Page Count: 68
Publication Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Cover Artwork: Photography: Jessie Lendennie. Design: Siobhán Hutson
About this Book
Eamonn Lynskey’s poems live on the edge of things – people’s ordinary lives as much as global concerns – and like all edges they can be razor-sharp. His is a voice unafraid to speak about political urgencies but also well sourced in everyday language and available form. A thought-provoking, unsettling collection of questions rather than answers:
… My sorrow for you, whale shark and hammerhead
and sleek green swordfish suddenly dispossessed
of your ancestral homelands. You, crayfish
and damselfish, what will you do unhoused
from all your fragile labyrinths of coral?
Eamonn Lynskey writes of the stark reality of injustice, which is so often part of our dealings with each other. Poems such as ‘The Canals on Mars’ focus on past brutalities, while our rapacious exploitation of planet Earth is treated in poems like ‘Down to Africa’ and ‘Lament’. Poems like ‘Calvaries’ lay bare the difficulties of an oppressive religious upbringing. Our response to the sufferings of others and to the ongoing destruction of the natural world is limited by the consuming demands of our everyday lives (‘Metsu’s Women’). Nevertheless, and however great the obstacles, a response is required, urgently… come, the world must be newmade. It’s time.
Eamonn Lynskey’s poetry first appeared in the New Irish Writing pages of the Irish Press in the 1980s, edited by David Marcus, and since then widely in magazines and journals such Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers, The SHOp, Crannóg, The Stony Thursday Book, The Stinging Fly, Boyne Berries, Orbis, Riposte Broadsheet and the Irish Times. He was a finalist in the Strokestown International Poetry Competition and in the Hennessy Awards and has published two collections, Dispatches & Recollections (1998) and And Suddenly the Sun Again (2010). He has been involved in the organization of poetry events in Dublin for many years and has presented poetry programmes on local radio. He obtained an M. Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin in 2012 and participated in the 2013 Stanza Poetry Festival in St. Andrews in Scotland. Before retirement he worked as a teacher and Adult Education organizer.
Read a sample from this book
The Oldest Man-Made Object
in The British Museum
Beside the rooms where crowds admire
the ornamental clocks, the axe
of mottled ironstone, its top
worn smooth from constant use, its weight
spread out along its length, is what
we left behind in Creswell Cave;
our best Palaeolithic hi-tech
fifty thousand years ago.
Yet not the oldest man-made object
in The British Museum. Look here –
a chopping tool with scalloped edge,
the latest culinary gizmo
in the shops in Tanzania’s
ancient Olduvai Gorge
about two million years ago,
much older than the length of time
was ticked by all the clocks next door,
combined. And though a bit the worse
for wear, it still looks sharp enough
to take the finger off a careless chef.
All Those Thousand Souls
This poet never had a lump of shrapnel
wedged inside his head or sat bewildered
in the bombed-out wreckage of his home –
such devastations never known to him
he prays won’t be diminished by this poem
that carries so much grief it could explode,
eviscerate itself, leave empty slogans
twitching in their helplessness like bodies
strewn around a cratered market square.
He reads his poem aloud and all the lamed,
the halt, the maimed come crowding in around him,
families collaterally damaged,
whole communities destroyed by air-strikes,
all those thousand souls condemned to die
in Dhaka so that he might buy cheap clothes.
He vows to do the everything he can:
check High Street labels carefully, choose
Fairtrade products, compose angry poems.
Home an Hour
Out of hospital, I promised time
to offer up my thanks for readmission
to the marvellous: the mountains
drinking water from the skies,
the streams that spill down into rivers,
filling lakes and reservoirs
to splash into my kitchen sink.
Just home an hour and I begin
to worry about new water charges, am
again become immune to the miraculous.
Copyright © Eamonn Lynskey 2017