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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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Songs of Earth and Light

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DERMOT O'KEEFFE

 

 

 

Dermot O'KeeffeDermot O'Keeffe grew up in rural Northamptonshire in the English Midlands. His father came from The Nagle Mountains in north Cork and his mother from the Sheeffry Hills in Mayo. In his childhood he experienced farm-life in all three of these, very different, landscapes. Having read Philosophy at UCL, he went on to teach the subject for more than thirty years and was a visiting fellow at New College Oxford in the early nineties. He has published articles on mind, freedom, value and evil. His poetry has been published both in England and Ireland (The Moth, Warwick Words and Southword, more recently). He also paints, and travels widely in Ireland, France and Italy.

 


 

An Empiricist at Prayer

           "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?"- Tertullian

 

When Elvis himself dismissed you

Even though you have golden hair

And your eyes are O so blue

You must have been confounded.

After all, wasn’t this all he had asked of you?

         

I suppose he felt like Titus

On entering The Holy of Holies

To find nothing but an empty case inside,

Facing the choice of leaving it there

Or returning with it at the head

Of his Triumph in Rome,

Blushing, straight-faced.

         

I wish I were that kind of Jewish man

Who, when he sees you says he sees

No colours and no shapes at all:

Only your hair, your eyes.

And hears not the smallest sound

But your voice,

And feels nothing of your skin

Yet knows you’re there.

He doesn’t  taste your lips

But kisses you.

 

I would give my Athens

For his Jerusalem:

The love of wisdom is not itself wisdom,

But the wisdom of love is love.

 

 

©2014 Dermot O'Keeffe

 

 

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Warwick Words

Purchase The Moth Issue 14 containing poetry by Dermot O'Keeffe

 

 

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