Maeve O'Sullivan

Spirit of Killaloe & Galápagos Islands

Maeve O'Sullivan

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Spirit of Killaloe

(i.m. Bruce Carolan, 1953-2015)


The boat leans gently into Lough Derg's swell; 

on board, the teen's clear notes drive out the rain. 

The lyric - much beyond her short years - tells 

a tale of whiskey, solitude and pain. 


I want to share this wonderment with you 

but then remember that you've upped and left. 

She now sings of a friendship close and true 

and suddenly I’m all at sea, bereft. 


You had a taste for culture, avant-garde:

cult screenings and film festivals your thing;

for all your pals, you went the extra yard,

with humour sharp and that ironic grin.


When afterwards she covets my old coat, 

I gift it to her, then step off the boat.


Galápagos Islands

morning excursion -

the head of a sea turtle

pops up out of blue


* * *

alighting on basalt

a yellow warbler

lives up to his name


* * *

hot afternoon

he blends in well with the basalt -

lava lizard


* * *

the pelican swoops down

lands on our lifeboat -

hunter's moon


* * *

wetlands     ripples spreading out from the flamingo

* * *

sea lion underwater his backflip too fast for photos


* * *

the tropical fish

that lived in my uncle's house -

I'm in their tank now



Maeve O'Sullivan


Dubliner Maeve O'Sullivan's poetry and haiku have been widely published, awarded and anthologised over the last twenty years, and have been translated into ten languages. Maeve is the author of four collections from Alba Publishing (UK): Initial Response (2011), Vocal Chords (2014), A Train Hurtles West (2015) and Elsewhere (2017). Maeve is a founder member of Haiku Ireland and the Hibernian Poetry Workshop, and performs with the Poetry Divas spoken word collective. Twitter: @writefromwithin