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Peter O’Neill – Wake not Woke

Profile O Neill LEP&W May 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021

Peter O’Neill is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Henry Street Arcade a bilingual edition, his first, with translations into French by Yan Kouton published by Éditions du Pont de l’Europe, 2021. He has also published a book of translations The Enemy -Transversions from Charles Baudelaire  ( Lapwing, 2015) and the hybrid prose work More Micks than Dicks – a satirical dig at the current world of Beckett studies ( Famous Seamus, 2017). He has just finished curating Baudelaire 200 Years! an online festival for the Alliance Francaise, and a new book, again inspired by Baudelaire, Ideals and Spleen is due out in the summer.


Wake not Woke

For Kevin Kiely

And the words were spoken ever so gently.
So gently gentile that even the gentlest
Reptile that ever leapt off of a leaf of
Four leaf clover wouldn’t have noticed them passing!

And the smiling faces on em’ –
Physiognomy of ignominious half-wits
Half- heartedly babbling out their Babel-like spout,
Sprouting atop again; “Round and roun’ again.”

Their greasy inner chameleon, skin of leather
Pulling over their leaden eyeballs, inviting
Envy and words so gently spoken. Gentle as Gently

Like, wouldn’t harm a fly on a flyby passing.
So gently as gently like plámássing
All the while their two feet stuck knee-deep in it!


© Peter O’Neill