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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

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Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
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Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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THOMAS McCARTHY

 

 

Thomas McCarthy poetry in Southword 18Originally from Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Thomas McCarthy now lives in Cork. He studied at UCC under the influence of Sean Lucy and John Montague; Sean Dunne and Theo Dorgan were fellow students. He received the Patrick Kavangh Award in 1977 for his first book and the American-Irish Foundation's Literary Award in 1984. His work includes Mr Dineen's Careful Parade (Anvil, 1999) and Merchant Prince (Anvil, 2005). In 2009, Anvil Press published McCarthy's The Last Geraldine Officer. Forthcoming in 2010 is his historical work on the burning of Cork's Carnegie Library & the rebuilding of its collections, Rising from the Ashes.

 

 

 

 

 

Shanghai Traffic

 

Morning traffic makes excuses at every changing light.

Now the whole world is jealous of Shanghai, humming

And hawing, purring and growling. One heart beats faster

As it runs the red, a double-decker bus screams with rage:

A spluttering of outrage, a fit of blue pique. There is only

One life, you fool, the conductor says, as he pummels

The green bonnet of something smaller than mankind.

This morning the whole world should be one Shanghai,

Quick-witted, light-footed, like the handsome young novelists

Having cocktails at the Glamour Bar, beautiful as Shanghai

That turns its proud head to foreigners, not caring a damn

As the fish rise in the canal seine-net, as the scholar turns

To split an atom.  I turn into the Nanking Road and find

A sheet of luminescent Venetian glass, colours of agave

And opal, texture of oriental cloth upon the window of morning,

Upon the face of my Lord Byron.  Traffic like this is worth it

Worth it to have so many humans in the nest of life together.

Though these are mostly the swollen lights and embarrassed tails

Of saloon and estate Fords, of aluminium grills, forgotten marques,

Stray Bentleys and garaged ZV plates. A mist of life,

An apron of colour, a human luminescence, levitates over

The asphalt of Shanghai. Here, the sin of the world is bleached

With business. It is history that the traffic circles round,

History that pulls the night-grill from its earth-lock and begins

To trade. Such morning traffic: here in Shanghai it teaches me

improvisations of perfect form, the beginnings of 

Yeatsean indigo, a shadow disturbed, the colour of beautiful.

 

 

 

©2010 Thomas McCarthy

 

 

Author Links

 

Interview and Readings by McCarthy at Podcasts.ie

'The Poetry of Thomas McCarthy' by August Kleinzahler

Bio and poems at Poetry International Web

 

 

 

 

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