‘Fourteen days’ and other poems by Maeve O’Sullivan


Sri Lanka haiku

after traveller’s tummy —
a calming breakfast
on the Laccadive Sea

no iPhone to count my steps —
beach walk

Gangaramaya shrine…
an old lady adds some jasmine
to our flower tray

accompanying us
uphill to the sacred footprint —
frog tones

the temple’s lily pond
stripped of its blooms —
full moon day

chatter in the tour bus stops tsunami damage

storm breaking we circumambulate the wishing stupa


Fourteen Days

Mother has stopped eating
I google what happens next:
others who have done this
survive around fourteen days.
I google what happens next:
hunger-strikers and anorexics
survive around fourteen days,
declining to drink water.
Hunger-strikers and anorexics
turn their faces to the wall,
decline drinking water,
refuse all foodstuffs.
She has turned her face to the wall
though she seems quite serene:
refusing all foodstuffs,
just lying in her bed.
She seems quite serene,
like others who have done this,
just lying in her bed –
our mother has stopped eating.

Buddhas of Asia

After seeing the world’s largest indoor seated bronze Buddha at Nara,
I visit the largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha outside Hong Kong.
This difference is important: big Buddhas mean big business –
everyone wants a piece of His calm. Later I see the smallest
Buddha in the world, through a magnifying glass placed
behind more glass, in a temple in Colombo;
not long after I stumble upon the casket
bearing some of His skullbone relics
in the National Museum of India
where I learn that He had had
an early aniconic phase: His
only representations then
the Wheel of Dharma,
an empty throne,
the Bodhi tree,

Europe haiku sequence

coffee al fresco
the horsefly takes
half a bite

human statue –
his companion applies more paint
this sweltering day

peeling a courgette…
the sound of child’s play
in another language

boat tour of the port –
a drone generates
the most excitement

balmy night
a swallow dips close
to my breaststroke

city lake –
a moorhen leads her chicks
towards the evening sun


A Lapsed Catholic’s Prayer

or two, or three,
or try twenty –
said in twenty churches
and cathedrals, all
along St. James’s
way, with rows
of matching flame-wax.
On a May-day
I come to rest
in Notre Dame
as choral notes
drift upwards
to kiss a trio
of glass roses.
Fourteen Days and other poems are © Maeve O’Sullivan

Maeve O’Sullivan works in further education in Dublin. Over the last twenty years, her poems have been widely published, anthologized and awarded, and her haiku have been translated into ten languages. Her previous collections are Initial Response (haiku, 2011), Vocal Chords (poetry, 2014) and A Train Hurtles West (haiku, 2015). All three were published by Alba Publishing and have been well-received by readers and critics alike.  Elsewhere was published in 2017. Maeve O’Sullivan is a founder of Haiku Ireland, and also a long-standing member of the British Haiku Society. She is also a founder of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop and performs with the Poetry Divas collective of women poets. (Source: Alba Publishing)

%d bloggers like this: