The piety and deep thoughtfulness of
Hopkins can be discerned in this intelligent interpretation of
the Victorian poet's work. Sean has successfully teased out meaning
and nuance. He is clearly satiated in the work, its spiritual
power, its beauty and the divine content of the poetry - mysteries
that still have the power to enrapture us in this less Godly age.
O'Leary has brought the spirit of these poems alive and found
the hidden song within.
In the darker and more mysterious ballads, there is an approach
to Hopkins' work that I particularly respond to, it is conspiratorial
and private; the beat moves gently and sympathetically with Hopkins'
text and does not overwhelm it or set boundaries to the mysterious
quality of the work.
In Sean O'Leary's The Alchemist there is a gritty determination,
a brave confronting of morality, of spiritual passion, of hope
and belief wrapped in Hopkins' luscious use of the English language.
It speaks as if from another age, like a parallel universe we
only sometimes glimpse, Hopkins' voice is here, and his words
call out and lead us on.