February/March 2016 - Vol. 84

A selection of poems from Songs of Hunger, by Sean O'Neill illustration by Kevin Carden 

by Sean O'Neill

Strange how the wind will welter through the slow, gaunt trees,
how rain will seek out meadows and water will freeze,

how the hail finds the weak points in the city’s song
and the hot sun weakens the mighty and the strong.

I found tiresome tenants in the moods that dogged me,
dark humors that came and when they left would dally

by the door, knocking loudly, begging to come in
to debate my childhood, my merit and my sin.

But I am not inclined to death by slow degrees,
to the constant carping or the droning reprise

of those bullyboys from the errors of my past,
or the cool mantras of my youth that did not last.

All these fierce contraries will pile against my door.
I will ignore the clamor and sink to the core

of the person I am, the sum of my many faults,
my sore misperceptions, my many starts and halts,

the deceptions that I plied through turning seasons,
and blank years, searching always for valid reasons

why my sentence should be lifted. The very breaths
I take consume the power of those daily deaths,

till all the evil is destroyed and I am whole.
Still, I ache for perfection of body and soul,

like a construction in brick that still needs pointing,
or an old man who won’t die without anointing.

And so, waiting in adverse weather, I will bless
my days, instead of wasting what time I possess.

Suffering teaches the heart to reach for heaven
to become the salt, the spark, the light, the leaven.

This poem by (c) Sean O'Neill is from Songs of Hunger, a new collection of poems published in January 2016, available at Amazon.

Click below to read a selection of poems from Songs of Hunger, by Sean O'Neill


Songs of Hunger book cover
Like great music, fine poetry has power that can infuse the soul, transform the mind, and transcend the mundane everyday experience of life with what is timeless and supreme.
Songs of Hunger is an exceptional collection of poems – rich in language, imagery, symbolism and breadth of thought, feeling, and place.  Sean O’Neill is a poet of great skill and exceptional spirit. His poems take you on a quest of the soul in search of wholeness, healing, cleansing, and discovering a home for the restless heart. It is a journey of mercy and hope, love and faith in the One who paid the price that sets us free. You will find plenty here to feed and nourish both mind and spirit.
O’Neill has published five previous collection of poems. This book not only builds on the others – it soars to a new level of feeling and spirit, hope and joy.
- Don Schwager

See previous poems in past issues of Living Bulwark 
Sean O'Neill is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, and currently lives in Lansing, Michigan, USA. He has published several books, including six novels, six books of poems, and a series of very helpful and instructive books on a beginner's guide to writing, including How to Write a Poem: A Beginner's Guide.
 (c) copyright 2016  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