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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
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Done Dating DJs
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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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JOHN W. SEXTON

 

 

John W. Sexton in Southword Journal

John W. Sexton was born in 1958 and is the author of four poetry collections: The Prince’s Brief Career, Foreword by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, (Cairn Mountain Press, 1995), Shadows Bloom / Scáthanna Faoi Bhláth, a book of haiku with translations into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Doghouse, 2004), Vortex (Doghouse, 2005), and Petit Mal (Revival Press, 2009). He also created and wrote The Ivory Tower for RTÉ radio, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes from 1999 to 2002. He is also the blog poet Jack Brae Curtingstall. He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem The Green Owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. His fifth collection, The Offspring of the Moon, is due from Salmon Poetry in spring 2013.


 

 

 

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A Gethsemane for my Retarded Son

Inventor, 1899 - 1985

 

 

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A Gethsemane for my Retarded Son

 

 

Fifteen, he admires himself in the shed window.

In the stale reflective water of the rain barrel

he laughs out loud at how clever he is

to get inside such a thin space.

 

Cries out loud and shouts and shouts

when the photo of himself at six

(standing, smiling, beside the snowman)

just won’t let him back in no matter

how hard he head-butts against the picture.

 

In the porch-light a hedge spider

sways in the middle of its dewy wafer;

and I curse at the callousness of the thin place

that made my son think himself so smart

then locked him out until he hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

_____

 

 

 

Inventor, 1899 - 1985

 

 

Biro, immortal in every biro,

dreams from a scribble in the margin, sulks

in grills of hatch marks, the change-of-mind o

in a noughts-and-crosses game; unkempt, skulks

in the bodies of a stick family,

his mind a lopsided house, its windows

curtained with scrawl. He’s also the starry

sky, the stars, the moon, every ebb and flow

in the shopping list: toilet rolls, razors,

bleach, custard powder, milk, cat food, pencils.

Hungarian; four-thousand-eight-hundred-

and-sixty-eighth entry in my diction-

ary; dead; immortal in every pen;

full, dried-up, re-filled again and again.

 

 

©2012 John W. Sexton

 

 

Author Links

 

Review of Petit Mal by Grace Wells in Contrary

'Another Anonymous Poet': featured essay at Poetry Ireland

More by Sexton in Southword

 

 

 

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