Briege Duffaud
Every year in bleak bored winter the Dublin actors came
to towns across the North. Anew McMaster and his touring plays,
Pinter’s old troupe: too young we missed him by five years. 
Anew played Hamlet, Lear, the Scottish king, in Town Halls hushed 
with awe-held breath of shop-boys, clerks and farmers’ wives, 
front rows rich with scented privilege. Convent boarders gaped
at tall Lord Wakehurst and his wife, cousins of the Queen.
A traitor curtsied in my star-struck head dreaming of courtly love.
For weeks Ophelia, robed in satin quilt, drowned on the
dormitory floor, Polonius groaned his last behind thick linen curtains. 
Lady Macbeth scrubbed away, Camay soap and nailbrush.
Faces of the Dublin actors displaced young priests in teenage fantasies.
I Google them and read old memories much like mine:
teachers, writers, politicians: our small provincial lives
illumined by those Winters’ tales played to a silenced hall of
mingled Taigs and Prods united in delight one week a year.
And you? I ask my English friend, did you play Portia in your Surrey dorm?
Clash swords by torchlight while Matron slept? She laughs: Christ no! we
swooned over Elvis, kissed photos of Mick, sneaked out the windows to Eel Pie Island. 
So sad, you lot, reared in a wasteland. No wonder you rebelled in the end
and took to killing each other. We lived in the real world, says she. Unsmiling.
Page 49, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124
Issue 124

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Poetry Ireland Review 124 contains new poems from Paula Meehan, Ciarán O'Rourke, Lizzy Nichols, Mark Ward, Gabriel Rosenstock, Özgecan Kesici, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and many other compelling voices. Also included is Eilean Ni Chuilleanáin's remembrance of her Cork childhood, excerpted from The Vibrant House: Irish Writing and Domestic Space, a book of essays reviewed in issue 124 by Caitríona O'Reilly. Other books considered in this issue include collections from Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Mark Granier, Tara Bergin, The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, and the Collected Poems of the late Dennis O'Driscoll, and there's also a short interview with Thomas Kinsella along with an essay on Kinsella as poet and civil servant. Another Kinsella is this issue’s Featured Poet, Alice Kinsella, and all artwork for the issue is supplied by artists associated with the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Great Denmark Street, around the corner from Poetry Ireland.

Available now to purchase online or in all good bookstores.