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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Oisín Breen


The sheaves had been stooked by hand,

Grain cut, to keep lolling heads fresh for threshing,

Wheat, barley, and oats.


And I came here to rest,

Having left the manicured gardens,

Where I served my apprenticeship.


And I am here before the machines,

And their hunger,

Separating seed from stalk and husk.


I apprenticed – often weeping – under a damson tree,

And felt, each day, the morning,

As it broke into being in fitful tremors.


And now I kneel,

And though the soil is summer dry,

I am drinking river blood.


I came here to remember, but am unreconciled.

I am unrepentant, and find kinship only among the dead,

Among wheat, barley, and oats.


And today I spit memories of time-lambasted song,

And I howl at time, and its goliath, mesmeric faith,

Here, near the roadside, where labourers till the land.

A Palace of the Mind Made from Tin

I spend the bulk of my days tending my garden under tin roof,

Where a fractalizing floral pattern

Bursts from the thorns

I surround myself with

To count time’s rustling movement

In the leaping unsteady growth

Of pink cactus buds.


Yet I can not fault the juniper tree,

Growing at a 90 degree angle,

A mile from my home,

It huddles, like a group of children,

And reaches out to hold the sun between its stubby fingers,

All the while issuing its lazy collection of soft blue fruit,

Which I gather to make gin.


Yet I have built my survival on tin,

And I leer at the open space

It promises through its absence

And I dream of tin forests.

I dream of tin children, and tin fruit.

I dream of tin palaces, tin holidays, and tin skies.

And I fear the harsh judgement of the woods.


Oisín Breen is a 36-year-old poet, part-time academic in narratological complexity, and financial journalist. Dublin-born Breen’s debut collection, ‘Flowers, all sorts in blossom, figs, berries, and fruits, forgotten’ was released Mar. 2020 by Edinburgh’s Hybrid Press. Primarily a proponent of long-form style-orientated poetry infused with the philosophical, Breen has been published in a number of journals, including the Blue Nib, Books Ireland, the Seattle Star, Modern Literature, La Piccioletta Barca, Phantom Kangaroo, Permeable Barrier, the Bosphorus Review of Books, Disquiet, Universe, Mono, and Dreich magazine.

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