Biography of Paul Durcan
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.
Paul Durcan Poems
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,
The Head Transplant
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?
Wife Who Smashed Television Gets Jail
'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 Rise And Fall Of Mary Silk
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
Suburban Life Amongst The Higher Primate...
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:
Raymond of the Rooftops
The morning after the night The roof flew off the house And our sleeping children narrowly missed Being decapitated by falling slates,
Going Home to Mayo, Winter, 1949
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 Day Kerry Became Dublin
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,
Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin
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.
The Head Transplant
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?
Will he look like a bull with the head of a daffodil
Or like a nonagenarian pontiff with the head of a harlot?