Next week at Greyfriars Gallery, Waterford man, Paddy Fegan, will launch his first book of poetry, This Day, in memory of his beloved wife, Ann. In this slim small volume you will experience the warmth of love, the pain of love, the comfort of religion, a touch of despair and you will feel rage, sickness and tenderness and you will be humbled by the measured simplicity of a man carrying on, coming to terms in words with survival and living harmlessly. A poem like Getting Through captures all those confused feelings with the stamp of authenticity. Here is the man coming to terms on the streets of Waterford where routine and ritual heal slowly.
In the title poem, Paddy Fegan asks:
Why this day
Bright as it is
Should God have a tear
In his eye.
He then goes on to have dialogues with his beloved wife, no doubt as a result of tears, prayers, visits to the Cathedral to pray on a plastic Rosary, visits to gravesides and a trip to the honest depths of despair.
Jim Nolan, in an excellent introduction, tells of Paddy Fegan’s journey in physical and mental illness and of the frigidity of faith and belief of a man who uses poetry to restore his song of the world.
Fegan’s redemptive visits to Lourdes in Candle Song and Closure will stop you short and surprise you with the harsh honesty of a life lived. The poem, My Father’s Stone, where he describes putting on and continuing to wear his late father’s cap is a brilliant evocation of simple continuity.
Several poems mediate the Tall Ships experience and a really fine poem like Hope tells us of life and you feel at the same time the wonderful embrace of living arms and the possibility of loss in life’s uncertainties.
The day that Paddy Fegan tells of cannot be avoided but we have to live that day as best we can and make it meaningful. Paddy Fegan makes This Day meaningful.