July 2012 - Vol. 61

The Miraculous Insistence of Life
poem by Sean O'Neill

While the sad flat atoms of carbon and calx
Crow up their dreary prose in black tar,
A tulip burns through the hardcore of the alley
And bloods its secret heart with inky sap and melody.
As fragmentary ceiling plaster and dirt
Waste over the the plate silver of drawing rooms,
A stout and terrible ash flames up from the dew
And seizes the loud harmonic of the lawn's dominion.
When the bitter files of the cobble and the coping stone
March their biting patterns down each intersected byway,
Brute green life boils below the severality of sight
And surges out of every careless pore of earth.
Men cannot quench love,
Nor smother it with feeble block or brick above.
And street and town and tar and turning strife
Are swallowed in the symphonies of life. 
> See other poems in Living Bulwark by Sean O'Neill
With this new collection of poems Sean O’Neill explores the relationship between the child, the youth and the adult. What are the key moments that have contributed to the construction of a fully-formed human being? Here a number of poems masquerade as memoir but have a deeper message, sometimes wistful, sometimes humorous. Here, too, he draws on his Celtic upbringing and the questions of identity that it raises. Some of the nature poems are a new departure and celebrate the complexity and beauty of animals, insects and the weather. This book of poems is more playful than O’Neill’s first book “this stage of life”, and uses a more accessible idiom to convey mood, but nevertheless offers a coherent voice full of color and depth.

Book available at Amazon.

This collection of Sean O’Neill’s poems is his first. The poems cover periods when the poet lived or worked in London, England; Milan, Italy; Drummore, a small fishing village on the West Coast of Scotland; and St. Paul, USA. The subject matter of the poems therefore varies from the grittily descriptive ‘Bridges’ and ‘Sweet Thames’, which are set in London, to the pastoral ‘The Hill’ and ‘in this atlas of headland’ set in the South Rhins peninsula. The poems cover several years and a multitude of situations and yet a consistent voice emerges finding meaning in apparently insignificant details, and clothing mundane events in a tapestry of rich wordplay. Several poetic sequences are contained in this collection including the four-part ‘this stage of life’ a wry commentary on modern life and ‘Winter 2011’ which centers on the view from a window during the harsh weather conditions of that year. Some of the poems are satirical; others celebrate the joy of simple things. Some are dark while others are full of hope. Whatever the reader’s disposition he or she will find something valuable in this volume that echoes the mood of the moment or the season of life. Book available at Amazon.
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