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New poems by George Szirtes, Thomas McCarthy and Mark Fiddes following their visit to Dromineer

Friday, October 09, 2015

The poems, 'Lake' by George Szirtes, 'A Genteel Quarter Of Nenagh' by Thomas McCarthy and 'By Dromineer' by Mark Fiddes, have been reproduced here by kind permission of the poets

Thomas McCarthy has described George Szirtes as 'one of the most important poets writing in the English language today'.


Lake full of danger,
of dull light in close season,
of heavy eyelids.

Flat lake, full of ghosts,
long-memoried, unsilent,
harsh congregations.

All lakes are like this:
anonymous congregations
of those who face them.

Facing the smooth lake
we see the backs of our heads
facing a smooth lake.

Who are the people
facing the lake? Are those heads
ours? Is that our light?

Do our dreams look back
at our faces and see lakes
of smoothed-out danger?

The lake sits in us
looking out with its blank eyes
though we turn away.

Should we feed the lake
our dreams or what we call dreams
and let them founder?

Now the lake mutters
to itself. We can't hear it.
Let us lean closer.

Thomas McCarthy is one of of Ireland’s foremost poets. He is a member of Aosdána, was Assistant Director of European Capital of Culture 2005. 

He presented the Dromineer Literary Festival poetry evening, featuring George Szirtes, Pascale Petit and Billy Ramsell. He judged for the 2015 DLF poetry competition.


For my last years I will move to the genteel quarter
Of Nenagh; there, in a sun-drenched Summerhill Terrace
Of cut-stone doorways and less-than-modest fanlights,
I will write the twenty four sonnets that I shall place
At the gates of heaven. Some attentive daughter
Or visiting son will deliver hand-rolled cigarettes,
And maybe a wooden box of Fox’s cigars. My wife
Will continue her lifelong task of social reform,
But I, in all honesty, will have turned by then
My face to the frost-whitened orchard wall
Of Tipperary North. Truth is, a poet has but one life
While a terrace in Nenagh has a multitude. Mr. Flinn
And Mrs Talbot, Miss Consedine, all the well-born
Of Borrisokane and Dromineer, will want to call
Each day after four, knowing from the clue
In my poetry, from labels mentioned year after year,
That here is a poet with more than one Premier Cru –
Ah! the best vintages in Nenagh, and no time to spare.

Mark Fiddes is 1st Prize Winner in the 2015 Dromineer Literary Festival poetry competition for his poem 'Ex.', judged by Thomas McCarthy

By Dromineer

We all walked these shores before,
lit our fires beside the milk tide.  
Today we are pilgrims with books 
instead of shells, yet un-shriven,
to feel the sway of the boatman
before he reaches the other side,
to the follow the glide of herons
crash-landing, wings akimbo
like a wild experiment in magic 
that always needs more proof,
to warm for a night before winter.
We all walked these shores before.