Gallery Press have just published The Thing Is, the seventh book of poetry since 1984 by Peter Sirr, who has read several times in Waterford at the Sean Dunne Festival. Sirr has Waterford connections, as he lived in Newtown Road until about the age of 9. His mother taught at St. Declan’s national school and his father worked in a local bank until he was transferred elsewhere. He has a fine concern for language as he attempts to make, perhaps, more sense of experience in the small and yet the significant aspect of routine living.
The Thing Is, comes across initially as two longer selections of poems and a short, almost paranoid, coda, SHHH about repression, torture and how the new regime inherits the electrodes and instruments of the depressed one. And of these three sections, if they were expanded or added to, would make a good collection and while in one sense I think Sirr rushed into print a little too quickly, I am glad he did as the two longer selections are full of attractive, shared hemories.
The Overgrown Path explores how a couple, the poet and his poet wife plus new baby, are walking slowly out of their old lives in poems that have many references to sun and a confusion of joy.
You can experience the shared happiness of new life, as the baby gets a PPS number and becomes a part of the larger societal world. You sense the poet learning a new language of baby and beginnings and that treasured wonderful shared re-look at old things through new eyes. A poem, Concert Going, begins with
“Welcome to the language”
“More than we remember of it
And language sits an aeon yet
It’s small waters muttering
In a corner of the field…”
The title poem catches the baby child, Freya, exploring objects in the light and you see the nature of the thing and know the thing anew.
The closing long section, Carmina, purports to be a richly comic, rude and bawdy exploration of Carullus who like Homer never expected to be like The Simpsons. This is a fun ride, as ladies are deodorized, juiced and espressoed to orgasm in Myhome.ie. This is a translated updated world where – “Every piss pot sings its song” and a penis writes a diary. The thing is . . .