Neil Slevin is a 26 year-old writer from the West of Ireland.
An English teacher, he has returned to university to complete an M.A. in Writing at N.U.I. Galway and to pursue a writing-based career.
Neil writes for Sin (N.U.I. Galway's student newspaper), editing its entertainment section and culture column, Resonate, and as Events Reporter for the Institute for Lifecourse and Society.
Neil’s poetry has been published by The Galway Review and numerous international journals.
The Gaelic Chieftain
I am the starlit horseman warring the fallen night:
With the raining light of stars my shadow’s flecked,
stars that stream like trickling tears
from the eyes of a crying sky:
tears that streak the face of night
in grief for what’s long lost –
what I alone have won, I who will not die.
Draped in ebony-black
I stand alone against your darkness,
winds that shriek the curlew’s call;
I know they howl to me of death
but to them I must not yield,
to them I will not fall.
I who ride through time and space,
my horse’s route no longer stone-blocked road
nor slow-rising hillside,
I, who all must pass and face
to know my honour
and my pride.
Not even when this battle ends,
when daylight reigns and peacetime calls
will I rest, I will outlive the dawn:
I wait for it with sword’s embrace,
my eternal wrath guarding the West.
My war rages on.
The lobster’s guarding the phone again;
that’s the reason I haven’t called you.
He’s there, watching me with the reproach of my father
whenever I’d done something parents never want their children to do
even when there’s no harm in doing it,
like using the word ‘cops’ repeatedly to describe policemen
(as if it were some sort of curse)
because it was all I’d ever heard them described as
on my diet of American television.
But I digress.
The phone is there too,
you at the other end of a line
that traces its way from me to you. You
most likely not even wanting me to call
but there all-the-same,
waiting for life’s next moment
to set that beautiful ball of uncertainty
rolling into some unknown valley
where we will push it up the hills we find, Sisyphus-like,
before letting it fall,
never crossing the path of its glorious descent
but embracing its fall because it is falling,
because we have been falling our whole lives,
into life, out of love, toward each other;
because falling is part of the fun.
But I’ve already fallen:
the lobster cannot rescue me
from this mire of delight I’ve been lost in
since that day we first met.
Hide and Seek
You watch it play hide and seek
like a playground’s child
hidden behind clouds yet peeping out
(though curiosity kills most cats)
as it tries to beat the count of each falling drop –
last breath its first, its only pulse –
of the shower’s symphony that rises, rises
then reaches its crescendo.
From the conductor’s wand,
a single ray trickles earthward,
molten gold spelling out
I will shine again.
Though you’re not here
I say your name
with the softness
I’d say I love you,
whether there’s another
to hear the sound
or only silence to diffuse it
into the distance we share;
while the woods listen
and the trees rise,
their branches nodding
in the gentle breeze
as if to show
they understand, they know
that the one they shelter
despite the summer’s light
trickling through their leaves
like afterthoughts of liquid gold
to warm him in your shadow.
I’ve never seen your face undressed,
you stripped of the layers between us
built up by time and space;
but I have caught those glimpses,
the stardust you let fall to Earth,
pennies drizzled by astral hands
to ignite my homeless heart and soul,
lull my nomad’s mind with love.
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