Sean O'Brien

Image by Caroline Forbes

Essay on Snow

We have been here before, but not often.
With the blue snow lying on the shaded roofs
And the city beyond them
Lying open, miles of it, with no one there -

Untrodden parks and freezing underpasses.
The statuary anonymous, the cobbled chares
Like streams of blackened ice.
There is a bird somewhere. Its voice

Is like chipping an icicle,
Damping the note, then trying again.
We have lived in the wrong place forever,
But now we can see what we meant.

The blue snow-shade behind the house.
The abandoned allotment, the shed,
The rags of willowherb, the one-note
Samba of the bird inside the ice.

from Cousin Coat (Picador, 2002), copyright © Sean O'Brien 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher


Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien Reading from his Poems

1The Amateur God

2In a Military Archive

3Cousin Coat


5HMS Glasshouse

6Working on the Railway


8Ballad of the Lit and Phil

9After Laforgue


11Special Train


13Essay on Snow

14Reading Stevens in the Bath

15Welcome, Major Poet


17Songs from the Black Path, I, III


19Songs from the Drowned Book I, V


21Postcards to the Rain God (an extract)

22The Thing

23After Rilke: To Holderlin

Books by Sean O'Brien