I went walking with Rebecca
in Moanbaun Wood,
until I lost her.
People passing by
haven’t seen Rebecca
for half a year.
I miss her way
and talking to her.
The thing I loved about Rebecca
is that she was deaf
But I always felt
she could understand me.
She was great company
underneath the birds,
I saw she had her way of
We strolled in gardens,
went with Wordsworth
up the mountains.
I remember meeting Kierkegaard.
Rebecca Solnit spoke of the arrival
I have this niggling feeling
she’ll come back,
I’ve even made a resolution,
if she’s not willing to reappear,
I shall reappear her.
I’m not contemplating
separation or divorce,
she has too many children for that
I couldn’t possibly abandon them.
There’s a cabbage white
the roots of a spruce.
I spy cut logs, alongside
trunks stripped of branches,
and my dog run ahead.
If only Rebecca was here,
I would talk with her.
I would hold her, in my arms,
with fingers, holding tight,
with my tongue, ever so close to hers
There’s nothing like an intimate walk,
where, every few steps,
you get excited again.
Thrush sing at the thought of her,
where the stream flows
under beech trees,
where streaks of sunlight cut through.
I don’t think Rebecca’s there.
I think she’s still living with me,
and will again
welcome my friends to a wander in woods.
That’s Rebecca’s track record.
I didn’t have much of a life as a kid,
all I did was climb trees,
collect eggs from the hens,
make bows and arrows,
eat poison mushrooms
slam windows and kick football,
hook Berberis thorns to an arrow,
hit golf balls over the house.
There wasn’t much in my life,
I hadn’t anything else to do.
But now, with my own children,
I’m going to ride horses with them
I’m going to go to the cinema with them,
I’m going to get married with them.
They’re going to be close to me,
so close I won’t go anywhere without them.
They’re going to have an excited life,
they’re going to be so pleased
I want to be by their side.
They’re not going to have a childhood like I had.
I don’t know enough poets.
I’m not wondering whether poets write enough literary criticism, or study notes for creative writing students.
I’m asking myself which poet writes about Donald Trump, the decline of fish stocks, the discovery of new species on an island in Indonesia, and the like?
Do poets write crime novels, editorials for newspapers, even travel books?
Which poet is an undertaker – apart from Thomas Lynch?
I’m reading a book that’s out of date. “Can Poetry Matter?”
– essays on Poetry and American Culture” by Dana Gioia (a man).
I’m borrowing ideas he first shared in 1991.
I paraphrase what he said: the state of poetry in America is wretched.
Things have changed, Dana says recently. In the introduction to the 10th anniversary edition, he says things have got better. Poetry is no longer in the grip of an academic monopoly.
“There are now countless poetry festivals, book fairs, reading series, discussion groups, and conferences based in the community rather than the academy.”
I started writing poetry in 1995. I’m not steeped in the poetry of others.
I can’t judge what the poetry scene is like on this side of the Atlantic, let alone Ireland.
But I can do a bit of research.
Are Irish poets earning their living teaching poetry in educational institutions?
Who are the best known living Irish poets?
born 23 November 1941) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After leaving the Sorbonne in 1966 he worked his way through Canada and the United States. In 1968, while spending a year teaching English at Belfast High School, he published his first collection. He later taught in a school in Dublin and worked in London as a freelance journalist. He currently lives in Kinsale, Co. Cork
“born in Dublin 1955, moved to London. Returned to Dublin.
expelled for organising a protest march against the regime of the school. Outside school she was a member of a dance drama group, became involved in band culture and, around 1970, began to write lyrics. Gradually composing song lyrics would give way to writing poetry.
At Trinity College, Dublin, (1972–77) she studied English, History and Classical Civilization, taking five years to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree. This included one year off, spent travelling through Europe. While a student she was involved in street theatre and various kinds of performance.
After college she travelled again, spending long stretches in Greece, Germany, Scotland and England. She was offered a teaching fellowship at Eastern Washington Universitywhere she studied (1981–83) with James J. McAuley in a two-year programme which led to a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry. Gary Snyder and Carolyn Kizer were among the distinguished visiting writers to have a profound influence on her work and on her thought.
She returned to Dublin in the mid-eighties.
Meehan has also written poetry for film, for contemporary dance companies and for collaborations with visual artists; her poems have been put to music by songwriters (including Christy Moore) and composers.
The 2015 Poetry Competition ‘A Poem for Ireland’ shortlisted her 1991 poem ‘The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks’ in the final ten poems
born 1949 in Leeds, England – grew up in Belfast. While a teenager, Paulin joined the Trotskyist Socialist Labour League. He is a critic of film, music and literature. He lives in England, where he is the G. M. Young Lecturer in English Literature at Hertford College, Oxford.
born 1960 in Waterford, Ireland. He lives in Dublin. He was director of the Irish Writers’ Centre from 1991-2002, and editor of Poetry Ireland Review from 2003-7. He works as a freelance writer and translator. He lectures part-time at Trinity College Dublin.
born 1966 in Drogheda, Ireland. He was an industrial chemist. Director of Poetry Ireland, the national organisation for the support and promotion of poets and poetry from 2001 to 2013. He now lives in Harare, Zimbabwe with his wife and daughter. He works as a writer and editor.
born in Dublin in 1948, lives in Waterville, Co. Kerry. He works as an editor and has curated the anthology Voices at the World’s Edge: Irish Poets on Skellig Michael (Dedalus, 2010)
Rita Ann Higgins Higgins
“was Galway County’s Writer-in-Residence in 1987, Writer in Residence at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 1994–95, Writer in Residence for Offaly County Council in 1998–99. She was Green Honors Professor at Texas Christian University, in October 2000. Other awards include a Peadar O’Donnell Award in 1989, several Arts Council bursaries ‘Sunny Side Plucked’ was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She was made an honorary fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University November 2006” (Wiki)
John F Deane
Whom have I overlooked?
I’ll find about more of them when I have time (to be continued)
She was well enough to read and walk.
What exactly did she read? Lucretius wrote a lot.
Maybe he wrote about frogs dancing and herons at funerals?
I’ve heard it said Mary danced, out by a pond in her garden in Ohio.
She was natural, a youngster gestated by Mother Nature. With frogs and herons for siblings.
Mary saw the Roman’s sword in the beak of the heron that washed in her shining water.
After reading her poem, I know all this. As if I’m a biographer, historian, anthropologist, archaeologist, drinking tea in Café Beva.
I hope her friends danced in black at her funeral, the way she did after reading Lucretius.
Note (1) In 54 BC, Cicero said: “The poems of Lucretius exhibit many flashes of genius, and yet show great mastership.”
Note (2) You’ll find “AFTER READING LUCRETIUS, I GO TO THE POND” in the slim collection “Blue Horse” (2014) by Mary Oliver RIP
Not everyone strives to change the world
and leave it fit for children
You found this on your travels abroad
and when you looked around.
Not everyone cares enough to cry
when others squirm from hunger
You found this as you walked the streets
with ice-cream in your hand.
Not everyone cares we lost the dodo
and barbary lions are gone
You found this as you missed the cod
and oysters in the wild
Not everyone cares the sun will shrink
and Earth will die from heat
You found this as you picked plastic
and chucked it in the bin.
Not everyone fails to give a damn
and walks the other way
You met him on the television
thank goodness for that man.
“Shall I give her a name,
or leave her alone
with the name her parents wrote?”
To me, she is The Robbin,
a paintbrush for travellers,
a studio on two vastless legs
of berry-blood & mineral shavings
that stand inland
from the coast of north California,
This is a still life.
An abstract painting
that deserves more details
Let me put a cat
– I call her The Molly Cat –
in the bottom left-hand corner,
next to The Book of Rilke,
the way Vermeer
placed his Geographer’s Globe
by latticed glass.
Today, I’m shoving a glistening damp canvas
out of the way
into the background
to show my subject’s still alive.
There’s more to this work of art.
This unfinished symphony
This half-arsed hommage
To My Robbin …
Note: The photo was taken by California painter and studio artist. Robbin T. Milne Dancing Denizens: In Search of Enki, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 60″x82″