Wednesday, March 28, 2012

471. Inennan

I want to hold you
but I cannot hold you …
not in front of a policeman
not when the lights are turning green
not when people are looking
not when your eyes are shining
not when a cough is coming
not when a war still rages
not when the climate changes
not when children are sad and hungry 

unless perhaps when it rains
and we can smile in one another’s eyes
and hide under a big umbrella 

but the people will bump into us
from before and behind and say,
move along, move along, move along!



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Friday, March 23, 2012

470. The Master

Last in, first out
Is what they used say
In the factories: the layoffs
Sensed before they happened.

And in Belfast, at H & W
Where they built the Titanic,
The Taigs would go first.
The natural order.

I think more and more
Of Louis MacNeice.
Of all the poets in the world,
He is the closest to my soul.

Protean, entirely unimpressed,
Shouldering the black guilt of Ulster
And simultaneously shrugging it off,
Every poem a new beginning.

Auden felt awe as his powers failed.
Spender more or less had given up.
Only Dylan Thomas ploughed on,
Sound-intoxicated, incomprehensible.

Larkin, I think, had little to say.
Heaney, Longley and Paul Muldoon
Owe Northern debts of gratitude,
As so, in my Southern way, do I.

A sample of MacNeice:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

469. Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Beannachtaí na Feile Padraig (Happy Saint Patrick's Day) to all my friends -- and to any enemies as well, what the hell! ... since it's not really any specific day any more a but an extended period every year in the middle of March when you get to thinking about the country and not just what it means to those of us who were born there but for all the people of Irish ancestry all over the world and for the people of any nationality or ethnic background who can tune into the music and the craic and get a sense of what this small country poised between Europe and America has come to add to the ongoing story of our human race, adding great moments of hilarity and good cheer in spite of a history that could have crushed any people less resilient: A pity beyond all telling, Yeats tells us, is hid in the heart of love.

Mary Black:   A Song for Ireland