Greagoir O Duill is famous for eight collections of original poetry in Irish as well as two significant anthologies. He contributed much to the revival of Irish language poetry in the province of Ulster and now he has brought out New Room Windows, a collection in English, with a new and vital Kerry-based publisher Doghouse. In 58 poems he gently explores the quotidian aspects of life and some of these use the window as a metaphor for just looking out and observing little sketches or snapshots of a particular image or feeling in time.
Death is matter of fact after a football game that recalls different times and different types of cogs or studs. Cremation seems preferable because of an inch of newsprint about vandals wrecking thirty gravestones. And out of such sorrow you get a stunning image:
We who have lain,
Moved in each other’s arms
With much joy
And from enduring need
A widening gulf.
A modern image of mobile phones grows out of the sounds of slaughter and keening in Donegal. Lines about Spanish students, badness as judgement, as the radio force-feeds its commercial mix and you get the amazing finish of bells bursting like birds at dawn, a telephone angelus, as the bus resounds to preset mobile calls.
In a poem like, The Language Shift, you get the wonderful sense of tongues and dialects and shades of meaning or as he puts it – the slant sense of perspective. Seemingly mundane poems like Christmas Turkey captures growing up, growing old, no memory of egg.
Seek out this collection and go to Old Hotel and you will find a poem Philip Larkin would be proud of. Explore the final poem of the collection and savour a poem that graphs what the poet claims he cannot see or understand and marvel at his quiet skill, as in Going:
You may have waved
But there were no clear windows
I think I did.