Plato’s Cave – In The Gladstone and other poems by Peter O’Neill
Peter O’Neill is the author of several books, most recently More Micks Than Dicks, a hybrid Beckettian novella in 3 genres currently out of print, and The Dublin Trilogy: Poems & Transversions 1992-2017, a singular engagement with a 19th century French Master; launched in Paris in November last year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Baudelaire’s death. He recently presented je la dis comme elle vient– The Appearance of the Homeric Muse in Beckett’s Comment c’est/How It Is at the How It Is Symposium organised by Gare Saint Lazare Players Ireland at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. He teaches EFL and resides in Dublin. His writing (be it poetry, translation, critical reviews or academic presentation) has been published widely, being translated into French, Italian and German. O’Neill has also edited two anthologies of poetry; And Agamemnon Dead (mgv2>publishing, 2015) and The Gladstone Readings ( Famous Seamus, 2017). He set up Donkey Shots, an avant -garde literary festival, in his hometown of Skerries, North County Dublin, and currently hosts The Gladstone Readings. https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/peter-o-neill https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/
Plato’s Cave – In The Gladstone
We sit, my brother and I, in the back room.
The spring light from the sun shines outside,
Burnishing the old cottage style windows
At the front of the pub, causing the
Caravaggio effect, so that
The old men appear more like giants,
With their bottles and glasses before them,
Their hubbub and chatter calming us.
The fire then in the hearth ablaze,
Throwing, with the sun, the silhouettes
And shadows, adding to the illusory
Nature of the place. The world outside shut
Tight, so that whenever the latch is lifted
Liberty almost falters, under the spell.
The Metaphysics of Arcades -Arcadia!
φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ – Nature loves to hide.
Perhaps we need to re-examine obscurity,
In this age of blinding all-seeing, all knowing,
All encompassing… nothing! Re-appraise
The splendour of the shades and the shadows.
For, these passageways are imbued with expectation,
Due to the ephemeral nature of the encounters
Promoted, which is the key to their attraction.
Discovery, and Revelation!… From light to darkness.
On the high street, in broad daylight,
Bordello chic is promoted in plain view.
And for all to see – though they pass by un-seeing!
Yet, they would rail about the hijab,
For western eyes a real source of terror;
To give back to the nature of things their true mystery.
Anti – Oedipus
It was the Christmas of 1972.
The Lee had flooded over the banks,
Turning the city into a real little Venice.
My mother had taken me to see Scrooge,
With Albert Finney. This involuntary memory only
Recently resurfaced. I clarified it with my father.
He too attested to the fact that she was wearing
A faux black leather overcoat, complete with
Russian fur hat, black boots and tights.
I remember sitting beside her on the bus,
As the river entered the vehicle whenever
The doors opened. I was like Noah during the flood.
I remember also sitting beside her, up in the gods,
While the ghosts were flying all about us.
Before even the inscription, before you inscribe
Her name, you pause before it.
SHE… and with just this one vowel announced,
Borne forward by the twin consonants,
Carried forward as if upon a summer breeze,
The she wind blowing behind your sails,
And all of your craft moves forward
Upon the sea, wine-dark, and hallucinatory.
Invocation within a name.
She who is both multiple and One.
She bringing with her divinity and order.
She who intoxicates the blood,
Causing your body to lose all control.
She who would in turn empty your soul.
© Peter O’Neill