Peter O’ Neill

 

Peter O' Neill 2

 

(Ireland)

 

 

 

VI.

 

When we were legion, nesting crows

Signalled our departure from the bay,

At Drumnagh. Now to strike out North,

With a determined march, our blood up.

 

It was the month of Mars, warlike we came,

The blood pumping clearly in our veins.

Our centurion sang a marching song,

Which we returned to let the enemy know.

 

The Roman eagle had come. And our ranks

Were full of both novice and veteran.

For Servius it was his first campaign.

 

He marched with equal parts of fear and

Wonder. And when someone cried, “ Aquilam!”

We watched it soar high above us, as one.

 

 

 

VII.

 

On Charon’s skiff we boarded, eight men

In, our contubernium, set off

From Deva Victrix in LXXXII,

At Agricola’s bidding. Mare

 

Hibernium! Us, but a lone cohort

Set sail to consolidate the

Trading post at Drumanagh promontory,

And to ascertain the strength of the

 

People there. Our blood was up

With the flush of success during our

Wars in Caledonia. Agricola

 

Wanted to consolidate our position,

And extend the empire into places unknown.

All in the month of Mars, god of war.

 

 

 

VIII.

 

mille passum… unmolested, we marched.

Till one of the immunes, an engineer,

Placed the first wooden marker to denote

The first M paces, counting both feet.

 

Such is how empires begin, people

Forget. Built on the strenght and power

Of two small feet, multiplied by D.

All synchronised, and marching in pairs.

 

Such momentum. Servius looked down

Briefly at his cuneiforms, bare to

The air. The rest of his foot sandal

 

Bound. He but a single unit of this

Century. Two hundred feet on the move.

Armour and shield all making a noise.  

 

 

 

VIIII. The  Ban-Gaisgedaig

 

My trick in battle was to bewitch men.

Throw back a cape, expose a breast,

While putting a firm foot forward.

It stopped countless in their tracks.

 

More fool them! For instead of feeling

The gentle warmth of my bosom,

The swift thrust of raw iron would be

Upon them, penetrating to the core.

 

Flesh ripped, bones crushed. After the

Shock they would scream like skewered

Pig. Then, limp and passive, quickly fall.

 

Sometimes their privates exposed, members

Erect and wet, having shot their final load.

I then a metaphor, encompassing both sex and death.

 

 

 

X.

 

we came at them with chariot

driving our horses out from the woods

 

we had been surveying them all the while

weighed down with armour and belongings

 

you could see full on terror in their eyes

as soon as we broke out screaming

 

firing spear and lance at them

I put an iron shaft through one’s throat

 

the full force of a horse behind it

the neck bone snapped in an instant

 

warm blood spurted every way

soon we were all covered in it

 

fighting for our very lives

especially us women

 

 

 

Copernican Shifts

 

unforeseen categorisations

matter aligned with the apparent

 

weightlessness of cloud from which are emitted

like cooling moisture a disinterested harmonisation

 

topological shifts which come about

with the relentlessness of unseen and

 

random atomisation, paradigms

of existent yet invisible

 

organisms which co-exist alongside

of us day to day inebriating

 

visions of breath as yet to be even forecast

and which can inhabit the minute groove

 

of your index or forefinger terrain

so vast and intractable so as to

 

send one leaping back at once to the overtly

 

familiar

 

 

 

III.

 

The Aristotelian notation,

The coded speak of things, their enigma.

Constantly returning to ground zero,

All bibliographies awash in

 

Tabula rasa. The polished

Becoming again, birth and death

Found in each consummate engagement.

For example, the skyward burst of

 

The ulmus uncovering its opaca,

Chimera waywardly looking on the

Horizon. Roman oars dipping out into

 

The bay of Loughshinny. The singing

Alliteration of rain, its drops

Dripping in pools of words, now at sea.

 

 

 

At the Writing Table in the Boathouse

 

Bars of light cover the notebook

Page, once inside your new cell.

Gull bicker and shriek, down by the pier.

A lone van is parked by the fishing boats.

 

Martello, then, straight ahead, over on

The promontory of Drumanagh, where

Apparently the Roman post, or fort,

Was stationed. British mimic again

 

pater familis. Above the strand,

The cliff of folded limestone rings

The perimeter like an amphitheatre.

 

A couple with bucket journey toward

You, bearing crab, shrimp, mere worm, or shell fish?

The trace of their footprint visible still.

 

 

 

The Sirens

 

The fell voices on the air, filling it

with empty skulls dressed up in

gosameer. Ulysses standing with

his back to the mast, listens to their

 

enchanting melodies, playing over

him. Tapping his foot to the beat of the

plaintive rhythm, which he has heard time

and time again, and as he listens further

 

he relaxes more and more, leaning now

against the wooden post, with a wry smile

upon his face, seeing again the images

 

of all the women he has ever known.

Their faces and bodies swirling into the

ether, never to be seen by him again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 
Peter O' Neill

 

Peter O’ Neill is the author of six collections of poetry, the latest two being Divertimento, The Muse is a Dominatrix ( mgv2>publishing, France, 2016 ) and Sker ( Lapwing, Northern Ireland, 2016 ). He was born in Cork in 1967, though lived in France for almost a decade an experience which was to have a profound effect on his writing. His Dublin Trilogy ( 2000 – 2015) comprising of The Dark Pool, Dublin Gothic and The Enemy, Transversions from Charles Baudelaire has been gathering great praise in reviews. Most recently, the poet Michael S. Begnal wrote in Trumpet , Poetry Ireland, of The Dark Pool ( mgv2>publishing, France, 2015 ), calling it a “unique achievement.”

 

 

 

Articles similaires

Tags

Partager