A major new collection from one of Ireland's leading poets: moving, funny and wise.
I heard Paul Durcan speaking about this book and much more on RTE (Irish radio) last week which I can pick up on my radio here in Wales so very clearly - aren't I lucky?
Paul Durcan's twenty-second collection finds Monsieur le Poète on the road in Paris, New York City, Chicago, Brisbane and Achill Island meditating upon the sanctuary of home and what it means to feel truly at home.
Regarded by many as the great poet of contemporary Ireland, Durcan is on top form here as he contemplates the fall of the Celtic Tiger while railing against bankers and 'bonus boys'. There are poems of love lost and won and poems in memory of friends and relatives who have passed on but there is also joy to be found in the birth of a grandson and there is praise too for the modest heroism of truckers, air traffic controllers and nurses, those 'slim, sturdy, buxom nourishers' of fallen mankind. If for Sartre 'hell is other people', for Durcan 'heaven is other people, especially women.
Here is an excerpt: one of the poems which may resonate with you, it certainly does with me.
A grain of sand I am blown on to a
clump of heather and I see
alight large above me a butterfly
with black and orange stripes.
It’s Auntie Maureen aged ninety-four
smiling down upon me
and she is saying
‘While you were sleeping Paul, I died.
Isn’t it the most glorious morning!’”