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In welcoming An t-Uachtarain Michael D. Higgins, we wish him every blessing in the work which he will undertake in the coming years. He has come into his time. Recently at the launch of his New and Selected Poems he spoke with Des Kenny, also a poet. Three of Des’s poems A Day’s Trip to Ireland’s Eye, The Vocabulary of Yes and Palace of Dreams (this last, we reproduce below) will appear in the December, 2011 issue of Wordgathering, a US Journal of Disability Poetry produced by members of the Inglis House Poetry Workshop. The workshop is also affiliated with Dispoet, a blog for the discussion of disability and poetry. The Editor-in-chief is Michael Northen. You can get to the online poetry issues at www.wordgathering.com. President Michael D. Higgins’ New and Selected Poems is published by Liberty Press and can listened to at www.myspace.com/newandselectedpoems.
Palace of Dreams — Des Kenny
The radiators click to cool:
In the dormitory’s quiet,
The boys here from different parts,
Stir restlessly in dreams still alive
Although their faces are succumbed to dark:
Their distant homes are changed
For a collective in this state
Of cared for and being herded blind.
When they wake, hills will again shroud in mist
And fields enfold to fenced imagines
And far things disappear.
In dreams, donkey carts come and go to bogs
And other boys in these dreams hold the reins:
Sleep is here that collapsed banquet hall
From which Simonides escaped
To show how everything in time can know its place.
These boys dream of scenes nearly gone;
The cinematography of life
Reels out the brain’s cellulose of seeing:
Faces, places, exotic, banal,
Fade in and out of colour
To scenes of black and white with sepia tones
Until the end. For them sound-tracks alone will remain
Washed of colour in new dreams of remembered frames.
The second poem on this page is by Michael D. Higgins; it is accompanied by a small picture of the cover of his latest book.
When Will My Time Come — Michael D. Higgins
When will my time come for scenery
And will it be too late?
Decades ago I was never able
To get excited
About filling the lungs with ozone
On Salthill Prom.
And when the strangers
To whom I gave a lift
Spoke to me of the extraordinary
Light in the Western sky;
I often missed its changes.
And, later, when words were required
To intervene at the opening of Art Exhibitions,
It was not the same.
What is this tyranny of head that stifles
The eyes, the senses,
All play on the strings of the heart.
And, if there is a healing,
It is in the depth of a silence,
Whose plumbed depths require
A journey through realms of pain
That must be faced alone.
The hero, setting out,
Will meet an ally at a crucial moment.
But the journey home
Is mostly alone.
When my time comes
I will have made my journey
And through all my senses will explode
The evidence of light
And air and water, fire and earth.
I live for that moment.