By Sean O'Brien

The downlands, private under drizzle,
Hoard their woodcut oaks for those
Who own them, who are England.
Horse-commanding wheat-haired daughters
Natter down the gated lanes
Beneath a roof of hawthorns.
Mist admits them, phantom politesse.
You take the smugglers’ road beneath the fields,
Dead ground without the government,
And as you travel, wonder
What conspiracy this is
That needs a mask of leaves and rain
To find its right of way, and how
You know this hidden route so well.

From Sean O'Brien's Collected Poems.

As well as being an award-winning poet, Sean O'Brien is a critic, playwright, editor and novelist. 

Sean's second novel Once Again Assembled Here, published this week, is a dramatic evocation of time, place and a community closing ranks to conceal the truth. 

'This is a story about murder. I think I can safely tell it now, but it’s never possible to be quite sure, so the manuscript will go to a safe place – that is to you, for you to deal with as you see fit. Dispose of it if you think it wisest. I will not be around to comment on what you decide.'

>>>Start reading Once Again Assembled Here


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