Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Found myself back in my old home town Inchicore recently. Once I got back home I dug out “Inchicore Haiku” written in 1985 by Limerick poet Michael Hartnett. “Inchicore Haiku” is a collection of 87 haiku written in 1985. The haiku deal with the breakup of the poets marriage, his exile from Limerick, social injustice and finally acceptance of his lot. In 1975 Michael Hartnett’s collection “A Farewell to English” was published, after which he claimed he would no longer write in the English language. From then on Irish would be the language in which he would compose verse. “Inchicore Haiku” was his first work in ten years written in English. Below is a selection from “Inchicore Haiku”.

Now, in Inchicore
My cigarette-smoke rises –
Like lonesome pub talk

In the sad canal
My face and a broken wheel –
Debris of dead tribes

From St. Michael’s Church
The electric Angelus –
Another job gone.

I learnt the hard way
Acts of love can break a heart.
Seven white seagulls

Blackbird, robin, thrush?
I cannot place the singer.
Exile blunts the ear.

Dying in exile.
To die without a people
Is the real death.

Joe- I have never heard of Hartnett, but now I want to read ALL of these haikus, I feel a visit to amazon.com coming on. Thank you for posting them. #82 struck me particularly hard at this early morning hour.

I hope you are well.
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