Where Is that Parsee Tower of Silence?

Graham Allen

Death is contagious, the kingdom of worms. 
It is an active element in the universe. 
It is not subject to sanitation. 
If you touch it you are lost, but Death touches everything. 
It is the voice of a deranged hag screaming at the summer wind. 
It is in the come to bed eyes of the hot politician. 
It is a tic under the skin of each new born child. 
No segregation tames it. No exposure to the sky. 
Death marks the rise and fall of all faith, all ritual. 
Our scientists have failed to master it. 
Our teachers call it imageless and move on. 
Only carrion befriend it, waiting eagerly for our cast-offs. 
Our desolate astodans, built beyond the walls
that protect us from landslide, fire and flood,
are crammed with the dead and their time-bleached bones. 
Such centres of gravity and tears, as they lower the feast
of Dignam down, are the eyes and ears of our fevered city. 
Drowning they say is the pleasantest. 

Page 9, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 122
Issue 122

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 122:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Fifty years after his passing the poet Patrick Kavanagh is remembered in Poetry Ireland Review 122, in a perceptive essay by Eavan Boland which invokes Chinua Achebe and Anthony Cronin, among others, to position Kavanagh in a pre-eminent place among the poets of his time, and ours. Richard Murphy is also celebrated in a fascinating interview ranging over all of his ninety years, in which he discusses a number of his poems – reproduced in the issue – framed by their social and political contexts. There are new poems from John O'Donnell, Mary Montague, Julie Morrissy, Colm Breathnach, and Moya Cannon, among many others, Alvy Carragher is our Featured Poet, and titles subjected to critical scrutiny include recent work from Paddy Bushe, Jacob Polley, Paula Meehan, Rachael Boast, and Matthew Sweeney. Liam Harrison provides a perceptive essay on Derek Mahon's connections with artist Edvard Munch, while the images in this issue are provided by artists from the Olivier Cornet Gallery, a neighbour to Poetry Ireland on Parnell Square.