping company

with lonely neutrinos

eons of muons

            colliding with the eye

of my being


Boldly I am present

in all of this family affair

            introducing matter to anti-matter

just because I can

            quark offspring

strange but charming

            at bottom

to the top

cousins in tau


I do not resist

            the different masses

the force charges

            maybe God is in the details


I am strong as gluon

            I am as electromagnetic as photon

I am as weak as weak gauge bosons

            I am as attractive as gravity

is to graviton


I have the world

            on a string

dancing swooping looping

            oscillating vibrating

no longer incompatible

            with Einstein and Planck



I am the




or the           







Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

April 17, 2011

              Arrow of Time


Time outside the shackles of the heart

Clocks indifferent strokes and

Files passion’s hunger under broke,


Beneath the dreams of sullen stars

Rotates a callous moon,

Paints then flings the artist’s canvas


            Into another’s seeker’s mind

            To bend a truth

            One more time.


Time on the circuit running in place

Away from hands that bind apace

Hours, minutes, seconds,


Hounded by the sound of ticking

Skips the poet’s beat

Shreds her words and sneaks


            Into another seeker’s mind

            To blend a truth

            One more time.


Time in charge of end times play

Stores word, paint and song

For a future star-crossed day


            When bereft of time and tide

            To stretch a vision

            For life to bide,


It yields to close of night and day -

A favor kept to gods of old, and

Bids adieu slipping away


To fashion Time another way.


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach                       

December 31, 2012

Quantum Leap


The Cosmos

covers my moist birth

in warm silence.

I lie within its sacred folds

bask with buoyant abandon

beside nebulae’s

ineffable infinity.

Too soon

I am pushed forward

into the vastness

into uncertainty.


I am Woman

a vulnerable species

I dream I am wandering

in a lunar rain forest.

I hear the murmur

of veteran immunities

struggling to survive

distracted by my heavy step.

They take flight


by my humanity

mourn my presence

rushing quietly

from the noise

I am making

feeling endangered.


Circumnavigating mysteries

of time and space

fixed then unfixed

here then there

my quantum eye

speeds in all directions.

Light sequences flash

before me.

Electrons are humming

a song of the universe.

Cosmic scents 

perfume my path.


A wormhole beckons

I take its whorling path.

There time is silent

sleeping with space.

The universe moves

over me


Light waves span

my solar-centeredness.

I see sound

pitching high

disturbing distance.

Efficiently dopplered

I am timed out.

In sun-dipped harvests

of night blackness

The Moon Goddess


and turns away from

a billion talking eyes

turned upward.

Submerged in the bosom of time

I drift with the continents

stretching my being

across magnetic waves

toward a poetry

of existence. 


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach 

July 17, 2009



I seek to be buried at home

like a famous president


But the wanderlust carcass

I own will find no space there


for ancestors fill the earth

with reams of poems


and dark shadows

mark the site


where they were slain

while dreaming



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach 

September 4, 2004

Mariposas, Pajaros y Luz (After Eugenio Montejo, 1938-2008)


Do not burden


            with overbearing words and

too much wisdom.


Be more ardent

than logical

            let poetry be

its intrinsic self

humanity’s necessary

storehouse of passion


Let mariposas flutter

            and pajaros sing

beneath la luz del dia

and dark of night


Don’t try so hard


            make poetry squirm

be quiet and

it will come.


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach 

April 29, 2012


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