Monday, 4 March 2013

2 Poems by Niall O'Connor

Oh give me a house without straight lines,
without the rule and dictate of second level equations
without the tyranny of right  angles
and plumbed lines:
everything fixed, pinned, painted and placed
angled, measured, metred, mitered and moulded.

Give me a house without straight lines,
let the chimney breast be proud
and the roof tiles rise and fall like the sea
let the walls trace the travel of a drunken hand
and its timbers, the sun's arc and the winds' caress.

Yes, give me a house without straight lines,
never a predictable path to travel
every projection a product of chance
no calculations forging my bondage
no metre measuring my rhymes

Oh yes, give me a house without straight lines,
so I may rest my head there
and travel its lines forever new,
and when rounding its curves,
find at least one corner true.

Tea Leaves
A sunset fills the bottom of my porcelain cup,
born between thought filled hands,
transparent from the fierce breath of a kiln
whose sole purpose was to destroy or immortalise.

When they have settled,
and the evening sky is clouded,
the leaves gather gossiping
to tell their final tale.

So I tip the cup upside down,
and turn it once, twice, three times,
all the time chanting the tinker woman's chant,
willing one future to reveal.

But when I clutch the base one last time,
I am unwilling to see,
and quickly turn to the tap instead
and scatter runes like stars
to the sink below.

Each leaf in falling takes its own path,
all leaves spiral home.


Niall O'Connor is a published poet and blogger, in print and electronic, and reads regularly at the Writer's Centre and other popular Dublin venues. O'Connor's poems have been published in The Examiner and most recently in The Stoney Thursday Book, thefirstcut#, A handful of Stones, Carty’s Poetry Journal, Madrush, Outburst, Corvus, God’s and Monsters, A Blackbird Sings, Connotation Press, and others.  He was a featured poet at the inaugural Fermoy Poetry Festival 2012.  He blogs at the very popular 


  1. I love both of these Niall. Your 'House' could describe my old cottage before I moved to this large metropolis called Penzance.
    And the tea leaves.... yes, perhaps best not to enquire too closely, and knowing or not our futures will unfold in their own way and time anyway.

  2. Hi Niall, there was a crooked house...and another and another, rows of was called Stoneybatter...lovely poem. barbara.

  3. Niall, both poems are cleverly crafted & beautifully written. Well done.