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DERMOT HEALY

 

 

 

 

Dermot Healy by Dallan HealyDermot Healy was born in Westmeath in 1947. He has published novels, short stories, plays and an autobiography. His poetry includes The Ballyconnel Colours (Loughcrew, The Gallery Press, 1995); What the Hammer (The Gallery Press, 1998); The Reed Bed (The Gallery Press, 2001); and A Fool’s Errand (The Gallery Press, 2010). He starred in the film I Could Read the Sky (Artificial Eye, 2002, adapted by Nichola Bruce from the photographic novel by Timothy O’Grady and Steve Pyke). His awards include the Hennessy Award (1974 and 1976); the Tom Gallon Award (1983); the Encore Award (1995); and the AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award, 2002. He is a member of Aosdána and lives in County Sligo.

 

 

Photo © Dallan Healy

 

 

  The soul flew

 

1

 

                   The soul flew from the tree.

                   It went underground.

 

                   The curlews' cry

                   Was a fugue in the fog.

                  

                   All winter the tree

                   Stood in the dark

 

                   Soulless, till slowly

                   The branches went light

 

                   With the weight

                   Of man.

 

                   Then the first

                   Soul sang

 

                   Oh the little there is

                   Made many!

 

                   Sickness is a cat

                   Pulled through a sock!

 

                   Oh the little there is

                   Made many!,

 

                   As the first blues

                   Climbed the wild Hollyhock.

 

                             2

 

                   All the rumours ended

                   When the drowned man rose

                   In the reeds at Rosses.

                   At last the dog left the spot

         

                   And came home next morning

                   Shaking, then went to the house

                   Of a friend of his master

                   And lay down.

 

                   The only true witness

                   To what had really happened

                   He shed hair on the mat,

                   And ate the leavings

         

                   Of their first breakfast together

 

                             3

 

                   The car in front

                   Thats going slow

                   Means your car

                   Is going fast

 

                   Never mind

                   The time you lost,

                   Will be added on

                   When the future

                    With full lights on

 

                   Turns

                   Down a side road

                   Into the past

 

                            

 

                             4

                  

                   Death is only

                   a memory

 

                   of something

                   that happened you

 

                   when you were young …

 

                             5

 

                   And beneath us, in the clouds,

                   My mothers hair goes by

                            

                   Till there they are

                   All the aged

                  

                   Across the sky

                   Drawing the curtain.

 

                            

 

                             6

 

                   I lift out a notebook in Sligo

                   Sand from Australia hits the lino.

 

                            

 

                             7

 

                   There are three states of being

                   Those who have not arrived.

 

                   Those who are here.

                   And those who have gone ahead.

 

                   Meanwhile you wait your turn.

                   We meet at every street corner.

                  

                   One is arrogant,

                   One is meek,

 

                   And the third

                   Is always absurd.

 

                   We never speak of the thoughts

                   Going through our heads

 

                   As we go through

                   The preliminaries

 

                   Of the angry ritual

                   To find rest.

 

 

 

 

 

©2011 Dermot Healy

 

 

 

Author Links

 

Healy at the Gallery Press

Irish Writers Online listing on Healy

Interview with Healy in the Observer

 

 

 

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