January 2010 - Vol. 36

Ceapabhal, Isle of Harris, Scotland, photo by by John Blair

The Hill

poem by Sean O'Neill

At the bottom of this hill are burrows
Where blotches of the wind cry. A cold gull,
A brittle puffin, numb with hunger, dull
With lashing, bite the green waves like furrows.

The guts that strange augury used, to guess
Which way stealthy rains turn in September,
Were more easy to read and remember
Than cross words borne by the times, not less.

We are walking, sinking with the crow’s feet
Into the land. But while our bodies die,
Our eyes - the steep, stark glass before the soul -
Are opening beyond the stiff-wound sheet.
The dirt, the dung, the stones all question why
We have not brought with us our begging bowl.

The bottom of the hill is in my head
And turns, but not for ploughshares or the dead.

I trade mountains of mean mortality,
That billow hoops round my supple stories
For a lepton’s weight of silent glories;
The healing suns wring from calamity.

In the silence of woods, where the wind sings
We can go to loot life from the dead trees
And face down the stars to the mountains knees;
Cut limbs to see what their hidden blood brings.

We will root out the secrets from the sand,
Tear out the troubled fathoms from the sea,
Catch the running visions from the plain air,
Wrap the brown, reedy shallows in a hand,
Capturing the world in a single tree
And burning canyons with a single stare.

The body, till it learn to roll its range,
Despises exile now, until it change. 

[Sean O'Neill is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, and currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. His poems range from the sacred to the mundane and sometimes, inadvertently, both at the same time.] 

| Current Issue | Subscribe | Invite a Friend | Archives | The Sword of the Spirit |
 (c) copyright 2009-2010  The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com