Rory Johnston is a retired civil servant and came from Donegal to Tramore to pursue an MA in Creative Writing at WIT. He blossomed under the tutelage of Janice Simmonds and he was sixty seven before he wrote his first poem. Now his work can be found in Introduction Series No. 9 of the prestigious Windows Publications, Authors And Artists, Edited by Heather Brett and Noel Monahan, they feature emerging literary talent and artists whose work is reproduced in quality editions interspersed with poems and prose.
I particularly liked the paintings of Elena Duff and Anne Harkin-Peyersen.
Johnston’s fine memory of childhood poem, Burke, is a beautifully drawn image from the forties of scabby malnourished schoolchildren. Some who spoke the implied “Language of nobodies”.
Sixty years on,
Burke has never left me,
Still without a Christian name,
Always Burke, plain Burke
His poem, Storm, recreates the Big House before it was burned down and he sees in his mind’s eye, a ballroom of crinoline ladies, graceful bows, cigar smoke, tinkling glasses and the perfume of illicit passion.
Another Waterford poet, Liam Russell, explores the river of memory in From The Ruins At Granny Castle. Michael Farry creates a lifetime out of a ball of used twine. A young Carlow poet Kate Morgan, touches a raw nerve with a poem about the child soldiers of Uganda. Michael Massey, the Kilkenny poet, catches the expectations of parents who watch their young, “furled in layers of sleep’.