Paul Durcan Life is a Dream - Durcan Life is a Dream 40 Years Reading Poems 1967-2007 Harvill Seeker LONDON

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  • Paul Durcan

    Life is a Dream40 Years Reading Poems

    1967-2007

    Harvill SeekerLONDON

  • Contents

    Foreword xixAcknowledgements xx

    ENDSVILLE (1967)

    The White Window 3

    O WESTPORT IN THE LIGHT OF ASIA MINOR (1975)

    Nessa 7Gate 8 8On a BEA Trident Jet 9Hymn to Nessa 9Le Bal 10O Westport in the Light of Asia Minor 10Phoenix Park Vespers 12In the Springtime of Her Life My Love Cut Off Her Hair 13The Daughters Singing to Their Father 14The Nun's Bath 14Combe Florey 15Please Stay in the Family, Clovis 15Black Sister 16November 30, 1967 17They Say the Butterfly is the Hardest Stroke 17La Terre des Hommes 18Aughawall Graveyard 18Ireland 1972 18The Girl with the Keys to Pearse's Cottage 18Dun Chaoin 19The Day of the Starter 20The Limerickman that Went to the Bad 20The Night They Murdered Boyle Somerville 21Tribute to a Reporter in Belfast, 1974 22Letter to Ben, 1972 23

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  • TERESA'S BAR (1976)

    The Difficulty that is MarriageShe Mends an Ancient WirelessTwo in a BoatAnna SwantonWife Who Smashed Television Gets JailTeresa's BarPolycarpLord MayoThe Drover's Path MurderBefore the Celtic YokeWhat is a Protestant, Daddy?The Weeping Headstones of the Isaac BeckettsIn Memory of Those Murdered in the Dublin Massacre,

    May 1974Mr NewspapersThe BakerThe Archbishop Dreams of the Harlot of RathkealeThe Friary Golf ClubThe Hat FactoryThe Crown of WidowhoodProtestant Old Folks' Coach Tour of the Ring of KerryGoodbye TipperaryThe Kilfenora Teaboy

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    SAM'S CROSS (1978)

    Birth of a Coachman 51The Brother 52Fermoy Calling Moscow 52Memoirs of a Fallen Blackbird 53The Lovely Old Pair of Kilmallock 54The Pregnant.Proprietress of the Fish and Chipper 54Parents 55She Transforms the Ruins into a Winter Palace 55Micheal Mac Liammoir 56Lament for Cearbhall 6 Dalaigh 57The Butterfly Collector of Cofofin 59The Death of Constance Purfield 60The Head Transplant 61

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  • Poetry, a Natural Thing 62The Bus Driver 63Playing Croquet with Fionnuala on the Alpine Lawn 63Backside to the Wind 64Going Home to Mayo, Winter, 1949 66Fat Molly ' 67Making Love Outside Aras an Uachtarain 68The County Engineer 69The Ballet Dancer 70Sister Agnes Writes to Her Beloved Mother 70Ireland 1977 71Irish Hierarchy Bans Colour Photography 71The Married Man Who Fell in Love with a Semi-State

    Body 73Two History Professors Found Guilty of Murder 74In Memory: The Miami Showband Massacred 31 July 1975 75National Day of Mourning for Twelve Protestants 76Margaret Thatcher Joins IRA 77

    JESUS, BREAK HIS FALL (1980)

    Spitting the Pips Out with the College Lecturer inPhilosophy 81

    The Hole, Spring, 1980 82Little Old Ladies Also Can Write Poems Such as This Poem

    Written in Widow's Blood in a Rented Top-Storey Roomin Downtown Cork 83

    The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious 84The Boy Who Was Conceived in the Leithreas 85The Drimoleague Blues 86The Anatomy of Divorce by Joe Commonwealth 87That Propeller I Left in Bilbao 87On Buying a New Pair of Chains for Her Husband 89The Man Whose Name Was Tom-and-Ann 89Tullynoe: Tete-a-Tete in the Parish Priest's Parlour 90En Famille, 1979 91Madman 91Sally 91The Daughter Finds Her Father Dead 91This Week the Court is Sleeping in Loughrea 93Charlie's Mother 94

    ix

  • For My Lord Tennyson I Shall Lay Down My Life 95Hopping Round Knock Shrine in the Falling Rain, 1958 96Mr Goldsmith, My Father's Friend 97

    JUMPING T H E TRAIN TRACKS WITH ANGELA (1983)

    The Woman Who Keeps Her Breasts in the Back Garden 101Interview for a Job 101Going Home to Meet Sylvia 102Papua, New Guinea 103Michelangelo Road 104Old Lady, Middle Parish 104The Rose of Blackpool 106The Night They Put John Lennon Down 108The Crucifixion Circus, Good Friday, Paris, 1981 109

    THE BERLIN WALL CAFE (1985)

    The Haulier's Wife Meets Jesus on the Road Near Moone 11710.30 a.m. Mass, 16 June 1985 121High-Speed Car Wash 123The Day Kerry Became Dublin 124The Man with Five Penises 124Bewley's Oriental Cafe, Westmoreland Street 125The National Gallery Restaurant 126Man Smoking a Cigarette in the Barcelona Metro 127Bob Dylan Concert at Slane, 1984 128The Cabinet Table 129The Feast of St Brigid, Friday the First of February 1985 130

    Hymn to a Broken Marriage 132"Windfall", 8 Parnell Hill, Cork 132The Jewish Bride 136Around the Corner from Francis Bacon 137Raymond of the Rooftops 139The Pieta's Over 140Wives May Be Coveted But Not by Their Husbands 141The Turkish Carpet . 142

  • The Berlin Wall Cafe 142The Marriage Contract 144At the Funeral of the Marriage 145On Falling in Love with a Salesman in a Shoe Shop 146The Vision of St Hubert 147

    GOING H O M E T O RUSSIA (1987)

    The Rape of Europa 151The Poetry Reading Last Night in the Royal Hibernian Hotel 152Cardinal Dies of Heart Attack in Dublin Brothel 154What Shall I Wear, Darling, to The Great Hunger? 154The Late Mr Charles Lynch Digresses 155The Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1986 156The Divorce Referendum, Ireland, 1986 157El Flight 106: New York-Dublin 158A Vision of Africa on the Coast of Kerry 160Martha's Wall 160Doris Fashions 161The Hay-Carrier 162Six Nuns Die in Convent Inferno 163

    The Beckett at the Gate 168

    Peredelkino: at the Grave of Pasternak 175Diarrhoea Attack at Party Headquarters in Leningrad 178The Red Arrow 179Bringing Home the Watermelon from Samarkand 180Zina in Murmansk 181Estonian Farewell, 1983 182The Return of Solzhenitsyn 183The Fairy Tale of 1937 183Trauma Junction 185Hymn to My Father 185The Woman with the Keys to Stalin's House 186Going Home to Russia 187John Field's Dressing Gown with Onion Domes and Spires 191

    xi

  • John Field Visits His Seventy-Eight-Year-Old WidowedMother 194

    DADDY, DADDY (1990)

    The Centre of the UniverseFelicity in TurinHo Chi MinhThe Deep Supermarket, Next Door to Ajay'sTullamore Poetry RecitalMember of the European ParliamentPutney GarageSeamus Heaney's Fiftieth BirthdayThe Death of the Ayatollah KhomeiniLoosestrife in BallyferriterThe Sign of PeaceLord United Ireland, Christmas 1989PaulThe Christies Foxhunters Chase over Three Miles and Two

    FurlongsHommage a CezanneSelf-Portrait, Nude with Steering WheelPhyllis GoldbergThe Dream of LifeReading Primo Levi by the Family Fireside at Evening

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    Nights in the Gardens of Clare 223

    The One-Armed Crucifixion 231Study of a Figure in a Landscape, 1952 231Fjord 233The Persian Gulf 233Crinkle, Near Birr 235Life-Saving 237Ulysses 238Sport 241Apartheid 242

    xii

  • Stellar Manipulator 243Bare Feet 245The Mayo Accent 247Dovecote 247Micky Donnelly's Hat 249Antwerp, 1984 250The Two Little Boys at the Back of the Bus 252Poem Not Beginning with a Line by Pindar 254Geronimo 255"The Dream in the Peasant's Bent Shoulders" 259Cot 260Glocca Morra 261Mortuary 263Bank Clerk 265Kierkegaard's Morning Walk in Copenhagen 268Chips 269The Repentant Peter 270Our Father 271

    CRAZY ABOUT WOMEN (1991)

    The Virgin and Child 277The Separation of the Apostles 278The Holy Family with St John 280The Veneration of the Eucharist 281The Levite and His Concubine at Gibeah 283The Riding School 285The Dilettanti 286Bishop Robert Clayton and His Wife Katherine 287Joseph Leeson 289The Earl of Bellamont 289Mrs Congreve with Her Children 291Marguerite in Church , 292Boy Eating Cherries 293Man Walking the Stairs 293Draughts 297In the Tram 298Flower Girl, Dublin 300Grief 302

    xin

  • A SNAIL IN MY PRIME (1993)

    My Beloved Compares Herself to a Pint of Stout 307A Spin in the Rain with Seamus Heaney 308Faith Healer 310The Toll Bridge 313My Daughter Siabhra in Moscow, 19 August 1991 317Father's Day, 21 June 1992 318A Cold Wind Blew in from Lake Geneva 320A Snail in My Prime 322

    GIVE ME YOUR HAND (1994)

    The Adoration of the Kings 327The Presentation in the Temple 33l

    The Arnolfini Marriage 333The Death of Actaeon 334Samson and Delilah I 336Cardinal Richelieu 337The Rokeby Venus 338Mr and Mrs Andrews 339Exhibition of a Rhinoceros in Venice 340The Painter's Daughters Chasing a Butterfly 341General Sir Banastre Tarleton 343A Cornfield with Cypresses 344Portrait of Greta Moll 346Leisure 348The Mantelpiece 349

    A GOOSE IN THE FROST (1995)

    A Goose in the Frost 353

    CHRISTMAS DAY (1996)

    from Christmas Day 359

    GREETINGS TO OUR FRIENDS IN BRAZIL (1999)

    Greetings to Our Friends in Brazil 367Recife Children's Project, 10 June 1995 375Self-Portrait '95 376

    xiv

  • The Last Shuttle to RioSamambaiaThe Geography of Elizabeth BishopThe Daring Middle-Aged Man on the Flying TrapezeJack LynchThe Chicago Waterstone'sRemote ControlDirty Day DerryIsland Musician Going HomeThistlesOctober Break (Lovers)Man Circling His Woman's SundialThe Only Isaiah Berlin of the Western WorldKaramazov in RingsendNotes Towards a Necessary SuicidePaddy DwyerCissy Young'sTea-Drinking with the GodsAshplant, New Year's Eve, 1996We Believe in HurlingSurely My God is KavanaghOn First Hearing News of Patrick KavanaghWaterloo RoadPatrick Kavanagh at Tarry Flynn, the Abbey Theatre, 1967The King of CatsThe Stoning of Francis StuartDancing with Brian FrielAt the Funeral Mass in Tang and the Burial Afterwards in

    Shrule of Dr Hugh M. DrummondMother in AprilThe Bloomsday Murders, 16 June 1997Rainy Day Doorway, Poyntzpass, 6 March 1998North and SouthPolitics56 Ken Saro-Wiwa ParkMohangi's IslandTravel Anguish

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    Omagh 439

    xv