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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

Editor: Matthew Sweeney

 

 

Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan

 

 

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Done Dating DJs
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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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PATRICK MORAN

 

Patrick Moran

Patrick Moran was born in Templetuohy, County Tipperary, where he still lives. He works as a post-primary teacher.

He has won the Gerard Manley Hopkins Poetry Prize; he has also been a winner at Listowel Writers’ Week and the 2008 Éist Poetry Competition. In 1990, he was shortlisted for the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune Poetry Award.

His poems have appeared widely in the major Irish outlets: Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, Cyphers, The Honest Ulsterman, Cork Literary Review, THE SHOp, Irish Pages and The Stinging Fly. His work is featured in anthologies, including the inaugural Forward Book of Poetry (UK), The Stony Thursday Book and The Best of Irish Poetry 2007.

Patrick Moran has published two collections of poetry: The Stubble Fields (Dedalus Press 2001) and Green (Salmon Poetry 2008).

 

 

Interiors, with Emigrant Irish

 

Camden, Kilburn, Cricklewood

Once, many pubs; now, few:

a mouth of gapped teeth.

 

Evenings, I shuffle here,

and sit in drifting smoke,

amid froth-ringed glasses;

 

listening to men bursting

into drunken singing:

Far away from the land

 

of the shamrock and heather,

in search of a living

as exiles we roam.

 

While the notes rise and fall,

I start unravelling,

all my ties are shaken…

 

Closing time. Darkening

interiors. The old cry:

Have ye no homes to go to?

 

Outside, shops shut. Shuttered.

Rumbling, fuming traffic.

Round corners, wind pouncing.

 

Turning the key, I grope

for the bare mattress, the last

uplifting, numbing swig.

 

                   *

 

So what have I become?

Look at this place. No heat.

No water. Shadows, dust.

 

My bed, that sagging couch.

One bare, broken window.

Rows of empty beer cans.

 

Oh, I’ve had time enough

to mull over the ifs

and buts. Yet it’s too late

 

to seek shape or outlet

for my downward drift.

And what is left to me?

 

Memories as worn as

this lino, persistent         

as the rats scratching

 

in the dark…Going back

down the streets of Camden,

Kilburn and Cricklewood.

 

Recalling home. Sowing.

June meadows. Blighted spuds.

The bells of Angelus.

 

                   *

 

So there we are, fresh

off the boat from Ireland

in our Sunday-best: suit,

 

tie, shirt spotlessly white,

full heads of hair oiled back,

our shoes a sober black;

 

mumbling the names – Camden,

Kilburn and Cricklewood

as if in litany…

 

After a day shovelling,

digging, hod-carrying,

to step out of the van

 

hungry, tired, maybe wet;

and straight into the pub.

A fire, familiar

 

accents and flows of booze,

eyes brightening with laughter.

The rows of gleaming teeth.

 

To set out again

for the dancehall’s throb and hum.

Neon lights flashing; beckoning

 

towards a dream-haze of girls.

Life pulsing through us, without

shadow or hangover.

 

©2010 Patrick Moran

 

 

Author Links

Green (including poem & review) on the Salmon Publishing website

Video of Moran reading at the White House, Limerick

Moran poem in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review

 

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