Peter O’ Neill – Four poems

PortraitPeter O’ Neill has had over 100 poems published. His debut collection Antiope appeared in February 2013, and to critical acclaim. ‘Certainly a voice to be reckoned with,’ wrote Dr. Brigitte Le JueZ (DCU). As well as having had some of his translations published – including works by Baudelaire, Agusto Dos Anjos and Virgil; original poems written by him in Italian and French have also appeared. He has been a regular contributor to A New Ulster, Danse Macabre and The Scum Gentry, and he is currently working on his seventh collection. Undismayed by Filth, Stench and Darkness Inconceivable.


Undismayed by Filth, Stench and Darkness Inconceivable

Tu m’as donné ta boue et j’en ai fait de l’or. – Baudelaire

To leave the ancestral halting site we call home,
There with wife, mother and child still asleep,
You go out onto the open road to face
All of the surprises that it may bring.

First, mild odour of corruption bearing blood and shit,
All coming from the Endoscopy Unit, where young
Doctors stand about clutching files containing the
Labyrinthian history of the intestine.

Next, on to greet the trains in the golden November
Light, with the air leaden with the Baltic Sea winds,
Till you feel the first trickle of the tributary

Seeping warmly between your thighs.
Awake then to the further charge and blast of a passing train,
As your legs feel like two great arches, encompassing the void.



For Chris Murray

‘I’ all seeing, all knowing cogito sum , or Self
As evental site, or place of total demarcation;
The moment of its revealing in terms of phusis.
But, up till then the enduring accumulation,
The grains of age, every single experience,
Enriching “Be – ing” – Dasein. The term
Coined to further localise the centre, mere
Pronouns, particularly singular, not announcing
Merely enough the momentous singularity
Of the light wrought, to illuminate the clearing.
Being in its extension a multiple fracture,
The smithereens, or alleys, of thought’s
Seventeenth century citadel now imploded,
And words bricks are seen spiralling into truth’s labyrinth.



The trial is simply our life, the castle our home.

Perish a soul due to a typographical error,
Oh the minute psychopathic treacheries
Existing in the stalinesque statistical minute;
Kafka is a noun, sound it out – Kafkaesque!

Once uttered, the invisible castle appears
Cram packed with officialdom;
Thy kingdom to come, thy will to be undone,
By the roll call of officious administrators.

And your only salvation to be found
Is in some rundown inn in some forgotten
Backstreet, over a drink, with some local girl.

There with the music and wine exists also young love,
Just as palpable as the citadel upon the hill,
And just as insanely comic, and obsessive.

The Surveyor

“Tell me that story again?”

He came in from the snow, one day.
The pub was packed.
He said he wanted to go up to the castle.

We all had a good laugh at that.
The Publican came out and offered
Him a bed for the night.
Then Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee arrived.

While they stood about chatting,
A young woman arrived
And they instantly took a shine to one another.

They made love inside a pre-fabricated building,
Which was very ironic –
As if you could tell a proper story, without a girl in it!




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