Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I've decided to introduce some culture to this blog, can't keep writing about politics the whole time. The following is a poem entitled "Death of an Irishwoman" by Michael Hartnett and it comes from his collection "A farewell to English". By way of explanation the title of the collection refers to the poets desire to cease writing in English and to continue writing in Irish his native language. Economic realities hit home and Michael Hartnett later returned to the English language as the conduit for his art. He translated from Gaelic into English the works of O'Brudair and Haicead.

In "Death of an Irishwoman" the poet uses the word "pucas". A puca is an Irish shape-shifter or else it is a ghost. The phrase "Dark faced men" refers to men who have evil on their mind. They are dark of heart.

Here then is the poem.

Death of an Irishwoman
by Michael Hartnett

Ignorant, in the sense
she ate monotonous food
and thought the world was flat,
and pagan, in the sense
she knew the things that moved
all night were neither dogs or cats
but pucas and darkfaced men
she nevertheless had fierce pride.
But sentenced in the end
to eat thin diminishing porridge
in a stone-cold kitchen
she clenched her brittle hands
around a world
she could not understand.
I loved her from the day she died.

She was a summer dance at the crossroads.
She was a cardgame where a nose was broken.
She was a song that nobody sings.
She was a house ransacked by soldiers.
She was a language seldom spoken.
She was a child's purse, full of useless things.

Hello there:
I remember vaguely...reading it somewhere that this poem by Hartnett was a response to Paul Durcan...and I wonder to what specifically...but cannot remember it precisely...
The "funny" (yet not so funny part of it, in my opinion) is the reification of the female figure for the country...
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Technorati Profile