Poet Laureate: Arthur Broomfield

Arthur Broomfield is the Poet Laureate for Mountmellick, Co Laois. A native of Ballyfin, Co Laois, Arthur is a poet and Beckett scholar.

“Mountmellick has so much to inspire the poet; the hands and minds that made it, the history and culture written into its street names, its diversity enshrined in its motto ‘Friendship through partnership’,” he says.

“I am truly honoured to have been chosen as Poet Laureate for this very special town. Mountmellick sings a unique song, I hope my work will hum to its chorus.”

Arthur’s bio

Dr Arthur Broomfield is a poet and Beckett scholar from Ballyfin, Co Laois. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Arthur’s poems have been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers and many other literary journals in Ireland, the UK, USA and India.

He holds poetry workshops, when possible, and mentors poets online. His study on the works of Samuel Beckett, The Empty Too: language and Philosophy in the works of Samuel Beckett [Cambridge Scholars’ Publishing] is available from the publisher and from Amazon. Arthur delivers lectures, and conference papers, on the works of Beckett, online and in person, to a wide global audience. His current poetry collection is Ireland Calling (Revival Press).

(Photo credit: Marc O’Sullivan)

Arthur presented Mountmellick’s Town Poem at a special event on 17 September. You can find the full text of the poem below.

The Spirit of Mountmellick Speaks

I am the patient spark in your embers.
Go deep and you’ll meet me in the airs you hum,
the music that dances within you, even in a wet summer,
when your turf’s been lost.

I conceived you, when the world was young,
made you flesh in the Ivy Chapel of Acragar.
I blessed you with water from the Owenass river.

I am the voice that whispered to William Edmundson
Give up your soldiering and make Friends in this place.
I am Joseph Beale and John Bewley, the Pims, the Milners
and Tom Shannon, who woke, hot with visions of woven cloth,
trade, and the boast of a town with its own canal.

I am the Dorans, the Dowlings, the Duigans,
the Conroys, and the Corcorans,
who marched their hobnails to your tanneries,
and breweries, and mills, who spun yarns,
at Moll Rowe’s corner, of fish
that got away; who dug the canal.

I am the threads for Mountmellick lace, its chain stitch,
its worms and french knots, its spike stitch and crewel stitch.
I drew the needle from the sacred stone for Johanna Carter’s hand,
for Sister Teresa Margaret McCarthy’s hand, for the hands
of those who raise satin stitch for a simple flower, who stitch
sprays of ferns, rose leaves, and buttonholes for forget-me-nots.

I am the spirit that waits for you through the quiet nights.
Search for me, when your time has come,
where the April rays of the sun that bore me
glisten on the morning dew.