Audience Song Stories: No one knows the life I lost or the times I’ve cried alone

04 September, 2020

A Poem ~

Pain is flowing through my veins touching my deepest fears,
leaving scars that never heal and I know nobody cares.
No one knows the life I lost or the times I’ve cried alone.
Seeing things that never change in a hell I call my own.
Life is not my best resource and life is not my friend.
Nightmares fill my head tonight.
The illusions never end.
Death will one day come my way and that day is coming fast.
No more will I scream in pain these tears will be my last.
Brendon O’Farrell 1987

Brendon tells his story…

“I wrote that poem when I was 16. I was alone, depressed and high on a cocktail of weed and alcohol in an empty flat in Auckland. When I was 13 I was hit by a drunk driver. The ‘accident’ left me with physical scars and disabilities. I started having seizures in the hospital. My body was in constant pain and my head was a mess.

I spent months in 4 different hospitals

When I was released I had no idea who I was, who my family were, or where my home was. My parents had separated due to the stress I caused them. I bounced back a forth between them not knowing how to cope. 2 years later in art class at college, I was stabbed in the eye. I lost most of the vision from my left eye and I’m left-handed.

So half-blind, uncontrollably crazy, and feeling very alone

I left small-town Hawkes Bay and headed to Auckland. I spent the next 35 years traveling around New Zealand. From one adventure to the next. Trying to stay out of trouble. It hasn’t been enjoyable but I never gave up. To this day I battle with PTSD, temporal lobe epilepsy and pain but I never gave up. 11 years ago I became a father.

My son has saved me

I named him Darius after the old Persian kings who built empires out of sand. Like me, he loves to draw. Back in ’84 when I was in Wellington hospital I woke up and asked for some pencils and paper and I started to draw. I’ve been drawing ever since. My son and my art saved me from prison, hard drugs and certain death.”

I call my studio Kiwiportraits. It is my therapy. Samples of my work can be seen at


Songwriter Grace Duncan weaves her delicate voice into a story written by Brendon O’Farrell. His story was submitted to our Audience Song songwriters, many were affected by Brendon’s art and poetry.

Audience Song is a collective of songwriters who compose songs inspired by stories that speak of overcoming the challenges and adversities in our fast-changing world.

AUDIENCE SONG is a project by Song Conversations

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


  1. This is an amazing story of perseverance and hope even when things don’t seem hopeful on the outside. It’s also a story of the power of making art making choices making anything and how the act of making in turn help us solve the puzzle of our own life. Thanks for sharing such a personal story Brendan.

    I also want to share with you and others the power of symbol and coincidence. Events in the world and in my life have steered me towards a fascination with Persian culture. You can imagine how amazing it was to see a reference to Persian culture in Brendan’s story. This is how are people who make and tell stories get to impact each other’s lives. So thank you for this gift Brendan.

    I would encourage the song writers to remember that you’re writing not only someone else’s story but your own and if you can find a common ground all the more power to the song. Even though you are telling someone else’s stories somehow your own story will be part of that telling. Much love and encouragement to all involved in this beautiful process. I will watch and cheer enthusiastically from the sidelines.

    And if this comment seems a little fragmented it’s because I’m trying to master the art of dictating rather than typing!

    • Thanks Christine, for your point of view on Bredon’s story. It’s true that everybody is puzzling out their individual and complicated lives, and that personal choices are everything in the journey to solve this puzzle.
      You’ll be glad to hear that the reference to Persian culture has peaked my interest as well, and even better, has made it into an important part of the song!

      Koen (the songwriter)

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