Monday, December 11, 2017


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 today.

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 rests.

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 years? 

Botanic Gardens, Belfast

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.

Wishful Thinking ...

What a wishful idea
To write a book
With a novelty aspect
And facetious fun
Destined to bring
Enjoyment and pleasure
Relief from burdens
And stresses in life
Vitality and vivacity
Overflowing from words
With roguish parlance
And a comedic fervor
Dripping with witticism
And hilarious laughter
Delivered sublimely
Through a poetic tongue
Simply a fleeting notion
So wistfully far-flung.

My second choice is:

Calmly Composed....

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.

Third poem……

If I Were…. Childlike….

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.

available here

available here

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.

In San Francisco

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 coastline.

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...

Andalusia, Spain

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 Poets United?

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!


  1. How wonderful, Eileen, to read this update on your life and on your involvement with poetry. I really like your poem "Calmly Composed." I find it very relaxing to read, and it gives me a feeling of peacefulness. Your grandson is really growing. Where does the time go! Congratulations on writing a THIRD book, and I wish it great success. What a beautiful birthday celebration you must have had! What a lovely photo of you. I enjoyed reading of your travels, and I did not find it surprising that California is your favorite state. I really enjoy the ambience there. So glad you are back sharing poetry with us, Eileen.

    Sherry, thanks for this most enjoyable revisit!! It was a joy to read.

  2. Writing from this little boat to tell you, Eileen, how much I love these three poems you chose. Each is very different in style, and each reveals your evolution. Apparently, in your life and art Imagination is still "a best friend" though it may argue a bit. I am so glad you keep coming back to Poets United. And you, Sherry, I love this feature--you better never leave!

  3. LOL, you cant get rid of me! It is my pleasure and privilege to do these features, and it keeps me feeling productive. Eileen, thank you so much for this lovely update. It makes me happy to hear about your lovely life. How I would love to walk the Peak District with you. But here, vicariously, I did just that! WITH a cup of tea! Smiles.

  4. I am so grateful to have stopped by today. I feel as if I have traveled with Eileen, having known her since the beginning, and her friendship and support has been a blessing. I to love each of the poems shared, but I especially love the last one, "If I Were.....Childlike"! I am so glad you get to travel Eileen! I think that has enhanced your talent as a poet. I am planning on buying your first book and can't wait to read it. Thank you so much Sherry for a wonderful interview, and thank you to all of PU faithful chug boat drivers, for keeping this wonderful site alive....and Robert if you are reading....thank you to.

  5. Yes, a big thank you to Robb, who began this journey for us. We miss him and wish him well. Carrie, thank you, too, for your loyalty to Poets United. We are always so happy to see you when you stop by - the old gang. A big thanks to our current admin, Mary, and to the devoted staff who are quietly here, week by week, keeping this all going.

  6. A fascinating interview. You always find the perfect direction to take these 'chats' in, Sherry. Your travels are the stuff of dreams, Eileen, and your grandson sounds like a blessing and a joy. I've always enjoyed Eileen's poetry. Lovely pieces beautifully rendered with an appealing clarity that lifts them right off the page - with words like 'wishful idea' ... an expression I don't believe I've heard before and yet, totally relate to. Great job on this, Poets!

  7. Eileen had been one of the earliest to inspire when Hank came into Poets United. Glad to know more of you, Ma'am. Eileen is one who writes without prompts which is fantastic.


  8. A wonderful interview Eileen and Sherry. Enjoyed all your poems Eileen, specially Calmly Composed. Every line is soothing and breathing peace. And so lovely to see little Michael here :)

  9. How lovely to read of a life being so well lived, and to see the sparkle in the eyes of that lively and creative grandson! I too loved the poem of the childhood reminiscences best of all; it quite transported me. Many thanks, both Eileen and Sherry. (And I am very glad to be one of the 'chug boat drivers' – thank you, Carrie! – with such excellent co-drivers who all help each other navigate with ease, and take the boat to such interesting places.)

  10. Oh Sherry this was wonderful to get to know Eileen a bit more....i was sorry to hear about your first blog content Eileen. And I loved your Twitter poetry idea....I have yet to go there but that may be a great way to do it.

  11. So good to get to know you a little more Eileen

  12. It is always a delight to meet up with fellow poets Eileen, especially a Pom (Northern Ireland version), being one myself from Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex in the south over 50 years ago. How deep and meaningful your poetry is which shows up so well in "If I were...childlike". Thank you both for another great interview.

  13. I absolutely luv 'If I Were…. Childlike….'
    Thanks Sherry for sharing Eileen up close with us

    much love...

  14. Wonderful interview! I’m a long time fan of Eileen and its always great to get to know her more!! Thanks Eileen for sharing your story with us.
    Thank you Sherry for another lovely interview!

  15. Hi Eileen, how nice to see you here. "if I Were . . . Childlike" is a wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing some of your life with us. Adorable grandson!
    Sherry, thanks for another excellent interview.


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