The Offspring of the Moon
|John W. Sexton|
Page Count: 76
Publication Date: Monday, April 01, 2013
Cover Artwork: © Ludmila Korol. “Moon Wind”, 2001, Oil on Canvas by Ludmila Korol – www.ludmilakorol.com
About this Book
In the poems of The Offspring of the Moon, John W. Sexton speaks to a tradition deeply rooted in the Irish literary imagination: from the oral tales and myths of pre-Christian times, through the gothic horrors of Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker, to the early science-fictional romances of Fitz-James O'Brien and M. P. Shiel. These are poems of the altered mind, the cosmic journey, the daemons and totems of the spirit world, the subversion of logic and science.
More excitingly than any other poet presently writing in Ireland, Sexton thinks the world anew. His poems offer a unique, provocative adventure through a landscape surreal as a dream, lyrical and terrifying as a fairytale. Yet for all its absorbing forays into the visionary, his work remains anchored by a profound and often painful wisdom. Breathing the exotic into plainness, Sexton pushes back the flawed boundaries of ordinary life. He satisfies our desire for a world porous with imagination, potent with subconscious symbology readable on the surface of the quotidian like Braille.
Unquestionably Sexton has the visionary power and imaginative reach of writers such as H. G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Heinrich Hoffman and Edward Lear, but his most feverish scope for creative conjuring is matched by an equal and outstanding dedication to craft. Grace Wells (Contrary)
Sexton’s own sure hand with poetic craft is extraordinary, and he’s not afraid to put it to use, whether for delicate lyrics or for horror. Highly recommended. Dr. Suzette Haden Elgin (The Linguistics & Science Fiction Newsletter)
A lively and inventive poet. Books Ireland
A fine control of form and sureness of phrasing. Knute Skinner
Remarkable remintings of the dark fantasy inherent in much folktale and song and its abiding archetypal intrusion into our surface modernity in stress. Steve Sneyd (Data Dump #90)
John W. Sexton was born in 1958 and is the author of four previous poetry collections: The Prince’s Brief Career, Foreword by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, (Cairn Mountain Press, 1996), Shadows Bloom / Scáthanna Faoi Bhláth, a book of haiku with translations into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Doghouse, 2004), Vortex (Doghouse, 2005), and Petit Mal (Revival Press 2009).
He also created and wrote The Ivory Tower for RTE Radio 1, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes. His novels based on this series, The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed are both published by The O’Brien Press and have been translated into Italian and Serbian.
Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records.
He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem The Green Owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.
Read a sample from this book
We’re those lopsided puppets awkward
in motion through the air. Our wings
are fractured windows of pale glass looking
out, looking in, to nothing. Our hinged
and fragile stilts still work long after
we’ve miscarried them. You’ll see them
kicking in a young child’s hair. You call us
Ghost Needles. See us hovering over
the threshold of the porch. We’re the tailors
of the clothes you wear in your dreams,
the ones that fade on you the very moment
that morning’s light breaches the join
in the curtain. In the damaged rigging
of spiders’ webs we are discarded part,
spent fuselage; the subtle remains of night.
Then we rise again from the slumbering
grass, linger lazily at your door, silently
awaiting entry. We carry the dusk of autumn.
I rest on top of things, but am never
at rest. On the surface of lakes, the sea, even
the tepid water in a bucket, I am restless,
flittering about, always shifting. That’s the way
I am when you look me in the face, anytime
you can bear to look. I’ve come a long way
and can never really stop, am travelling further
yet. Wives lie out on their lawns, relishing my
touch, while their husbands stew in their own
sweat. Only women know the secret of me: to
lie perfectly still and let me accumulate on their
skin. And all those wives are mine, all of them
sitting out patiently soaking me in, none of them
jealous that I have them all, darkening under me.
The Way Back
That grey cat sleeps in the dusty spaces
of the moon’s face. She never stirs a limb
while the moon’s lit up, but only rises
on moonless nights. She is the starlight’s whim
and may be glimpsed as troubled waves through grass
or the sheen of ice on a distant pond.
Holding your gaze, her eyes as bland as glass,
she’ll mesmerize you till your heart’s beyond
the threshold of the living. In the hedge
you’ll awake, no thicker than a shadow.
You’ll die this way nine times nine to the edge
of disappearance. The next thing you’ll know
is you’re a kitten. You’ll climb the night’s stairs
as high as you want, your fur bright as stars.
Copyright © John W. Sexton 2013