Wednesday 5 February 2014

2 Poems by Tom Sheehan

A Sound in the Eye
This midnight’s as thick
as conspirators,
stars secreted
like listening devices
waiting for one breath
to find me out.

In the woodpile
I can’t see, a snake
settles where my hand
left a moment’s warmth
on a slanting of birch
plunging past white,

its coils
wound tight as bark.
Field mouse, beneath
owl’s infrared eyes
and sudden wing thump,
gathers into minutes.

The only flag
is pennant of skunk,
the tail-up streamer
recalling every vengeance
borne on mysteries
of abiding shadows.

High darkness
and a collective of agents,
are pierced by peephole
of a nail-head star,
deities’ confederate
beginning revelations.

Burial for Horsemen
(For my father, blind too early.)

The night we listened to Temujin’s life
on records, and shadows remembered
their routes up the railed stairway like
a steppe’s presence, I stood at your bed

counting the days you had conquered.
The bottlecap moon clattered into your
room in vagrant pieces…jagged blades
needing a strop or wheel for honing,

great spearhead chips pale in falling,
necks of smashed jars rasbora bright,
thin flaked edges tossing off the sun.
Under burden of the dread collection,

you sighed and turned in quilted repose
and rolled your hand in mine, searching
for lighting only found in your memory.
In moon’s toss I saw the network of your

brain struggling for my face the way you
last saw it, a piece of light falling under
the hooves of a thousand Mongol ponies,
night campsites riding upward in flames,

the steppe skyline coming legendary again.


Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry Regiment, Korea, 1951, and graduated from Boston College in 1956. His books are Epic Cures; Brief Cases, Short Spans; A Collection of Friends; From the Quickening; and This Rare Earth & Other Flights (poetry). He has 20 Pushcart nominations and 360 stories on Rope and Wire Magazine. His work has been published in Romania, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Thailand, China, Mexico, Canada, etc. Recent eBooks from Milspeak Publishers include Korean Echoes, 2011, nominated for a Distinguished Military Award and The Westering, 2012, nominated for a National Book Award. His newest eBooks, from Danse Macabre, are Murder at the Forum, an NHL mystery novel, and Death of a Lottery Foe, with two more mysteries due for 2013 publication, Death by Punishment and An Accountable Death.

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