February 2012 - Vol. 57

On Examining a Lump of Earth

poem by Sean O'Neill

Taking this clod of rosy clay in my hand
I see rivers crawling with trilobite
Gripping the water’s bed.
And, blackening off near the end,
Their tails whipped the rock
And chased up leagues of atomic silt
That hung, waiting for its time,
Stirring with cloudy intelligence

Pinching these pointed pebbles of fragmentary cliffs
I see a mind calculating monsters
From our small edgewise dreams.
And even in their long element
The torn and ragged roots
Of our poor imaginations
Falter like wingless particles
Caught in the rude gusts of God

Plucking the small suspended tendril
I trace its ancestry of earth-breakers
With a single sweep of the stem.
From every cell broken by the brute ground
This natural air goes up,
Riding the whispering words of God,
To other fields
Where life despoils its seed.

Prising out the tuft of this quivering fur
I save the memory of blood
That tangles in the throat of this dust;
The sap of calves
Who trod down mountains
And raised this bursting fallow mould
For next season’s joys
And the land’s eternal rest.

> See other poems in Living Bulwark by Sean O'Neill
This collection of Sean O’Neill’s poems is his first. The poems cover periods when the poet lived or worked in London, England; Milan, Italy; Drummore, a small fishing village on the West Coast of Scotland; and St. Paul, USA. The subject matter of the poems therefore varies from the grittily descriptive ‘Bridges’ and ‘Sweet Thames’, which are set in London, to the pastoral ‘The Hill’ and ‘in this atlas of headland’ set in the South Rhins peninsula. The poems cover several years and a multitude of situations and yet a consistent voice emerges finding meaning in apparently insignificant details, and clothing mundane events in a tapestry of rich wordplay. Several poetic sequences are contained in this collection including the four-part ‘this stage of life’ a wry commentary on modern life and ‘Winter 2011’ which centers on the view from a window during the harsh weather conditions of that year. Some of the poems are satirical; others celebrate the joy of simple things. Some are dark while others are full of hope. Whatever the reader’s disposition he or she will find something valuable in this volume that echoes the mood of the moment or the season of life. Book available at Amazon.
 (c) copyright 2012  The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com