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Peter O’Neill – Unseen Elements in Van Gogh’s Painting

Profile O Neill LEP&W Sept 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing September 2021 Mini Edition

Peter O’Neill is the author of six collections of poetry, the most recent being Henry Street Arcade a bilingual collection translated into French by the poet Yan Kouton (2021); a novella More Micks than Dicks ( 2017) and a volume of translation The Enemy – Transversions from Baudelaire ( 2015). With a background in philosophy and comparative literature, he is currently working on a novel inspired by Raymond Chandler’s Big Sleep. He has edited numerous publications, including two anthologies of poetry, organised and hosted a number of literary festivals and readings, most recently the bicentenary celebration Baudelaire at 200! for the Alliance Francaise in Dublin. His writing has been translated into French, German, Italian, Arabic and most recently Spanish.


 

The Poet’s Garden

For
Beale MacKenzie

Diogenes tub-weary hurling a superb turd at Plato
While he traverses the marketplace on his way to the
Acacademy as my old professor, Dr Cyril
McDonnell, dreams of a career in stand- up comedy.

Yet, while maintaining all of the rigour of radical
Empiricist philosophy, continuing on Hume’s tradition!
Also seated there invisibly, Raymondo Chandlereque
At the moment of the birth of his most superb fictional

Creation – Sir Philip Marlowe a conglomerate of parts;
Reaching from the extent of Christopher –
Author of Tamberline to the Knight of the sonnets.

Also to be included, a burlesque of broads with silver wigs,
Pints of rye, monocles and Charlie Chan moustaches.
And just barely audible – Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata.


 

Aristophanes

On the outer spine, the image of the grapes
Impregnate the air eyeward,
The langorous Gironde, current a posible
Constrictor, yet on this day gently unwinding.

Like a great palm, releasing us its children
Into the Godhead of the river.
Grapes to the current, the charge of cold
Onrushing up through the thighs and chest

And smiles of the summer on the Banks
Where I stood before you almost naked,
You who could already see so far Ahead.

Blameless that you were, in the summer of your years,
For are we not but the playthings of the Gods,
You and I, that concept now, like a dead fly upon a window pane.


 

A Musical Education

In the morning you listen to Debussy;
Reflets dans l’eau. Mornings are Good
For impressionism. You wake up gently,
And to the aroma of the first coffee, which tastes bitter.

At noon, you have already graduated to Beethoven;
Some sonantas, variations or bagatelles.
And, if you are really struggling – the Triple
Concerto in C Major, Op. 56 No 2.

No coffee there, as you’re already on the beer!
From there? You can only mellow,
Or otherwise face the inevitable meltdown.

Miles Davis Kind of Blue.
Now, you should be thinking also of food.
That’s it, go and pour the wine now!


 

The Ancients

Grammar bleeds into the child’s brain,
Followed closely by algebra and the theorem
Of Pythagoras. The Muse comes, wearing
Her jumpsuit in black latex, and also bearing her scourge.

Behind Her, there’s Heraclitus & Democritus.
The former is weeping while the latter cries with laughter.
A fool then in the theater with two masks;
The face of comedy and tragedy!

Even in our sports, destruction is inevitable.
Learning defeat and living with the very public Humiliation.
This is your learning. This then is your school!

Don’t worry, you Will come to Love it, in time,
When She sticks your face right in it,
Urging you to suck it up. Your day is just beginning!


 

Politics is Concrete

Black lives matter.
The case of the exception is the rule.
The case of the exception is the rule.
The case of the exception is the rule.

Women’s lives matter.
The case of the exception is the rule.
The case of the exception is the rule.
The case of the exception is the rule.

Jewish lives matter.
The case of the exception is the rule.
The case of the exception is the rule.

Gay lives matter.
The case of the exception is the rule.
The case of the exception is the rule.


©Peter O’Neill