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John Maxwell O’Brien – Haiku – Poems Pennyeach

O Brien profile LE P&W Jan 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing January 2021

John Maxwell O’Brien is an emeritus professor of history (Queens College, CUNY) who has written numerous articles on ancient history, medieval history, and the history of alcoholism. His best-selling biography, Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy (Routledge), has been translated into Greek and Italian, and he authored the article on alcoholism in the Oxford Classical Dictionary. Professor O’Brien’s second life has been devoted to his first love, creative writing, and he has published a variety of poems and short stories in literary journals. His debut novel, Aloysius the Great (Propertius Press), published on Bloomsday this year and brimming with Joycean allusions, has been greeted with rave reviews on Amazon (where it can be purchased) and in Goodreads. Of late the professor says he thinks he has discovered his poetic métier in the haiku.


Tunnel
Light…a holy grail
Trudge on…a magic potion
Lifts this grim grey veil

 

Silence
Feel that inner coil
Once apart from wired voices
And…mundane turmoil

 

Invisible
Much of me unseen
Fearful embers burn below
A mask so serene

 

Dusk
Dim light in the sky
Tolling the knell…my eclipse
As each dusk draws nigh

 

Joy
Slowly…face…to…face
Folded…into…this…odd …world’s
Mystical embrace

 

Melancholia
Deep?…shoal?…ne’er pretty
Melancholy?…or…could…it…
Be… just…self-pity?

 

Unlucky
Poor me…again…why?
Alas…it’s all yellow…seen
Through…my jaundiced eye

 

Temps perdu
To glance…but…not stare
At our past stains…lest we the
Here and now… impair

 

Thyestean Feast
Bittersweet…but…mine
I feed…on…my…tasty heart
As if it were thine

 

Immaculate Misconception
Pure…an ideal
Or…weapon…to…wield…against
Them…with pious zeal

 

Paris
A scribbler’s haven
Lens to see oneself…whether
Lackey or maven

 

Perfection
O hateful error!
Piercing the myth…and…stirring
Such inner terror

 

Success
Measured when you die
Not by fame or money…but
Tears of those who cry

 

Bliss
A natural state
Of wonder and delight…soon
Jaded by one’s fate

 

Miracles
Water became wine
Lazarus winked…and…then…you…
Placed…your hand…in mine


© John Maxwell O’Brien