Derek Mahon

Hey Guys,

Welcome to #2 of WrittenWisdomWednesday, I know it’s late but it’s here. Today, I want to acknowledge one of the first poets that I ever fell in love with, Derek Mahon. I studied him for my Leaving Cert, before that I had no interest in poetry. To me it seemed like flowery nonsense about love and obsession, ” You are the sun, the moon blah blah blah.” Although I believe that love is possible, I’m a realist and the dramatic nature of what I thought most poems and their proclamations of love were was unrelatable, especially for a young girl who has never been in any relationship. Also the long winded and multiple adjectives that all meant the same, quite frankly made me roll my eyes.

Derek Mahon’s was different. Simple. Easy. Accessible and Grounded in the real world. It simplicity made it stick but although it was everyday words that everyone uses, he had a unique feature, he gave the villains of history a voice. Sometimes we as humans are so fixated on the Superhero Marvel movie of good vs evil, that we are harsh. Mahon made us sympathise with those labeled “bad”, which is a quality that it rare. He was my first inspiration and this is the first of his poems that I studied :

After the Titanic
   They said I got away in a boat
And humbled me at the inquiry. I tell you
     I sank as far that night as any
Hero. As I sat shivering on the dark water
     I turned to ice to hear my costly
Life go thundering down in a pandemonium of
     Prams, pianos, sideboards, winches,
Boilers bursting and shredded ragtime. Now I hide
     In a lonely house behind the sea
Where the tide leaves broken toys and hatboxes
     Silently at my door. The showers of
April, flowers of May mean nothing to me, nor the
     Late light of June, when my gardener
Describes to strangers how the old man stays in bed
     On seaward mornings after nights of
Wind, takes his cocaine and will see no one. Then it is
     I drown again with all those dim
Lost faces I never understood, my poor soul
     Screams out in the starlight, heart
Breaks loose and rolls down like a stone.
     Include me in your lamentations.

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