“Promenade in Dunlaoghaire” by Peter O’Neill

Promenade in Dunlaoghaire

For Alessia


Your words sound and taste of old leather,

Like some deep wine they resonate

In my mind long after you are gone.


As I listen to their timbre

Certain geographical features of place

Become illuminated, like light


Reflected in rain-filled pools,

Or the sudden darkness of a morning forest

Which descends upon the sea-swept boulevards.


Such strange wanderings of the dispossessed,

I have seen so many of your eyes

Staring out at me through the darkness,


Like tiny pools of light, minute constellations

Of sound. Can you hear sight?

There, on those same boulevards,


I have also witnessed ships sliding off

Like rulers into the sea, their water table,

Where we too sit around and pass the salt,


The dried grains, the basalt, the hurt, the years;

Though, through the musk of your eyes, by the touch

Of your down, you can obliterate all.


In short, I succumb to your Byzantine smile,

Which helps me forestall the further catastrophes of dawn

That hang like a great sheet suspended above this city.



Peter O’Neill has been writing poetry for over 25 years now. His works deal largely with the darker subjects of sex, alcoholism, violence, greed, and death.He has lived and worked in France and enjoyed reading Baudelaire, Beckett, Rimbaud and Proust very much.Dante is also one of his great loves.

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