Peter O’Neill – Ballybaa

P Peter O Neill LE P&W Vol 1 2019

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Poems by Peter O’Neill

Peter O’Neill is the author of More Micks than Dicks, a hybrid Beckettian novella in 3 genres ( Famous Seamus, 2017), The Enemy, Transversions from Charles Baudelaire ( Lapwing, 2015) and Dublin Gothic ( Kilmog Press, 2015), among other works. He is currently working on a novel, a sort of homage to Raymond Chandler, while researching Comment C’est/How It Is by Samuel Beckett. His academic background is in philosophy and comparative literature. He maintains a blog which he updates fairly regularly.


“Trahissons, trahissons, la traître pensée.”

…and Molloy stood there in the field
looking at the shepherd with his flock,
like some old bollocks. And as he did,
images of transhumance flooded

his mind. Sweet and gentle tales of
Cain & Abel and Co. brought about
a Beethovenian calm, before the storm.
That is of course, before the fixed con

Moran appeared with his pitiful offspring.
The pair a travesty on a bicycle,
lost in a wood una selva oscura.

camped innocently enough there without
an apparent beast in sight, but for the sheep
grazing like lambs, before the slaughter.

As the Crow Flies

The castle and its surrounding estate
Appear below like the microcosm
Of a cell taken from a biopsy
From some human brain tissue.

In the foreground, the symmetrically
Aligned show gardens with their trimmed
Maze of hedges, a sign denoting
Chomsky’s notions of innate grammar.

All heralding the enlightenment,
With its fixations for rational inquiry,
The Cartesian body, all head and so- called mind.

While around this genteel mass, abundant
Woods also grow, deeply cavernous,
Signalling Lacan’s laughing subconscious.

Mists and Rains

Transversion from Baudelaire

O end of autumns, winters, springs drenched in mists,
The seasons of hibernation which I love and inhabit
Envelope also my brain and my heart
In a vapourish shroud and a vague tomb.

In the great plains where the southerly winds play,
Or during the long nights when the weather vane grows hoarse,
My soul better than in warm times renews itself
Stretching out its crow-like wings.

Nothing is as gentle to the heart full of funerary things,
Through which for a long time descend through the wintry times,
The sickly seasons, Queens of our climates,

As the permanent aspect of your pale darkness,
If it is not, by a moonless night, two by two,
Sleeping away the pains on a hazardous bed.


Your silence envelopes me like a sea,
Particularly when I sit at the kitchen table.
It rushes up against me in currents,
Holding me fast to the leather chair.

Hands bound, arms tied, with duct tape on
My mouth, I try to cry out but all I can
Manage to hear is the thin sound of graphite,
Scripting its way across the sheets.

How long can I thread water like this?
I have no idea. Like stone I endure,
Weathering the oncoming waves. Erode.

Our death will be piecemeal. The slow
Almost imperceptible annihilation of memory,
Like water dripping, down through millennia, upon stone.


After Sciola

Rimbaud called for the systematic
Déréglement de tous les sens – colouring
The vowels, which you read and later heard,
Echoing through the stones of the nuragi.

The sonority of granite whispers
To you with all of the tenderness
And softness of the flesh of the peaches
Of Sansperata, where I wish to hear again

The stony lament in the basalt of the pips
Embedded in the hill of stone structures
Echoing above the silence about your lips.

This rock retains walls of sound, its spectre,
Just as your hands press inwardly upon
The untraceable braille of love.


Power is fluid, such is Foucault.
The body being politicised;
The zones of contention are highly
Eroticised: the anus, phallus…

And the clitoris, and breasts.
Such are the hotspots, the fleshy fields
Of Armageddon. We stand together
At the frontier, guns in hand.

The tension is fraught with possibility.
Submission and domination,
Who gets to rule and in turn be ruled?

Hence our obsession with role play.
Power is fluid, the body being politicised.
Your clitoris and breasts, the keys to my deliverance.

© Peter O’Neill