The sculptor’s hands are shaped as they shape stone.

Statues are not ripped fully formed from wombs:

Shards penetrate, flesh is splintered, as unknown

Forms are coaxed with promises of eyes

To rest upon them; eyes to make them live

As something in this world. The artist offers

In return back down beneath a share of himself –

Trading the simple physicality of a deformation,

Or the complex buckling of a broken psyche,

For the capture of a vision: a David or a St Teresa

Ecstatic in his suffering, a man apart;

Standing finally in silent worship

Of miracles well won from simple rock.

I chipped away for many years, shaping myself.

Seeking out the curve of the right thing to do;

The soft arc of a listening ear;

Nicking at the tender hidden outline

Of the kindest word I could say.

Uncovering the firmest way to stand my ground.

I didn’t know any of it was in there.

It’s not so wrong to be satisfied with myself.

Wisdom is a hard work miracle,

Stuck down in dense stuff; waiting for the chisel;

Worth every delicate strike of the hammer.






He came to me a few weeks after passing

Falling or fallen asleep, I could not tell

Which side he was closer to. Still bearded,

White maned, uncertain gestures, perhaps 



Surprised at his own death, though

It was long in coming – we felt the common shock

The path slumped suddenly beneath to burst our

Wheels, snap spokes, shift us into lower 

Gears for rougher roads. 


His face a midnight child

Not knowing dreams are merely fabrications –

And he was walking backwards, unwillingly;

But still going, clearly between here and

Wherever he belonged now.

            I couldn’t speak.

Half paralysed, I watched him disappear.

Then slept, then woke up wondering.


Gödel with his axioms insists 

On transmigration. Perhaps I caught him 

In the act, psychotic with the dislocation

Unsettled till his next embodiment. Every babe 

Or animal I see might have him in it. 

poems by Daragh Byrne

Irish-born, Daragh Byrne has lived in Sydney for a decade. He writes informed by a longstanding meditation practice and his background in physics. His poems have been published in The Blue Nib, Backstory and The Honest Ulsterman. He was awarded Highly Commended in the 2019 WB Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia.


  1. I really like METEMPSYCHOTIC—well balanced, insighful & the added bonus of being introduced to Kurt Gödel—a satisfying end to another good day on the planet…thanks Daragh, hope you’re well.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here