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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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DENNIS O'DRISCOLL

 

 

Dennis O'Driscoll

Dennis O’Driscoll’s many books include New and Selected Poems (Anvil, 2004) and The Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations (Bloodaxe, 2006). Troubled Thoughts, Majestic Dreams (Gallery Press), a selection of essays and reviews, appeared in 2001 and Stepping Stones (Faber & Faber), his interviews with Seamus Heaney, in 2008. Among his awards are a Lannan Literary Award in 1999, the 2005 E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2006 O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the Center for Irish Studies (Minnesota), and the Argosy Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award. A member of Aosdána, the Irish academy of artists, he worked for almost forty years as a civil servant. His latest collection of poems, Reality Check (Anvil Press), was published in 2007; a new collection, Dear Life, is scheduled for publication in May 2012.

 


_____

 

Canute

Kitchen

 

 

_____

 

 

 

Canute

 

 

I rush to bring this incoming seawater to heel

 

to check a new wave of aggression

          warn formally against excessive force

decree that the ocean should sign and seal  

          with its inimitable blue flourish a binding protocol

on the territorial limits of its influence

 

I venture to take the waters by storm

          restraining their worst instincts

for conquest the destructive tendency they'd shown

          in pulverising strands with centuries

of foaming foul-mouthed pounding

 

the time has come to put a marker down

          stand firm against this restless 

viscous trembling mess too long pandered to

          that slithers past my boundary walls

with brine-borne contraband

 

meltwater clear though my demands are

          insurgent waves still pillage

mustering superior forces for invasion

          I will maintain my singleminded vigil

curb spillage that seeks more than its own level

 

and spells bad tidings for whatever dry land may remain

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

Kitchen

 

 

Which of you idiots forgot

to switch the sun off?

 

Now all hell

is breaking loose.

 

The salted water has boiled over.

The corn is scorched.

 

The desiccated lettuces

have lost their sheen.

 

The runner beans are

overdone and must be

 

chucked out on

the compost heap.

 

 

 

©2012 Dennis O'Driscoll

 

Author Links

 

Dennis O'Driscoll home page

Dennis O'Driscoll at Anvil Press

Extended bio and poems at Poetry International Web

 

 

 

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