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Selected Poems


By Rori O'Keeffe

Copyright © 2017 by Rori O'Keeffe

Smashwords Edition

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The poems in this volume were previously published at Smashwords by Rori O'Keeffe, © 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Table of Contents

The Persistence Of Tunnel Vision

Emerging Love

The Choice

We Are The Beginning

Love Poem 1

Death Poem 1

Chaos Poem 1

Death Poem 5

Chaos Poem 6

Admittedly, A Nerdy Love Of Mine

Altered Design


Peach Tree

There's Plenty More


Love's Nest

Cheap Vase

Natural Lovers

A Spectacle Within

Telescoping#less is more

The Pretty Poem


Expressions Of Living

Less Is More

The Enemy Thrives Within

I Feel I'm Being Watched

A Decision To Bide My Time

Baubles On The Tree Of Life

By Day And By Night

A Better World

The Bard From The Sea

I Bite

The Bitten

A One-Time Friend

The Rewards Of Loyalty

United, We Stand Shoulder To Shoulder

I Toil Not

Logical Stuff

An Apple

The Third Wall

The Cult Of The World

The Astronaut

A Little Anarchy

Embrace Ambiguity

Let Me Become

My Decision

The Others

How I Love You

I hear the news...

Cruelty is strong...

She is a masochist...

It is not her child...

They toy with us...

Silent Wind

Poem To A Guileless Lover


Spirits In The Trees


How We Got Here



An Equation

Rori O'Keeffe at Smashwords

Selected Poems


The Persistence Of Tunnel Vision

When they saw slaves twisted in bloody heaps

Under the fallen rocks by the pyramid's side,

They turned and said,

It is not that I don't care, but I am busy with my tasks.


I suppose, long ago, flames licked their tongues at the agony

Of my ancestor's dying flesh;

It was good, said some, to burn a witch;

Others, less imbued with divine authority,

Could but watch, and return to their tasks -

Their world narrowing with

Each harrowing desecration

Of humanity around them.

Peace at last, they found in the grave.


When many among us

Make good for themselves

By the desecration of human beings far away,

It is as though they are of no concern;

They are not known to me,

So their suffering is but illusion to me.

Besides, I am busy with my tasks.


We ever fail to hear the screams,

Until it is Mother, or Brother

Screaming out to us.

As the screams of the world rise,

Threatening to call us out of our personal worlds,

Our tunnel vision protects from conscience,

Or action,

Until, as the story goes,

They at last come for each of us -

And then the screams are felt

Not just heard.


Destiny is what may be achieved

With will and love and unity.

Fate is what befalls those who have come to believe

In their own immunity

From the scourge of the ages

That has plagued each life

Since we left paradise

Long, long ago.

Emerging Love

Over the years of my life,

I have watched that scotch pine

In its ascent through the air,

From sapling I plunged into the soil,

To the green spire

That now crests

The old home's chimney top.

How many gales has it withstood?

What of it's calm presence in winter?

Though it's beauty enraptures my heart,

I yearn for a pyre

To consume it with flame.


I roll and loll about in my bed at night

Wishing in dreams and under baleful moonlight

That you would return

And carry my heart away;

After all, it is your rightful trophy -

Or, perhaps, a notch on your little black book.

I succumb to a vision,

Or a fond hope, perhaps

Of you lying dead, a knife in your chest,

Finished off by a virago that found you at last.

I believe it is likely, however,

That you are off on a cruise ship

In the Sargasso Sea

Where we met so long ago

In those still waters.


None have compared to you

And your turquoise eyes;

Nor your lilting trills

As you carried your prize;

Why must I recall you in each

New man's face?

Why do I teach them -

Beseech them -

To learn your embrace?

After all is said and done,

You cut the bloom off my flower

And replaced it with a brooch

Meant for weddings

Though without an engraving.


How the years have passed cruelly

Since you abandoned me at sea,

To find a firmer ass

In some other woman's cabin.

Does it matter to you

That I have drifted off course

And find myself alone on the

Isle of Old Maids?

I counsel myself to yearn for

The flesh of a woman -

In the hope that love would become

New again in a kinder bed mate.

I caution myself against desperate


On the wheel of fate

That is the dating service.

I tell myself that, in time,

I will no longer want a love

To place by my side,

For does not desire flow,

Then ebb as the tide?


I have been placed in the tomb,

A premature burial,

While a raven calls out


I still see myself in the moon's orb,

A dead ancient world

Scarred by age and melted rock,

Until it now has a companion in me.

My life was changed forever

By you

Under that tropical moon,

And though your kiss infected

My still growing spirit

With your blight,

The sea turned vicious on me -

The price I've paid

For having you

One night.


A storm raged around my home

All hours of the night;

The hail bullied the roof into submission

And bolts' light captured the sight

Of a sinuous wind cloud

Snapping the trunk of that old scotch pine.

Nothing will ever be the same

In my old neighbourhood -

All has been moved,

Turned about as omens

Are ironic, yet not perverse.

That fine old tree is now dead,

And I can never now summon the will

To plant a new sapling -

And so my heart will ever be still.

Peace at last

Can now fill my being,

As I walk in my garden

No longer in the shadow

Of that old scotch pine.

The Choice

So it was written,

As though into my heart,

That all are born free,

And it is noblest, best,

To always be so.

I staved off the ruins

Of another age,

That lay claim upon each soul,

And declared that the lot

Of the peasant

Is duty.

Truly, I set off to the stage of the world

With banners unfurled,

Just a little girl,

And made myself free.

Free for the taking;

Free for lovemaking;

Free, above all,

To do as I pleased.

Fires fell about me,

{From heaven, I wonder?}

And great floods swept my dwelling

Off its rickety stilts.

I was beautiful as Narcissus,

Gazing into the bowl

Of my misgivings about

What I had become.

I was free of it all,

And all of them -

Children were but a ghostly

Alternate reality -

Science fantasy to one such as me;

I had no faith in myself,

Yet, somehow,

I would be free of them all.

Children, parents, and in the end,

My notably wicked friends,

Who made no friends of their own.

Some envied me,

Others pointed to the precipice,

Which at last I have come to,

And so, without hesitation,

I am now jumping to my death,

Where, I have little doubt,

I will at last be

Absolutely free.

This I have chosen to become,

For the life of duty

Is undignified;

Though, I now perceive,

With salt's bitter taste on my lips,

A life with duty in it

Has the charm of being

Relatively happy

Compared to what

Mine has become.

Absolute freedom awaits me

At the bottom of this precipice.


We Are The Beginning

No one has watched that tree grow,

As moss was strewn about its lower branches;

No one was there to water its roots

Or prune its dead shoots;

No one but I, who have within me,

The memory of what I have been -

That tree will fall, and no one will hear the sound

Of a spirit taking flight

Back to its beginning,

With the hope of standing in the soil of the earth

Once again.

Love Poem 1

She was held to be the most,

In all ways of beauty,

In her village, built on the ashes

Of the Celts' old town.

She was Saxon, and as of old,

Trailed fine golden ringlets of hair

Across the chests and faces

Of her lovers.

It was in a field of barley,

Under the silvering moon,

Still worshipped by many,

That she showed a suitor her flower,

Nestled in gold between her thighs;

He came to her and went in

On his own.

He fled the village two moons later,

When she began to show

The gift that she thought she had

Been given by he.

"What of it?" said an old gentleman,

Widowed for years with children all grown;

She jumped at the chance to marry into cropland;

With a good stepson's support,

She might again have the chance,

Under a silvering moon,

To coddle a man between her thighs,

And find what love there was

To be had,

In this world.

Death Poem 1

Sundry oaths fly about

In parlours and homes

Across the globe;

Insipid lies are often told,

Then not retracted

By some so bold;

The best of mates,

The best of friends,

Are not told of the passing;

How is it that at the end,

So many make a Hellish mocking

Of a heavenly one's joy of life?

Bitterness makes the

Talking dead

Rage with envy

At the death, and the life,

Of ones who truly lived.

Be wary at the wilting of ones you love;

It is when villains take their vicious revenge

On those they found to be fine, and worthy.

Chaos Poem 1

Whatever moon they choose to come by,

They can be heard in fields and yards,

Near and far, and those in between;

Some are speckled black on orange,

Some are a lyrical iridescent green;

Still others are black, and some brown.

They rise, it seems, in unison

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