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McKenna Byrne

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Chicago, IL, US

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The Poet

by

McKenna Byrne

I am a song of God
Finished on a high C;
If you want to hear
The sound God loves
Listen to me.
I am the rain
Costing you nothing;
Let me fall and rest in you
And I will grow you
As the earth grows grass.
I am a small sigh of yours
Unheard in the world of night;
I am what your breath can mean;
Your dreams taking flight.
Let my words sweep away
What is not of your life.
It is getting late;
Come lie beside me -
Do not even whisper
What you think I am;
I am outside all of what you know
And all you have ever known;
I am the trembling midnight
Who slowly opens her winged darkness
To unclothe the mysterious moon -
The moon that will make you mad
And rain down upon your breathless mouth
The streaming kisses
Of God.


Muse - The Gilded Mask -

by

McKenna Byrne

Her eyes through sapphire shadows spark
But hers is a face I never see;
Her silences and secrets mark
My spirit's wonder through the dark
Upon her mystery.
Hers is the choice upon whose days,
Out of this whirling mortal throng
Are shed her silver-tissued rays
Revealing sealed and secret ways
To poetry and song.
O she is my joy and joy my task
And be it for dust or be it for fame
Or be it for love, I dare not ask
Who hides behind the gilded mask
And softly speaks my name.


Total Control

by

McKenna Byrne

This is your life being lived
As you wish to live it.
Is your blood also flowing
As you wish it to flow?


Red Rose of Love

by

McKenna Byrne

I see you, my love
As the rose that is unaware
Of its own unfolding,
Its own beauty,
Its own death.
I gather you to me;
I inhale your sweet fragrance,
Then, with some strange and singular
Instinct of soul
I plunge your long thorns
Into my own heart.


Ghosts

by

McKenna Byrne

The midnight rain has drawn me from my sleep
And ghosts of love long dead and mourned appear;
O love, what mysteries of time and heart you keep;
How is it you so far away, can still be here -
How is it that you flourish in decay
And in that awful way
Become more dear?


Sonnet

by

McKenna Byrne

You are too lovely and your heart too kind
For any tongue or poetry to praise;
If nature could but celebrate your mind
We would possess eternal summer days.
Upon the grieves contained in my life's art,
Your presence pours and softly overflows
Until I fall converted to your heart
That offers me the salve of sweet repose.
Of all the parts that others do possess,
I see their brightest aspects fall to shade
And in your friendship now I will confess
My winter heart has seen its summer made.
New gratitudes embrace my heart's design
For all the joys you have entitled mine.


Prayers

by

McKenna Byrne

Dreams, you have wings,
Lift me to fly;
Fly me to lie
Where the passion that brings
The pain that has fire
That will burn me like gold
'Till my ashes are cold
But will flame my desire.
Tears, you have heart,
Weep me to sand
But flow me to land
Where hope has a part.
Love, you have sorrow
So grieve me but bring
Me the love that will sing
Me
Tomorrow.


New Voice

by

McKenna Byrne

This is the voice of stars
Speaking
Where no voice has spoken
Before
This voice breaks open the skies
And love rains down
Falling
Where no rain has fallen
Before.


Two Hands

by

McKenna Byrne

I come to you with open hands;
One, I offer you;
It holds the love of all my life
As human hearts can do.
The other I must hold apart;
It has no finite measure
But if I could I'd give you, too,
The key to Dante's treasure.


The Poet in Winter

by

McKenna Byrne

I walk icy streets seeking your face,
Your form and your warm friendship too;
Winter sidewalks are not the best place
For my eyes to go looking for you;
I should be searcing my heart and I've tried
To discover you there and I've failed;
Could it be that my trusted heart lied
All the time your affection prevailed?
And what do I do with remembering
All that I thought of as you -
Spend the rest of my life in dismembering
What was true of you from the untrue?
If I can make art through that pity
I might have a chance to subsist
And cease walking the streets of this city
Seeking someone who may not exist.


To a Friend in November

by

McKenna Byrne

Summer lingers on since last we met
With ardent days beyond appointed end;
She leaves reluctantly as I from you, dear friend
And wends her way toward winter with regret.
Her days decrease but close to journey's end
Among decaying leaves, her force still grows
Where waste is rampant, one November rose,
Upholding beauty where its life most ends.
Like to our friendships force, forever new,
Grows my heart's wish that all goes well with you.


Sonnet for an American Singer

by

McKenna Byrne

Some wealth is never found too far from fame;
It follows, trailing grandeur, jewels ablaze,
As if by commerce with a worthy name
Itself deserves the prominence and praise.
Its wild applause and tumult for your song
Will sound tomorrow and as loud displayed
For someone else's voice, when you are gone
With tribute's petals in your wake decayed.
My art that lives in shadow is as far
From wealth and fame as poverty can be
But out from darkness, jewelled like a star,
Its lines will shine your fame as constantly.
Verse is my treasure - take everything I own;
My poverty be wealth by praising you alone.


Sonnet for a Younger Friend

by

McKenna Byrne

I wonder how you imperfection see
Upon your brow where time has yet to trace
Those tiresome tracks that you must see on me,
So far removed from you in nature's grace.
While lofty powers call my hand to rhyme
In praise of onyx eyes and raven hair,
Less noble forces plague my mind how time
Has plundered rudely where I was so fair.
How small the satisfactions now - how few
My morning mirror's dull reflections show;
Such evidence as not disclosed by you
As crimes of time committed on your brow.
While time's engraving hand that brow defaces,
My greater will immortalize your graces.


Invitation to the Dance

by

McKenna Byrne

Had we but known the labour lost
In passion and in song;
If youth had known what age has shown
Would we still pay the cost?

Our hearts and minds are now designed
For love of wiser kind
But with eyes cast upon the past
We might as well be blind.

It breathes no more what went before;
The wine is ours to pour
And tell me not our hearts cannot
Be conquered any more.


Requiem

by

McKenna Byrne

On the 'sill in the dew of the morning
I hear the wet wings of the dove
And the sound from her throat is the mourning
For the night that has stolen my love.

Tears do not cease grief, for my mourning
Grows greater for all that is gone
Like a flower that opens each morning
Renewed by the rains of the dawn.

No passage of time with its folding
Of wings over wounds that are red
Nor the the rhyme that these fingers are holding
Can comfort for hope that is dead.

As constant as sea-waves are breaking
Unceasingly over the sand
Will be my disconsolate aching
For the consolate touch of her hand.


Song in Me

by

McKenna Byrne

Something sings in me;
More than my senses it sings;
More than my dreams, my desires
Or the human hopes of my heart.
You may not hear it but I know it sings;
It sings within cells and in my running blood;
Its music meters the rhythmic beat of my heart;
It sings to the world through all pain and all joy:
I am
I am
The art of the Infinite God.


Mixed Marriage

by

McKenna Byrne

Oh I am in love with the wild west wind
And that wind has a passion for me;
Wherever we go - be it high, be it low
Our amour is as clear as can be.

Watch us glide hand in hand
Over gold desert sand,
See us sweep autumn leaves from your tree;
Hear us whistle in caves
Watch us us waltz over waves,
Hear us hum in the wings of a bee.

Oh my heart is in thrall to the wild west wind
And that wind is just wild over me;
Our passion is plain in the raw hurricane
And the rhythm of rain's rhapsody.

Take the north, east or south,
Feel their winds on your mouth
And I think you will have to agree
When it comes to their kissing
There's something they're missing
That the west wind is laying on me!


Theft

by

McKenna Byrne

Time is passing, passing.
Passing what?
You!
Time's little plaything;
All you do,
See,
Feel,
Hear
Is passing, passing
Year by year.
Tick-tock
Tick-tock,
Stealing all the time you've got;
Are you watching
On the clock?
There you were -
Now you're not -
Out of nowhere
Comes a voice,
Pack your life,
No more choice;
God says "Wake up -
Time's UP, Buttercup!"


Prayer

by

McKenna Byrne

O soul, reveal the light
That lives behind
The masks of all the world
That light to light may see
And love be born
Before the darkness falls.


Ecstasy

by

McKenna Byrne

Now that you are here
Sense registers for me
At every point
But I have no interest any more;
I cannot even whisper your name
For I have lost my voice;
My voice has become
The ecstasy of clouds
And I am rain
Falling silently
On roses.


Poet Living

by

McKenna Byrne

I am like a small spider
Spinning my own support
From within myself;
A silver web
Into which I lure the words
That sustain me.


Eye of the Eagle

by

McKenna Byrne

I am an eagle of the high sky;
Words are my wings
And I fly alone;
Higher and higher I climb -
So high
I can see both heaven and earth
With my natural eye.


Forewarned

by

McKenna Byrne

If you are a bird
And want to live in a rosebush
You'd better know
Before you build that nest
What it is
You are getting yourself into.


The Beauty of the Rose

by

McKenna Byrne

There is perfect love in the center of the rose
But in the tabernacle of that beauty
Danger lies;
Those fiery petals that set us aflame
Consume themselves all too soon
Leaving us to decipher alone
The secret of her thorns.


Worm

by

McKenna Byrne

The worm will turn
Some day or night
Out of your sight.
Live and learn
And have no fears,
In time that's prime
In his own time
Of days or years,
Just take my word,
He may be blind
But you will find
Within his gourd
The worm has turned.


When Poetry Has Left - She Sings

by

McKenna Byrne

When poetry has left - has burned for me,
Consumed my glittering passion and my heart,
My soul may ask was love just meant to be
The marble hands and emerald eyes of art.
There is a voice I know that sings its rapture down
From realms where God breathes music - it belongs
To immemorial peace whose birth has ever flown
On whispering wings of angels and of swans.
Borne up as on a tide of singing ocean
My failing soul may breathe again to be
Fulfilled by instinct on that ancient motion
Like the bird that builds her nest upon the sea.
This is the voice, when heaven's hands we making
Prayer, they formed, to lift the human soul above
That anguished night when all its hope was breaking,
For this is the voice that gives a voice to love.


Judas

by

McKenna Byrne

Shaking shadows fall upon his head
As at the last the old tree creaks
And he, open-mouthed in the wind
Swings round in death
His spasm's shadow
Dancing on the bark.
O hungry eyes of death,
Witness through the wind
How he gasps and shakes,
How the robed arms flail,
How greedy palms twitch upward
Flexing fingers, desperately pleading
Toward the impassive moon.
Strained branchs groan in the night
And leaves abandon them;
Fall to the ground and glisten in grief
Between wide-scattered silvery coins.
The tongue snakes out, the neck cracks,
Hair slaps forward - curtains the bulging eyes
And the purple protusion of tongue;
Covers the face for shame.
Now all things give;
Spatter blood and sweat and foulness
Through the horror-filled air.
His soul remembering Jesus dies in fever;
The leaves remembering Judas quake forever.


Lovers You and I

by

McKenna Byrne

We are lovers
You and I
Under the blanket
Of the spring night sky;
We move close
Each breathing
The breath of the other;
Back and forth we gaze,
Exchanging eyes,
Seeing only, each the other;
And when we separate
To go our different ways
We carry each within,
The invisible weather
Of the other.
We travel this world
On different roads
But always connected
So never alone.
What is this invisibility
We have together
That makes each to the other
So visible?


Song

by

McKenna Byrne

The dead are singing somewhere else;
You cannot hear them;
Only if you sing your own life
You will be singing the same song.


Roads

by

McKenna Byrne

You will find the road for you
When there are no other roads left
For you to walk.


Suspicions

by

McKenna Byrne

Throw away all you know
And you will begin to approach
All you have always suspected;
Hold on to all you think you know
And all you have always suspected
Will throw you away.


Heartbreak

by

McKenna Byrne

We all sing sadly of heartbreak;
We never hear heartbreak
Singing of us -
But it does.


Surprise

by

McKenna Byrne

Imagine night devoured by despair
Realizing in her darkest hour
That she is full of stars.


Since we Met

by

McKenna Byrne

I have been drowned in wonder
Since we met:
I have lost who I was
And become the whole world;
I possess nothing
Yet everything possesses me;
I am ripe-fallen fruit rejoicing,
Aware of being consumed;
Remembering the tree
From which I fell
And of which I am
Now and forever,
A part.


Slave

by

McKenna Byrne

This heart is a slave
Running in the night
From oppression;
It has sprung the locks
On the door of desire
And runs like the wind
Towards freedom.


Crescendo

by

McKenna Byrne

I was drunk
When my intemperate heart
Broke like a towering wave over you
In a crescendo of love.
All you saw were a few tears on my face
Like a few drops of salt water might remain
Left behind on the rocks of the shore.


Messenger

by

McKenna Byrne

Do not look at me or desire me;
I am only the cup-bearer
Who brings you the wine of truth;
Drink it and dismiss me because
I am irrelevant.


If I Dream...

by

McKenna Byrne

If life is a dream
And I awaken to find
That you were nothing
But a sparkling hand
Beckoning me into a void,
How should I interpret that dream
Except to the reality of love
I knew within it
That was shaped as we lived,
In the silences between us,
And plead with exalted heaven
To make me sleep again.


My Fortune Now

by

McKenna Byrne

How is my fortune now
That friendship has become
The sum of all my days?
How have things turned
For this tempered heart
That the warmth of your hello
Begins to burn the edges of my day;
How your words of greeting
Fly like small arrows of fire
Through my arteries and veins
Straight to the heart of me,
Unexpectedly consuming it
In the flames of friendship;
Reducing it to ashes -
Utterly cremated
At the sound of your voice.


Flame

by

McKenna Byrne

You are flame, sweet soul burning
In the melted remains of an antique world;
You have demolished all hardness;
Like the wax of the candle succumbs
To the fire of its flame,
All form has succumbed
To your light.


I Know You

by

McKenna Byrne

I know you;
Many, many nights
I have heard your music echo
In the dark and empty cathedral
Of my heart.
Well, Choirmistress, choose your music -
I have come
To lead the choir.


Slowly

by

McKenna Byrne

I always measured slowly how my hopes were born,
Much like a rising sun, that warm and welcome guest
Who, when her stay is over, radiance shorn,
Falls faint and forceless down to the hungry west.

I've measured many midnights; watched disillusion crawl
Like a slow slinking wolf to where my heart-dreams lie
And fall upon them, reefing tooth and claw
Awakening them to horror as they die.

How slowly, slowly life demands its wage;
How spirit loses ground - the bones can't last -
Energy defects - limbs lag and age
Delivers death so slowly though we deem it fast.

I mind how gradual from all these things apart,
Seeming more slow than God's own death, proceeds
The length of years it takes the disillusioned heart
To slowly murder all its unmet needs.


Beyond Grief

by

McKenna Byrne

The world has become transparent now;
The densities have fallen away.
Beyond the tree barren of leaves
I see new green leaves moving;
Beyond the winter air I hear
The songs of summer everywhere.
Beyond your grief I hear
The hand of faith knocking on your door
And I whisper in your ear: "Open the door -
A great gift awaits you -
Open the door - open the door!"


Sun

by

McKenna Byrne

Do not think
For one moment
That those old and shabby shades
You have pulled down
Over the windows of yourself
Fool me;
I am far too bright a sun
For that pathetic
Subterfuge.


How Can Anything Fulfill?

by

McKenna Byrne

How can anything fulfill us when we need;
When deep relentless requisites compound
And gnawing insufficiencies all feed
Upon our lives with surfeits never found?

How can anything fulfill us when we need;
When need grows roots so firm within our ground
They snag and snare, prohibiting our motion to proceed,
Tangling, so our feet go round and round?

How can anything fulfill us when we need;
With needs so vested that they cannot shift their ground
Too brimful of themselves to neither hear nor heed
The smallest satisfaction - if one could be found.


Off Course

by

McKenna Byrne

What did you do
When I was the tree
And you were the bird -
Did you nest within me?

No.

I knew what you'd do
Because I was the tree
And you were the bird -
You'd fly right over me.

Yes.

You flew right past my head
With your vision obscured
And now you are dead
You poor blind little bird.


Dublin Strand

by

McKenna Byrne

While walking down a Dublin strand
I met a lass who took my hand;
She bound my feet with silken rope
And told me that her name was Hope.

She filled my nights with wishful dreams;
Sewed up my days with lock-stitched seams;
She took my hard-earned half-a-crown
And then she went and let me down.

It took me years upon that strand
Day after day upon the sand
To free my feet of her silken rope
And my mind of the dreams of a whore called Hope.


Persephone

by

McKenna Byrne

Oh go and lie upon that bed
And lift your lovely thigh;
Let all of midnight be your groom
To ride you through the sky.

Be urged and whispered to and cursed;
Be whipped and ridden hard
Across the stars to Pleasure's Peak
Then back into your yard.

And when you've ruled your realm of lies
My dark Persephone,
You'll find behind your morning eyes
The memory of me.


Ticket

by

McKenna Byrne

Love visited from Paradise,then
Stayed a little spell;
He bought a ticket home again
And left me one for hell.

Amynta on the Death of Damon

by

McKenna Byrne

Damon is dead, Damon is dead, is dead;
Amynta's tears slip silent in the shade.
Out from her bower small singing birds are fled,
And save for her tears, her form, of stone seems made.
It is as though she let her own life fade
With his, whose spring would not the summer see,
But marble-cold, on violets is laid.
Love leads all sorrows by the hand - now she
Will follow slowly - living, but cold and dead as he.

All For You

by

McKenna Byrne

For you I weave a damask of deep care,
And lay it on a table set for two;
For you I hasten through the freezing air
Of winter, and the heat of summer, too.
For you I spread dark veiling of the night
About us - sequestering sweet secret hours
Of whisperings, until the morning light
Jealously deposes what is ours.
For you I wait, and if the sun appears,
I cannot differentiate its heat
From burning furor, as your presence nears,
Within my blazing veins, the hour we meet.
In all my life, would all I ever do
Be all as wonderful as all I do for you.

Blade

by

McKenna Byrne

Before you left a scythe flashed from your eyes;
A glistening sickle that swept without a sound
Across the very root of compromise
Between us, razing hope to the ground.
I was stricken breathless with that thrust
Of your truth; how you, with so precise a blade,
Could sever me, indifferent that I must
See clearly of what callous mettle you were made.
I saw through tears, truth - behind effort and hope -
Before all beginning and beyond all end;
Inscrutable - like you - void of sight or scope
For change, or innate ability to bend.
Your loss for me was of mere bones and breath,
But ah, your truth - more sharp and cold than death.

The Inconstancy of this Forgiveness

by

McKenna Byrne

Forgiving you is an inconstant flame
That flares and dies within my soul or heart,
(I know not which), at mention of your name,
But comes and goes with its own will apart.
Perhaps I lack capacity; perhaps it takes
Great practise or a less mercurial mind;
One thing is certain - it is not love that makes
An injured heart forgive - love's not so kind.
Time's gift, maybe - some adjunct of old age
With passion just a memory, and your face
Fallen prey to time, that shows the wage
Of years where life has carved its trace -
But come or go forgiveness, forever lies
The bright undying memory of your eyes.

Snowdrop

by

McKenna Byrne

I never saw such compact beauty born
Among dead leaves at the bottom of a tree;
Like a tiny begging nun with head down-drawn,
Patient in hope and mild humility,
The pale sweet snowdrop stood for all to see.
Not many saw; the heedless hurried by
This pearled princess of nature's royalty,
Unseeing how she strove to pacify
Cruel winter's death beneath the April sky.
But winter was not done; that night, his touch,
That could not reach the summer butterfly,
Siezed the snowdrop in its crystal clutch;
And though I know all short-lived beauty's price,
I wept to see her small face cased in ice.

One or the Other

by

McKenna Byrne

There's always a kisser
Of one who is kissed;
One who is missing
The one who is missed.
There's always a giver
To one who is given;
Then there's the forgiver
Of one who's forgiven.
There's one who's deceiving
The one who's obtuse;
One who's perceiving
The other's a goose.
There's one who stays home
And gets tied up with strings,
While the other will roam
On the loose - and have flings.
There's one who's endearing
And one to endear;
One who is caring,
And one cavalier.
So who plays a game
And whose love is true?
It might be me...
Or...maybe it's you.

Ink

by

McKenna Byrne

Nothing is lost - but what would you ever know
Being so harsh and to all hardships blind -
of mercy nursing back the anguished mind
To a wider vision, at the end of woe?
How stealthily you hatched your ugly hour to go -
So bored with my prospect - so careless should I find
A death-blow in the heartache left behind.
As, severed some, the rose proceeds to grow,
Did I contend with injury for gain;
Some weeping did, until grief's wise design
Anointed, blessed, and brought me to regain
Far more than lost - reshaping art of mine
Wherein you shrink - and it's rather nice to think
Of you now - diminished to a little line of ink.

Once

by

McKenna Byrne

I sleep apart from where you came to me,
You being gone before and absent since;
Sense holds back my tongue - your will is free -
I've no recourse to summon or convince.
You had your reasons for that fervent night;
I let them rest because those tears you shed
Above me - hot and diamond bright -
Said much, falling on my body and my bed.
There's no dispatching memory from that room
Where sleeplessness with aching for you meet,
And midnights bring, with moonlight through the gloom,
Your elongated shadow on my sheets.
I cannot bear to lie and close my eyes
Where the air still holds the echo of your cries.

Hell and Farewell

by

McKenna Byrne

I will go to my own heart for this,
To where the remnants of our romance lie
Like dragon's bones; there I'll say goodbye
And bid you finally from me; I will dismiss,
Unflinching, the last of you, to an abyss
Of howling darkness; with unimpeded vision I
Will verify the truth of love's desire - we cannot tie
Truth's strength to any heart's analysis.
And on that precipice I'll watch you out of sight,
Discharging what to me was once a dream
Of breathing peace, into the muffled night.
I will learn again that one bright single beam
Is not the sun, as your once-essential light
Fades by morning into a common theme

Reprieve

by

McKenna Byrne

There is no blame that your misguided eye
Saw virtue in me born of your own need,
Nor judgment on this heart, that let you feed
Upon my presence that became a lie.
I know full well this rugged world is why,
Without a conscious motive to mislead,
Frail lives to odd deceptions may concede,
In effort not to shrivel up and die.
There is reprieve for pride that cannot show
Its dehydrated dreams before the world - a flat
Despairing field that yields but vain regret -
So I will cast no blame and will not call you foe,
But dream the bond had we but told that
Both our hearts were empty when we met.

Plus ca Change...

by

McKenna Byrne

There's no returning - I understand too well,
Romance, however splendid, does not last -
Resolved to make the best; refused to dwell
On love's debris now blown into the past.
Pale, common time served well to separate
What once you meant to me, leaving no trace
Of you now to treasure or to contemplate,
Save for a vague recollection of your face.
Today, there's not a shred of doubt that I
Would hardly recognise you in the street;
You are never there among the passers-by
Or in the pub where we all used to meet;
Where I still drink in the old booth by the door,
Relieved that you don't matter any more.

Plus ca change, plus c'est meme chose [Fr]
The more things change, the more they remain the same.


For Ann Lousin on the Occasion of her 60th Birthday

by

McKenna Byrne

If we should fail to breathe beyond today,
Time will have taught us many a holy tale
Of virgin, knight and legend; how to pray,
Through tragedy and thorn how to prevail,
And, granted gifts, not seek a measure more.
Cherished Time - permit our hearts avail
Of your indulgent hand, and in this hour
Upon this February day, grant us to reavow
The unreturning years that have gone before,
Renewing friendships gathered 'round us now.
To Ann, who, at the center of our sphere
Bears all the grace bright fortune will allow,
We say with love from her friends gathered here
That only God could hold her heart more dear.

Bird Watcher

by

McKenna Byrne

This futile love that overflew all bounds
Is credited to me; the die was cast,
And from our first embrace until our last,
The mea culpa very clearly sounds.
Over my shoulder now I glimpse your face;
It is the face whose burning mouth once said -
With countless kisses on my outlaw head -
Your heart had found its final dwelling place.
Not so. You are a stranger to yourself, my love,
But not to me; I know you for a wild bird
Snared tight in narrow quarters, feet secured,
Deprived of vision, laced to a sportsman's glove.
Call our love lost, though I solitary be,
No hooded falcon makes a home with me.

At the Wine Bar

by

McKenna Byrne

You're here to see if I can waver,
Or if my mind is still the same;
You sip Merlot - you smile and savor
That you still can call the game.

You're confident things have not altered,
That our ground is as before;
Me, the one who never faltered,
You, the wave who courts the shore.

No doubt you feel a light exchange
Of conversation serves you well -
Keeps me enchanted with your strange
And captivating little spell.

The phyrric victory you've drawn -
That rose-delusion from the wine -
Its transient glow might last 'till dawn
But more enduring truth is mine.

Who strives to hold will always find
They've bound themselves from being free;
You're efforts only serve to bind
Not me to you - but you to me.

You Can't Come Home Again

by

McKenna Byrne

My oblivious heart can do without you now;
It's raison d'etre expired - the burial's done;
You did not tend its end; peculiar how
When things got heavy you were always gone
With more momentous things to dwell upon.
You always found it simpler to resign
Than struggle to resolve; I watched you run
Fast forward into some unknowing sideline -
Some other harmless heart to undermine -
And when that blew, you'd jettison the rubble,
Find refuge in that suffering heart of mine
And for a little while, stay out of trouble.
Now, should you resume that household any more,
You'll find a tombstone where there was a door.

Two Encounters

by

McKenna Byrne

1

Running into you
Is like running into a train
Coming towards me - unforseen -
And being hurled by sudden pain
Into the atoms of the day.

2

"How are you?" you ask
And I say "Fine".
Behind us, Truth gasps,
Staggers,
And reaches for the wine.

They Tell Me Now

by

McKenna Byrne

They tell me now: "spring is here again;
Spring forward on your clock; you'll lose the hour
Of sleep - but the wind feels warmer and the rain
Is intermittent - a little drumming shower
At most, you know," this is what I hear.
But to my unresurrected heart
It could be almost any time of year
Since circumstance compelled our lives apart.
I am aware I do not come refined
Like others, through the winter; well prepared
For coming seasons, warmer and more kind,
Since passing time has left me unrepaired
And I am unrevolving - one who will
Always wonder if it's spring or winter still.

In Memoriam, M. A. M.

by

McKenna Byrne


Marie Adornetto Monahan
1951 - 2004

Turn back from us, sweet spring; take all you will
Of promise and our earth with color met.
No summer bring; we are not ready yet
For days without her; retreat from us until
We comprehend she is not breathing still.
Reverse your force until our hearts can get
Beyond their tears and be content to let
Her rest beneath your lacquered daffodil.
Or, if you will, around her silent breast,
Let grow your nature's grace to make all bright
The place wherein she lies, with that great birth
Of splendor in her holy place of rest.
Return - we count no loss your beauty might
Turn round for her and bloom beneath the earth.

For Chrissie

by

McKenna Byrne

High in a tree, a turtle dove
With eyes like diamonds,
Waits for love;
Her wings are silver
Brushed with gold -
When, oh when
Will they unfold?

Under the Autumn Tree

by

McKenna Byrne

The leaves are falling one by one
Like gold-tipped tears, for summer's death;
The years are passing one by one
And time and sense and I are met.
You will not come; the night will fall,
The wind will rise and shadows shake;
The leaves will die against the wall,
The sparrow's nest will fall and break.
You will not see my faithful part
Played out beneath this autumn tree,
But you will know within your heart
That winter comes to cover me.

The Ould Country-Woman's Wish

by

McKenna Byrne

Don't mo-bhrone or ochone when I die;
Don't spill ee'r a tear from your eye;
Shove me under a sod
And lave me to God
With nary a hue nor a cry.

Yiz may all gather 'round when I'm gone;
Pray a bead or sing an ould song;
Have a whiskey or two
While I'm waiting for you -
Sure, I won't have to wait very long.

The Butterfly

by

McKenna Byrne

For Ailish - aged 6

This butterfly was in a rush; of that there was no doubt,
All around the pretty flowers, fluttering in and out;
The daisy sighed,the crocus cried, for when the day was done
The flowers were still living but
The butterfly was gone.

They found him dead in the flowerbed upon the midnight hour;
Crowds of flowers attended his sad burial in the bower;
So when you cross the busy street, never, never hurry
Or you might be like the butterfly the daisies had to bury.