Two Poems

by Oisín Breen (April 2021)

Sea with Red Sun, Emil Nolde


For all that I have forsworn that holy gabbling over root and seed and sheaf,
For all that I have said—and meant—that my only cathexis would from now on be the milk white of trailing legs—
I know what it is to feel an absence of the heart, one that the depths of laughter can not fill.

I know it is a relentless need that will not abate,
And I know I must—in the face of its storm—I know I must relent

        I RELENT
        DEAR LORD
        I RELENT

Yet much as I can not forswear your love,
I can not avoid your censure,
For the glutting of my soul is as unavoidable as the saturation of my senses,
And I am hungry for skin brushed with skin.

Thus, since you must censure me,
Let it be in hot poison,
And let me be what I must be:

The most human of your instruments,
        and the most divine.




Where the seed and stamen previously gorged on deep breaths of water,
The sacrament of need breeds a chalara,
A knot in the impulse of having.

And the forest floor lays covered,
Spread with the sinews of your stretched heart:

A canker, like a diamond

Grey wood, creeping along the bark

A dryness, and the knowledge that you are not what you once were.




Oisín Breen is a poet, part time academic in narratological complexity, and a financial journalist. Dublin born and bred, Breen spent the last decade living in Edinburgh, after a rip-roaring period that took in, amongst other things, the Middle East; a stint in a bizarre one-donkey town with excellent wine; and a total inability to properly fit a door onto a mountain. His debut collection, Flowers, all Sorts in Blossom, Figs, Berries, and Fruits, Forgotten was released last year by Hybrid press in Edinburgh (

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