Dónall Dempsey

Veteran Poet - 1,356 Points (15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

The Backward Look (For D.B.) - Poem by Dónall Dempsey

(for D.B.)

The blackbird
leaves me a note

to the sky

that blue
beyond blue

the tide
of the moment

turning turning.

Time like apple blossom
falling through my mind

the little boy
unable to believe

that this day
is not

made of forever
and only now

I walk back
through my self

to unpin the note
the blackbird wrote

with his voice
still pinned

to that
self same sky.

The blue so still
beyond even its self.

I, at last, able
to read the birds words

its language a secret
no longer to me

'I sing...' it says '...I sing! '

'Because all this
must die! '

'I sing the moment's tide
its turning always turning! '

It's throat
full of song

glorying in being

for this

one eternal

Topic(s) of this poem: nature

Poet's Notes about The Poem


I was reading Frank O'Connor's series of lectures on early Irish poetry
(THE BACKWARD LOOK) and listening to both Bowie's newest and an old favourite of mine LODGER. I was at the start of FANTASTIC VOYAGE when the seemingly impossible news of his death trickled through and I went to BBC to confirm that...it was not so. It was so.

A moment ago he had been singing(as he had been singing for me all these years) :

'In the event
that this fantastic voyage
Should turn to erosion
and we never get old
Remember it's true, dignity is valuable
But our lives are valuable too'

I was also reading this 4 line fragment from the 9th century:

'There is one
I would wish to see again,
And give the golden world to win -
All, all, though all were vain.'

'Fil duine
Frismbad buide lemm díuterc
Ara tabrainn in mbith mbuide
Uile, uile, cid díupert.'

And so I wrote him this little poem....THE BACKWARD LOOK.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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