Pádraig Ó Tuama

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Pádraig Ó Tuama


There was something before the beginning
back when there was no when–
just chaos and creation.

Nothing and something
coming from each other,
or following.

Here, where there’s nothing but time,
the before refuses language, time’s container,
preferring chaos, time’s before.

No wonder we need planets
to ground our stories. Axes. Atmospheres.
Stars to spin around.

See? A wheel. A fire, burning on a fire.
An ex and in halation.

Pádraig Ó Tuama reads “Ouroboros”


He Told Me I Was Good at Telling Stories

Halfway through a session
I started feeling it again and then
the howling started – the raw throat of
keening – the sound of my sounds sounding
round the corners of the room,
the horror as I wondered
how he’d tell others what he heard,
the punch of watching him watch me.

He told me I was good at telling stories.

When I told it, I didn’t notice all the shaking.
He noticed, and he told me. He said
You’re shaking like you’re still inside the story
and then this story started while
that story started shaking me again.

Pádraig Ó Tuama reads “He Told Me I Was Good at Telling Stories”


Pádraig Ó Tuama (b. 1975) is from Ireland. He’s the host of the podcast Poetry Unbound from On Being, from which Poetry Unbound; 50 Poems to Open Your World was published by Canongate and Norton. The most recent collection of his own poetry is Feed the Beast (Broken Sleep Books, 2022).