Paul Durcan

Paul Durcan Poems

Dear Nessa - Now that our marriage is over
I would like you to know that, if I could put back the clock
Fifteen years to the cold March day of our wedding,

When I was a boy, myself and my girl
Used bicycle up to the Phoenix Park;
Outside the gates we used lie in the grass
Making love outside Áras an Uachtaráin.

I was reading gas meters in Rialto
- In and out the keeled-over, weeping dustbins -
When, through the open doorway of the woman in the green tracksuit
Who's six feet tall and who has nine kids,

Leaving behind us the alien, foreign city of Dublin
My father drove through the night in an old Ford Anglia,
His five-year-old son in the seat beside him,
The rexine seat of red leatherette,

The morning after the night
The roof flew off the house
And our sleeping children narrowly missed
Being decapitated by falling slates,

'She came home, my Lord, and smashed in the television;
Me and the kids were peaceably watching Kojak
When she marched into the living room and declared
That if I didn't turn off the television immediately

The doctor said to me: Your father needs a new head. So I said to the doctor: You can give him my head.

My days were numbered - broken marriage, cancer, False teeth, bad dreams- so 'Yes' was his answer.

Now I lie in my bed wondering away in my head What will my father look like with his new head?

Having endured the screeching for a full ten minutes (At first I thought it was just somebody being murdered Or beaten-up)

I decided to forsake the bed and look out the window:

J.J. Silk was true Free State gentry;

Made his fortune by a judicious admixture Of fraud and piety in the 1920's;

By 1930 had settled in the town of Nenagh

Paul Durcan Biography

Paul Durcan (born 16 October 1944) is a contemporary Irish poet. Durcan was born and grew up in Dublin and in Turlough, County Mayo. His father, John, was a barrister and circuit court judge; father and son had a difficult and formal relationship. Durcan enjoyed a warmer and more natural relationship with his mother, Sheila MacBride Durcan, through whom he is a great-nephew of both Maud Gonne, muse of WB Yeats and Irish social and political activist, and John MacBride, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, which began the Irish War of Independence leading to the foundation of the Irish state. He studied law and economics at University College Dublin.While at college, Durcan was kidnapped by his family and committed against his will to Saint John of God psychiatric hospital in Dublin, and later to a Harley Street clinic where he was subjected to electric shock treatment and heavy dosages of barbiturates and Mandrax. Durcan moved to live in London in 1966 where he worked at the North Thames Gas Board. He met Nessa O'Neill in 1968; they married and had two daughters, Sarah and Siabhra. They lived in South Kensington, then moved to Cork where his wife taught in a prison. The marriage ended at the beginning of 1984.)

The Best Poem Of Paul Durcan

Why should a foolish marriage vow

Dear Nessa - Now that our marriage is over
I would like you to know that, if I could put back the clock
Fifteen years to the cold March day of our wedding,
I would wed you again and, if that marriage also broke,
I would wed you yet again and, if it a third time broke,
Wed you again, and again, and again, and again, and again:
If you would have me which, of course, you would not.
For, even you - in spite of your patience and your innocence
(Strange characteristics in an age such as our own)
- Even you require to shake off the addiction of romantic love
And seek, instead, the herbal remedy of a sane affection
In which are mixed in profuse and fair proportion
Loverliness, brotherliness, fatherliness:
A sane man could not espouse a more faithful friend than you.

Paul Durcan Comments

jionhf 17 May 2019

can someone please upload the poem nessa i dont want notes just the poem thank you! !

0 3 Reply
John F Kennedy 21 April 2021


1 0
Brenda Walsh 01 November 2018

Curious now. I want to read more.

4 7 Reply
Bill Wright 09 September 2016

I read the works of Paul Durcan for A Level 20 years ago. Unfortunately none of the poems I read are listed on this site. If you get a chance try to find the following which are all very good: Priest accused of not wearing a condom Martha's Wall At the Funeral of the Marriage Crinkle, near Birr Chips Antwerp,1984

8 8 Reply

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