Poetry by Maria O’Rourke

After a career in teaching spanning thirty years, Maria O’Rourke is now a full-time author, currently studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. Writing both prose and poetry, her favourite genre is creative non-fiction. She is married to David, with three grown-up children.


You’ve played this part before, Dad:

the sick man with the rasping cough

on thespian boards, you loved to tread.

But this time it’s for real – 

working hard to

perfect the wavering voice,

the hesitant shuffle,

capturing the head’s incline,

and conjuring for the gathered crowd

the perfect line.

It’s just me beside you now, Dad,

My hand cupped round your grey head.

Whispering poems you always loved

to the rhythm of the heart machine;

its patterns bleeping reassurance 

that you are still alive.

Centre-stage in your hospital bed

with an audience of one,

your face awash with dappled light

from the sun.

When you get out of here, Dad,

Great performances await:

from John B. Keane to Frederica Lorca.

Your passionate heart will swell

to rapturous applause.

Will you dream of it now

like you’re waiting in the wings,

powdered and painted and dressed?

‘Good night, sweet Prince,

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’

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Now that you're here

The Blue Nib believes in the power of the written word, the well-structured sentence and the crafted poetic phrase. Since 2016 we have published, supported and promoted the work of both established and emerging voices in poetry, fiction, essay and journalism. Times are difficult for publishers, and The Blue Nib is no exception. It survives on subscription income only. If you also believe in the power of the written word, then please consider supporting The Blue Nib and our contributors by subscribing to either our print or digital issue.

Editor of Abhaile, Tracy Gaughan is constantly searching for fresh and innovative voices in poetry from Ireland or The United Kingdom: Submit to Abhaile.


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