Poetry of Existence




Red Herring


   in your right


on the way

   to heaven

they said.


   this soul

makes wide


stops and starts



dark and light judge

her becoming.

Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

News and Events



The unfurling

curls your toes

Soaked in carnage,

It is reported.


Waving in pride

At a distance

Over fields of death,

It is said.


In stark colors

It flies alone

Presenting arms,

It is noted.


Bands play

A nation’s song

Of self-love:

Reverie for all time.


Tattered bloody rag

Side by side


Battered boot.


Vultures descend,

It is done.


Sombre, July 2, 2015

Song of Africa



O Africa!

A continent of tented contingencies

Leaves you bloodied today

On a skid row street -

Your American dream undone.



            “Ticket me. Give me

            my day in court,” you state

            when Safe Cities Suits shake you awake

            and distant drums sound your fate.


No rescue for you

In downtown’s gentrified:

Shackled again

In mind and soul

With Cameroon voices calling

You home.



            “Ticket me. Give me

            my day in court,” you state

            when Safe Cities Suits shake you awake

            and distant drums sound your fate.


Nightmare days

Some generous nights,

Flashing dark and light responses,

You choreograph life

with 1500 others

street-bound, unhoused.

Tasered four to one

Did you really grab

The rookie’s gun,

As you struggled to survive,

Stay alive in front of

Worldwide eyes?


Safe Cities Initiative -

Thirty-six hours of training

To monitor you, but in

One hour you are dead:

Not the role you sought

To get ahead.



            “Ticket me. Give me

            my day in court,”

            after all is said and done

            that is what you sought.



O Africa!

A continent of tented contingencies

Leaves you bloodied today

On a skid row street -

Your American dream no more.



            “Ticket me. Give me

            my day in court,” you stated

            when Safe Cities Suits shook you awake

            and Bamileke drummers sounded your fate.


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach ~ March 3, 2015

هذه المرة

This Time…


Will it be

A Thousand and One Days

or Nights?

A constitutionalist


a student of theology.


The Black President I

and The Abbasid Caliph II

in the cradle of civilization

acting uncivilized.


Who is

churning over in

bombed graves tonight?

Assyrians? Parthians?

Persians? Egyptians?


Byzantines? Dare I

utter Romans? Or

Brits encased in their

own chemical mist?

American ghosts?


Are we seeing a folk tale or

viewing a nightmare?

Where are the songs,

the riddles, the poems?


            Dicks and stones

            may break your bones

            but cruise missiles will

            Break your heart…


Wherefore Aladdin’s Lamp

beaming light through this fog?

Ali Baba’s on the scene

as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi

with more than 40 thieves.



This time calls for

magicians, sorcerers

burlesques and erotica.

Rolling heads will not do!


Foreboding dreams

of Chief and Caliph

come true—

            George Washington the Father

            Genie of Mount Vernon

            rebounds to cross

            the Euphrates

            on his magic carpet

            of red white and blue

            to storm Ar Raqqah

            and unseat

            Hārūn al-Rashīd the Upright


Their House of Wisdom

shattered by

reverse causation-

a suspense thriller indeed!


In twists of cyclical plots

and random intrigue--

an improbable fantasy surely,

fit only for

women and children.


Will Sinbad as Navy seal

sail into the Gulf

to liberate the Scheherazades

proscribed from driving



Convert or die!

Yield or die!

Publish or perish!

Legacy against immortality.


Will Hatra fall to the clanking

of swords and the cleansing

of infidels?

What is our Fate

this time?

Our destiny?


A lone Pomegranate tree

trembles in the desert wind

and sings of mystery:

We are all Mesopotamians.



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach

September 22, 2014


In August and September of 2013 we lost two revered world poets. In Memoriam

For Seamus Heaney, August 30, 2013

Big Bear City, CA



The rain today

breathes its tears

and gently falls

to mark your passing.


Native plants, sage and turf,

root within your Derry 

soul of word, song, sound.


Big Bear wild mountains,

stare green with envy,

at the attention you steal,


yet search for you

in chiaroscuro clouds

framing their heights.


The rain-screen you

move through now 

welcomes your spirit, 




to Tir Na Nog,

your poet-right,

where you live


and loved.



            Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach

            the Corridor studio

            Big Bear City, CA



For Kofi Awoonor


Kagan drum retraces

March 13, 1935 - his birth.

Child of the Gold Coast,

Wheta wise man of words.


Kidi pulsates with the news

That silenced his song-tongue.

Sogo drum throbs the mourning sound

As Atsimevu thrums Kofi home.


There in Nairobi

to imagine the world,

Wazi Dunia,

In poetry, music, ideas

Where East engages West.


His Earth, his Brother,

His Blood now writes

A different tale of

Verse eclipsed by fire,


As when his poet’s voice

For justice gagged,

Stared muted through

Prison bars in 1975.


Rediscovery lingers still with

The “feast of oneness”

Of which his life “partook”,

A communion of love he “forged.”


Between the Mono

And Volta Rivers his

Ewe Spirit soars inland

Over native soil with a

Promise of Hope.



By Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach

the Corridor studio 

Big Bear City, CA

September 22, 2013



By Kofi Awoonor 


When our tears are dry on the shore

And the fishermen carry their nets home

And the sea gulls return to bird island

And the laughter of the children recedes

At night

There shall still linger here the communion we forged

The feast of oneness which we partook of


There shall still be the eternal gatemen

Who will close the cemetery door

And send the late mourners away

It cannot be music we heard that night

That still lingers in the chambers of memory

It is the new chorus of our forgotten comrades

And the halleluyahs of our second selves 


 (Professor Kofi Awoonor, a Ghanaian poet and diplomat, died after sustaining injuries during the terrorist attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, September 21, 2013. His final collection Promise of Hope comes out in March 2014.  He was in Nairobi to read at the StoryMoja, a branch of the Hay Festival of Literature and Art based in Wales.


Note: The Ewe people to whom Awoonor belongs and wrote of have 4 drums whose sound increases as with age and stature: Kagan-child; Sogo-Mother; Kidi-Father and Atsimevu-Grandfather drum. Wheta is his place of birth in Ghana. Rediscovery, one of his poems, I quote from) Wazi Dunia or Imagine the World, the theme of StoryMoja. Earth, Brother, Blood is another one of his works.)


Origin: A Myth (After Beckett)


When The Great Toolmaker in the sky

made dinosaurs

It squealed in delight

not for long

hurling a fiery stone

into their midst


and little john cage heard

his first

original sound


Then The Great Not-So-Pleased Toolmaker

in the sky

made mammals

squirreling milk and honey

in their veins


ideas in their heads

to be manwoman



It laughed

at hu-mammals aping

thought          sapiens

going from green to black

sun too hot

ice to melt

water in plastic


The Great Not-Yet-Pleased Toolmaker

in the sky

turned away

from its reality

moving toward new space

         simple matter

to try again

fail again

   fail better.



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

November 13, 2010

The End


In the pub


   last bomb

goes off and


the angelus bell rings

a call to prayer sounds





Buddha appears

in the shattered skylight

   a knowing smile

upon remnant humanity

           no one rises



Insect families move



the black



Ants indifferent

heads down

     at work


        the kingdom

of heaven

                       on earth



Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach    

December 2, 2010

Ethnic ethic



Do you suppose

we found

     each other

for being



Do we suppose

we love

     one another

all for being



Are the echoes

we hear


our way


Does it matter

     in our bones

the sounds

of old


Can we bear

   the lost silence

of history


in our dreams

where strangers


when they see us


We do not know

     we do not want

to know.


Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach  

November 17, 2010