August / September 2015 - Vol. 81

Orchard by Vincent Van Gogh
Peach Trees by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
From The Hunting of the Bees

Two Poems by Sean O'Neill

Peach tree

The tender peach tree that used to grow wild
at the back of the garden when we came
to live at the new house, a specimen
from some old idea of home defiled  

by the years of sheer neglect, was cut down.
Here there was no biblical sense of growth
through watering. The new gardener was loath
to tend it. Then there was the cost of loam.  

But in memory the tree’s spirit lives
still, and haunts the idle yard with its bright
presence, carefully reminding us all  

that love is not an abstract thing that gives
the mind its steady purpose and its light,
but a strong embrace, a caress, a call.

The mercy cup  

Whatever tempest rages in the skull,
whatever malcontent rends the gut,
whatever illness or dysfunction,
eats the living flesh from bone,
there is a love that sees that pain,
and hides it under mercy’s tender rain.  

Our maladies are of our making,
painstakingly constructed of small acts.
We court and tease the wrong,
and truth is always repressed
by man’s mean, insolvent store
of wild rebellion, treachery, mistrust.  

Yet even in this parlous state
the wall we beat our head against
is not the brick and mortar
of the outhouse or the shack,
but the yielding, father hand
where love hides us in the crack.

(c) 2014 Sean O'Neill > See other poems in Living Bulwark by Sean O'Neill
The Hunting of the
                        Bees by Sean O'Neill This is Sean O’Neill’s fourth poetry collection in print and it marks a progression from the sonnet forms of his previous book “The snipe in winter.”

These poems range from the memories of childhood in the country to darker memories of foreign hotels and sleepless nights. As always, the lyrical language shines through in both the free-verse and formal poems alike.

Book available at Amazon.

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