From Make Love and War by Michael O'Leary

Make Love and War

To Ani


The last train is about to leave
In fact, has left . . .
The cradle of Western Civilization
Is under siege
As the Euphrates burns, a river of flames
Set alight this past decade
By the twin towers of a double burning bush
The new manifestation of Western Civilization
Is engulfing and eating its own parents
USA, teenager of the world
New kid on the old block
With raging hormones of revenge . . .
The last train has pulled out
From the stations of My Lai and Lidice and Fallujah
It doesn't matter who's killing ya
If you're being killed -
Talking to someone who fought in Vietnam
Who witnessed the murder of women and children
He claims the SS troops were more honest
Than the Black Hawks up . . .


My love comes to me
And baring her beautiful breasts
Before my loving gaze
And soft caress
She gives me the gift
Only a young woman
Can bestow on an older man . . .
The strange healing, and holding up of a mirror
The touch of the goddess . . .
And no matter how humble
His or her beginnings have been
That gift of love, of aroha
Although tainted by temporal concerns
Cannot be lost, as the flow
Of life loosens itself
From its strictures . . .


The doors after perception, open
As does the grave
The tomb beckons to . . .
     The Hikoi of For Sure
     The Procession of Enough
     The Long Line to the Unknown Soldier
Wending its way through the Wellington streets
Like a river of remembrance . . .
When it's all over
The soldiers remind me of death
My young love reminds me of life
But now she is gone
And who will say
     "Did you miss me?"

Tsunami Sonnet

Such devastation on such an enormous scale
Is almost too difficult to comprehend: almost

But we have seen it all before. The piles of corpses
The twisted, gnarled limbs reaching heavenward

Hands and feet and half rotted heads, eyes bulging
In the tropical-paradiso sunshine, the light

And the heat makes even disaster sparkle
And shine across the Asian playgrounds

My friend, whose name is the sea, sits crying at
Television images bursting through the safety of the lounge

While I sit unanimated and stony-faced, stunned
And stunted before the spectre of human tragedy

But, whether by the random acts of nature, or
Premeditated human deeds, we have seen it all before

© Michael O'Leary