Peter O’Neill – Prelude to Poe

Peter O'Neill LEP&W V4 Dec 2022

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Prelude to Poe, poem by Peter O’Neill

Prelude to Poe

You can hear it in the register or tone,
The very special case of pleading.
Nietzsche would have immediately denounced it.
Yet here, in this shit hole, it is all too prevalent!

Like an insidious form of bacteria, it has become part of the culture.
What kills me is the passive acceptance of it,
Anything to avoid direct confrontation.
The voice drops and raises in alternating pitches

But it is always pitching low, to the very basest level of humanity.
This is what makes it so distinctive and dangerous.
Particularly when it drops to a low hush.

It is the discourse of skulkers, sycophants and total and utter chancers.
It is the sound of the voice that one is confronted by
In every single corner of this Land.

© Peter O’Neill

Peter O’Neill was born in Cork in 1967. He left the Republic to live in France for the majority of the nineties and returned to live in Dublin at the start of the millennium and has remained in Dublin ever since. His first trilogy of books The Dark Pool, Dublin Gothic and The Enemy – Transversions from Baudelaire were all published in 2015, a key year for O’Neill in his emergence as an unusual yet distinctive voice in contemporary Irish writing. He has gone onto to publish several other books, the latest work Henry Street Arcade (2021), again goes over old themes. He is currently working on a number of projects while continuing to teach EFL.

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