Oonagh Lahr


When I was a teenager I was hooked on James Thompson’s long atheistic poem, The City of Dreadful Night, which I read in the Rationalist Press edition my father had given me. The frontispiece was Durer’s famous Melencolia that aptly illustrated my mood as I used to go around reciting the poem to myself with a fierce joy in its nihilism. But Durer’s Melencolia also led me to explore the rest of his work and after a while I had postcards of Durer’s paintings and engravings all over my bedroom wall.

As I explored Greek Mythology, I came to prefer the German master’s Apollo in the British Museum. By the time I came into the Sixties there were sunny intervals in my moods, which inspired me to inject into my translation of Paul Fleming’s Elsabe the entirely additional line, ‘the sun in your hand is mine’.

I am proud of my progression out of Melencolia into Durer’s blazing Sol.

Oonagh Lahr
London, 5 March 2005

A selection of 16 poems from


by Oonagh Lahr

Part I
Somewhat Bigger than Eros

Too Late for Eden
Divorced from Reality
After Cavafy
Hermia to Lysander
O My Dear Toothache
The Last Sonnet
Somewhat Bigger than Eros

Part II
Like a Meaning

Fir Tree
Her Majesty's Prison Holloway
The Advance on the Retreat
Like a Meaning
This Wooden O

This Wooden O includes forty-six poems by Oonagh Lahr.
The book was designed and published by Idea Fine Art, London,
in an edition of 100 copies signed by the author plus 10 printer's proofs.
A limited number of copies is available for purchase.

To buy, please email Idea Fine Art.

This Wooden O | Part I | Part II | Oonagh Lahr | Idea Fine Art

Illustrations: Dürer, Apollo & Diana c. 1500, Pen
Department of Prints & Drawings, The British Museum, London
All works copyright © Oonagh Lahr 2000 - 2010 All Rights Reserved Access reproduction rights for this publication of the ‘Apollo & Diana’ drawing by Durer are courtesy of The British Museum, London, United Kingdom