A disease

David G O'Sullivan

She broke a stick on the ground

and held it up to me.

‘See there, where it broke? A weakness, there’s a knot.’

She’s always pointing out people’s weaknesses.

Nobody has strength like her,

no one has intelligence as fine as she does.

But instead of being humble and kind in her greatness,

she wants to break people down all the time.

Last month she was told she has cancer.

She shrugged her shoulders and said

‘It happens to people all the time, why shouldn’t it happen to me?’

I said nothing.

She asked me over to her house yesterday

and when I came in, I could see she had been crying.

‘Why me?’ she asked.

I held her hand. It was cold as if she were already dead.

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My place.

David G O'Sullivan

See the growth of gum tree huge,

watch the running of the river.

There I saw a blue wren dance

there I saw a bearded dragon quiver.

Along the path the wattle grows

The heat is hard, and the wind blows broad,

blue flowers mixed with black seed go far

and the smoke of fire rises like a god.

The blue dream runs on forever

and the city lights up the sky

this is the land we work and fight for,

this is where I hope to die.

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David G O'Sullivan

The leaves picked up by summer wind

danced across the road.

The bells of Saint Thomas

rang out a heavy load.

Crossing down the country lanes

out of the sleepy town,

I gained a foothold in a glade

and in that forest, I sat down.

The yellow grass was soft and dry,

the blue sky shone in December sun.

I thought of how happy I was

now the season had begun.

Throw away your cares

and throw away your fears,

take a walk away from town-

In nature greet the new year.

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When Loved

David G O'Sullivan

The architect who loves the building,

the sailor who loves the sea,

have none of the feelings of joy

your love puts in me.

I see the world as I did when I was a child,

when all nature was new to me.

I take time to praise it all,

I am like this because of you.

The building must be made hard to stand alone,

The sea feels nothing and never will,

but with you, I will never be without

a dear heart that loves me true.


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All in this moment

David G O'Sullivan

Coming through the city street,

I see a gutter flowing with brown water, the drain clogged with rubbish.

The flow reminds me of a year ago and purer waters,

when I walked Flowerpot Mountain.

The trees were green and heavy with leaves,

yellow flowers grew brightly on the dark forest floor,

animals darted about between cover

and birds haunted my ears with their song.

Around me now the smell of diesel,

and opinion after opinion,

I see the selfish thought and act.

Standing for a moment, I remember sunset over Shenandoah Valley.


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Night fair

David G O'Sullivan

Writing late at night,

I can see out across the lawn.

The lights of the house creep across the grass like a light frost.

But the night is warm; a light breeze comes through the open window.

The wind sweetened by the 100 acres of wood on the distant hill.

I start to think of the decisions I have made

And had made for me.

Money lost, money gained,

Love given and taken,

Objects, hearts, and dreams broken and scattered.

Do you remember when…? She asks me,

standing in the shadow of the hall,

Looking quietly into my room.

A clock chimes as another hour

Of this already late night disappears.

She asked: Do I remember

Taking the children, when they were babies,

To the fair,

And letting them ride on the merry-go-round

By themselves? How we all laughed.

Walking them home

On a night as warm and dark…

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The last summer

David G O'Sullivan


It was our last summer together,

But there was no telling that then.

How do you know the last time you will visit somewhere?

How do you know the last day of anything?

The world can change in a minute.

She came into the room wearing only a white t-shirt,

She took it off and placed it on a chair.

Standing in the moonlight,

she let one hand drift through her long hair.

My eyes wandered over her naked body.

Her bare breasts, stomach and below that

The small nest of black hair.

She smiled and looked out the window toward the ocean.

This memory

Echoes in my mind

Like bells, pealing from a great tower.

I took her in my arms

And we danced to the sound of the waves.


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On the truth.

David G O'Sullivan

Catching the train from South to North,

I notice the conversation had by two drivers on the platform.

Yesterday this very train took the head

off a man who had had enough.

He laid on the track

and the metal wheels acted like hot knives.

I sit in my first class seat

and read the kings and queens of words.

What bite do these printed thoughts have

compared to the weight and steel of life?

But still, this book does more kindness to me

than the train did for him.

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The girl

David G O'Sullivan

Opening the door,

the familiar yellow light falls through onto the girl.

She is so slender and gentle, her feet hardly disturb the snow.

The street’s noise snaps after her heals

as she closes herself in

and lies down in the small bed in the corner of the room.

She thinks in silent moments and soon dreams.

The men that she has known-

some treated her kindly and some with selfish intent

but all were sweet at first; then cold and sharp at end.

Alone, she awakes early and looks about the dark room.

She can see little but knows all.

There’s the table with the picture of her mother

there’s the shelf with the book about the sea.

What thoughts she has of the day ahead,

what thoughts of days gone by.


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