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By Sean Dunne
County Meath Ireland – The Gallery Press, 1996
ISBN: 1-85235-180-2
62 pages

Comments by Bob Corbett
April 2015

The opening poem of this collection, “Letter To Lisbon,” is a rather sad and touching poem. The male author is writing to a woman who has left Ireland and is living in Lisbon. He loves her very much but it seems fairly clear his love was not much returned. In a long set of five line stanzas he shares many memories of examples of his deep feelings, yet the lack of much response at all from her.

It was hard for this reader not to feel the sense of pain and loss in the narrator’s heart.

“Wishing For the Border” follows the same theme, memories of a lover. The poem creates a beautiful, simple, touching scene – a moment of time and memory.

“Still Lives” is a set of 6 tiny verbal pictures of past moments and it ends with yet another memory of his lost lover:

“I wake in the night and turn
To the cold that takes your place.
Above our skylight the stars
Make shapes that shine on you
In a far country. Among them, the moon
Grants us equal light.”

In “A Shrine for Lefcadio Hearne” I was so touched by the beauty of Dunne’s tribute for a writer I had never heard of that I hurried to my computer to reading about Hearne and to place him on my “authors to be read” list. Dunne’s tribute is so gentle, powerful, loving and intriguing that I’m already looking forward to read Hearne.

Perhaps the very last poem in this short collection is most telling of Dunne’s frequent modus operandi. It is, I believe, the longest poem in this collection, about 7 pages. He is writing to his lover who is not present. Each single thought is formed in a four line sentence or two. Each of these units is a separate thought, not much connected to the previous one or the following. Yet, they are all related in that he is away on this island where they’ve once been and each four line thought has to do with both their having been there and his now experiencing it. There is no other connection of thought to thought, yet the “collection” of these four line experiences add up to a coherent picture of the island itself and their own past experiences there. It never seemed to me it could really work, yet I think it did splendidly.

Over all I find Dunne’s poems in this volume to be quiet, soft, sad and touching. I will read more of his work.

Bob Corbett


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Bob Corbett