How wild become the eyes!
How fine it is to learn!
That the beauty in the sky’s
Cold torch of perfect pearl,

Or in the trunk of the laburnum
With those swaying yellow leaves
That catch the glitter of the sun
And the power of its heat,

Can cure the truer parts—
Can pull the mortal thorn
Of worry from the heart.
So much love and wonder born

From the stars of lonely nights
And the quiet of their lights.



Kevin O’Keeffe was born & raised in Ireland but has spent the bulk of his adult life in America. A mathematician by trade, he writes poetry to relax and recalibrate. His work has been featured in the Page & Spine, the Delmarva Review, and the upcoming Anthology of best British and Irish poets from eye-wear publishing.

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4 Responses

  1. Peter Hartley

    Kevin – a wonderful poem to read out loud and very sonorous. Also technically interesting with the Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme and “off-width“ lines. V G

  2. Margaret Coats

    Most effective recalibration! First quatrain sets up the process, but doesn’t let the reader speed through, because one must think “What does he mean by ‘Cold torch of perfect pearl’?” After attention is re-set, there comes the warm quatrain with the expanded or “off-width” lines 5 and 7, then the calming effect described in lines 9-11, and a confirming comment in lines 12-14. I would make triplets of the last two stanzas, but your final couplet arrangement does draw attention to the Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme. Precise and enjoyable work.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    I would disagree with Margaret in that I thought the lines lacked definition. “What does he mean” tells the whole story. Does this poem mean anything at all? Or is it just a poet’s whimsy? It was pleasant enough, but at some point there should be a point.

    • Margaret Coats

      When I say O’Keeffe demands a slowdown for attention at “the sky’s/Cold torch of perfect pearl,” I mean he doesn’t use a trite, obvious way to say “moon.” That easy test at line 4 takes a few seconds to get the answer, and if you stop thinking right there, the recalibration that the poet says (in his bio) is one of his aims in writing, and that I described in an analysis longer than his quick lines–never happens. Evan also put you off track with the photo, which is good for lines 5-6, but stopped you from connecting the answer to the line 4 conundrum with the clear reference to the night sky in the final couplet.


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