Today is another Irish Poet. Dennis O’Driscoll. Poet, essayist, critic and editor. O’Driscoll was regarded as one of the best European poets of his time. Eileen Battersby considered O’Driscoll to be “the lyric equivalent” of William Trevor and a better poet by far than Raymond Carver.
Born – January 1, 1954 – Thurles, County Tipperary, Republic of Ireland.
Died – December 24, 2012 – Naas, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland
Awards: Lannan Literary Award for Poetry — E M Forster Award
Gerard Smyth regarded him as “one of poetry’s true champions” and certainly its most prodigious archivist. His book on Seamus Heaney is regarded as the definitive of the Nobel Laureate.
O’Driscoll was educated by the Christian Brothers and then studied Law at University College Dublin 1972-1975. After he finished his secondary education at age 16 years O’Driscoll had a job at Ireland’s office of the Revenue Commissioners the internal revenue and customs service, which specialized in “death duties” stamp duties and customs, he worked there for 30 years.
He lived in Naas, County Kildare until his sudden death. He was survived by his wife, poet Julie O’Callaghan, his Brothers and Sisters.
Time for sleep. Time for a nightcap of grave music,
a dark nocturne, a late quartet. a parting song,
bequeathed by the grave dead in perpetuity.
I catch a glance sometimes of my own dead at the window,
those whose traits I share: thin as moths, as matchsticks,
they stare into the haven of the warm room, eyes ablaze
It is Sunday a lifetime ago. A woman in a now-demolished house
sings Michael, Row the Boat Ashore as she sets down the bucket
with its smooth folds of drinking water…
The steadfast harvest moon out there, entangled in the willow’s
stringy hair, directs me home like T’ao Ch’ien: A caged bird
pines for its first forest, a salmon thirsts for its stream.
I hope you like it, I have to be honest its not quite to my taste.