Today, my friends, we are catching up with one of Poets United's very first members, Eileen O'Neill, who writes at My Poetic Parlance. Eileen lives across the pond in Cheshire, England, a very beautiful landscape. Pour yourself a cup of Earl Grey tea, draw your chairs in close, and let's find out what Eileen has been up to recently.
Sherry: Eileen, we are so happy to be catching up with you. Our newer members will be most pleased to know more about you. We so appreciate your loyalty all these years, Eileen. You
are a very valued member of Poets United.
Eileen: Thank you so much, Sherry, for this wonderful opportunity to
refresh my connection with Poets United.
I have been a member from the
formation of Poets United by Robert Lloyd, back in 2010. It was a most
welcoming community of Poets back then, and still has that warmth of welcome
Sherry: Yes, I owe a great deal to Robb Lloyd for welcoming me to Poets United in 2010. What a journey it has been since then. Poets United opened the world of online poetry to me. Would you bring us up to date with your life since we last
spoke? I gather you have done some
traveling. And I have been watching your adorable grandson growing up on
facebook. Tell us about him, too, won’t you?
Sherry, since my last interview in 2012, many things have
changed. My original writing blog, Words and Thoughts, is now sadly
dormant, due to the infringement of my
blog site by an unscrupulous marketing company. My posted poems were stolen
and relocated to their marketing site. It was a very bad experience, which
caused me to start my present poetry blog: My Poetic Parlance
Sherry: I remember when that happened. It was horrifying, and frightening.
Eileen: During that time, I also set up a Twitter account @Eileenton
and found the idea of writing brief poems at a poetry interest site very
rewarding. Having to contain a poem within 140 characters encouraged me to
develop an extra style of poetic formation. My previous poetry compositions were
of varying lengths and, generally, a non-rhyming style.
My world has also changed so much, as I am grandmother to
Michael, who is now six years old. He is the darling of our family and has so
many joys to bring to us with every visit.
Michael has an amazing personality and endears himself to
everyone he meets. A little philosopher, artist, guitar player, singer,
footballer, lover of cars and a true adventurer of life.
His creative spirit is very much to the fore and it rarely
Sherry: He is adorable, Eileen - such a bright spirit! How he must brighten your lives.
Would you tell us a bit about growing up in Belfast? I know
your heart is always with what is going on there. Have you been back in recent
Eileen: I grew up in the south of Belfast city, where the university
is situated. It was a most wonderful area and, luckily, escaped the worst of the
situations which happened during that dreadful period of time, known as The Troubles.
It was still a time which destroyed many opportunities, taken for granted in
other places, unaffected by daily disturbances to freedom, quality of life and
the many ravages of murder and mayhem.
It forever be in my mind, but does not dominate my thinking, especially since
moving away from Belfast, to live elsewhere over twenty years ago.
Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland
Sherry: Ireland is very lovely, for sure. You live in a very beautiful area now, in Cheshire, England. I always love your photos. Would you tell us a bit about your life there?
Eileen: I have been living in Macclesfield , Cheshire for over twenty-three years. It has become my very settled home, since leaving Belfast.
Macclesfield is a market town and was home to the silk
weaving industry, back in previous times. It is situated in east Cheshire and is accessible to so many other areas of England, within a couple of hours. Manchester, Buxton, Sheffield, Liverpool,
Chester, Birmingham and London. Manchester International airport serves almost any
world destination, thirty minutes from my home.
Macclesfield Canal and Clarence Mill
I am surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in the world,
as I live on the edge of The Peak District National Park. An area swaddled by hills,
plains, rivers and miles of walking, rambling and sightseeing. Outstanding
beauty is a fitting description.
In some ways Sherry, it seems to have much of the beauty and
the wildness of your home area in British Columbia, Canada.
The Peak District, Cheshire
As a poet, inspiration abounds all around me here and in beautiful
Derbyshire, which adjoins Cheshire, ten minutes from my door.
Sherry: We poets are fortunate when we live in such beautiful landscapes. I believe the scenery informs many of our poems.
Would you like to share three of your poems with us?
Eileen: The first poem I shall share here is called Wishful Thinking. I have chosen it for its upbeat and encouraging time, as a
novice poet back in 2009.
Within the stillness of the night,
There is less to stress the thoughts.
Calmly evolving and presenting as notions,
Enjoying the freedom of the silence.
Tasting that sense of accomplishment.
From the first twinkle of clear thought,
My soundless, silent soliloquy.
Patiently composed and assembled
Created in the stilly hours of darkness,
Emerging later towards fruition,
The morning light and warmth of words,
Lauding the gift of this day of life itself.
Country roses would still garland the doorways,
Crisp cotton dresses would still look neat and cool.
Every day another dreamy adventure just arrived,
Summer evenings allowed playtime to never end.
Imagination was a best friend who never argued,
Simplicity enjoyed Christmas and birthdays better.
The give-me-now had not been invented back then,
Enjoyment was easily purchased and appreciated.
Yet childhood shielded so much of harsh reality,
Mayhem and murder were foreign and very far away.
The radio told the stories which could be moderated,
No images to upset or to impact on the idyll of life.
Belief saw only goodness while looking with childish eyes,
The truth hid its nasty words spat behind silent whispers.
Love always hugged everyone with relative frequency,
The foibles and the cracks were not glimpsed at first.
Realisation hits hard with its eventual unfeigned impact,
Naivety wrapped and sheltered within childlike innocence.
Sherry: Thank you, Eileen, for sharing these very beautiful poems with us. I love the photo of Michael on that big old turtle.
You have two books out and are working on a third, I understand. How is it coming along?
Eileen: My third book is slowly coming
together and will hopefully have a release date in Spring 2018. It is going to
be a very different style and is an interesting project at the moment.
Sherry: That sounds very intriguing! We look forward to its publication. I know you have traveled to some
wonderful places. Would you like to tell us about a trip that was extra special?
Eileen: I have been so lucky to have spent
most of the past ten years travelling to destinations in the United States of
America and Europe.
Without a doubt, California is my most
favourite US state. I don't believe it
would ever be possible to grow bored in the midst of that state, and its Pacific
I also fell in love with the island of
Nantucket, after a visit to Boston..and Chicago. My favourite music sounds so
much better in the city of the Blues and the Kingston Mines Club.
In France, Switzerland and Spain, I
have found many inspirational corners where it's possible to escape busy life
for an awe inspiring hideaway...
Sherry: You have been to some wondrous places. You had a birthday recently and your
husband surprised you with a little trip. Would you like to tell us where he
swept you off to?
Eileen: I had a birthday a few weeks ago and
had a lovely unexpected stay in the city of Sheffield, not far from my home.
The nature of the surprise was wonderful
and fitted within our busy schedules at the moment.
Sherry: So lovely to be surprised on one's birthday.
Eileen: I am planning a holiday abroad in the
spring of 2018, to find sunshine!
Sherry: That sounds wonderful! When you aren’t writing, what other
activities do you enjoy, Eileen?
Eileen: I enjoy reading, music, my garden,
extensive travelling and precious time with my children and grandson.
Sherry: Is there anything you’d like to say to
Eileen: Poets United has been a most wonderful
home for me and my poems since 2010. I am indebted to the commitment of Mary, Susan, Rosemary, Sumana, and you, Sherry, for having
kept the good ethos and spirit of Poets United alive and thriving from those
very first days. It always feels like a place of familiarity. You can have been
absent; yet return as though ever-present.
Sherry: Yes, our little boat chugs along so reliably. We take joy in supporting the love of poetry.
Eileen: Thank you so much, Sherry. It has been
a delight to talk with you today.
Sherry: Thank you, Eileen, for graciously allowing us to catch up with you, in the middle of your busy, happy life.
Wasn't this a lovely visit, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!