It is with deepest regret that Poetry Ireland has learned of the passing of poet and philosopher Tom Duddy, following a cancer diagnosis in December last year. Tom, a friend of the organisation, regular reviewer and poet, published in Poetry Ireland Review, will be missed as a contributor and voice in Irish poetry and thinking.
Tom’s first collection, The Hiding Place, was published in 2011 by Arlen House and was featured in the 2011 Forward Book of Poetry. You can listen to Tom reading from The Hiding Place or read some of his work below.
Poetry Ireland would like to extend our condolences to his family and friends.
New Complete Geography
How far the species has come, now that at last
the New Complete Geography, having dealt with
weather and climate, soil, sea, and rainfall,
population and the growth of cities,
concludes with a section on our unjust world.
After the heart-warming cartoon graphics
showing the twelve categories of cloud;
after the neat depictions of meanders
and folded mountains; after the sketches
of an early nucleated settlement;
after the colour pic of an olive grove;
after the focus on Benidorm; after
the woodcut of the bristling soldiers
of Cromwell’s army on a river bank; after
the photograph of caribou in Canada
come the bar charts for our unjust world.
The conscience of the world-spirit pricks itself
and the figures of privation become grist
to the mill of our most promising children.
Nothing remains to conquer now in either
the order of nature or the order of grace.
Far From Cameras
All the snaps of us when we were children
Were taken by relatives from England -
Glamorous aunts and uncles who came in hired cars
In summer, with their posh (we thought) accents,
To drive us to Knock shrine and basilica,
Or to three-course meals at The White Horse Inn.
There are snaps of us cornered in hayfields
Or arrayed against the white of a gable,
The younger ones crying, the older ones
Dying of self-consciousness, all of us
Wearing those short-sleeves and those wellingtons
That can still wipe the smiles from our faces.
There are no snaps, though, of the interior
Of the old house – unless you count one picture
I took through a front window with my first Kodak.
No matter how I tilt it there remains
My own image, camera to eye, blocking
From view some moment lost in the next plane
Of chemicals – my brother by the radio,
My sister by the table of basins and cans,
My father framed in the light of the back-door
Like the last figure in Velázquez’ Las Meninas