OMIGOD, NOT ANOTHER NEWGRANGE POEM
with some indications as to delivery ‘a la mode’
(Please strike a pose consonant with
the dignity of the lines you are about to deliver)
It is an ancient law enacted by
Aosdana that every Irish Poet be moved
to write about Newgrange once every year
for competitions, or to be declaimed
to multitudes in a monotonous poetry voice
(like this) while standing in the pouring rain
beside the ruins. Said poets should write, nay, sing
about the silence of her ancient stones,
the roundness of her ancient stones, the hardness
of her ancient stones, the ancientness
of her ancient stones, the stoniness of her ancient
stones. And how it is they yearly speak
to us (No, no! Read that again, and this time
lift the voice on ‘us’) … And how they yearly
speak to us across millenniums, nay,
millennia (Pause. Significant pause,
look up, stare at the audience, look down. Sigh).
And how the solstice penetrates her passage
yearly on the front page of ‘The Irish Times’.
And how the nation yearly feels the need
to re-discover prehistoric roots.
Or prehistoric Truths. Or. Booth.
And how the Nation casts its gaze back
to those ancient days (more feeling!) …
to those ancient days when men were men
and ate their meat raw, sucked the bones,
and dressed in off-the-shoulder furs, went clubbing
for their women, and had a deep relation-
ship with stones and knew the stars and how
to roll enormous rocks on poles (small ‘p’)
up from the Boyne Valley. Knew to carve
involved and complicated rings and loops
with their ancient tools, and knew the Mystery
of Life Itself, (pause) and how to chart
the sun (look up and pause again) to make it
strike along this passageway. Today
it can be done at any-old-tourist-time
thanks to the Board of Works installed a light
to creep along the floor when it’s switched on
like this: (*!) Excuse me, sir, but could you move
your foot a little… Thank you. (Bloody tourists!)
Now behold! (step back and gesture towards
the floor) The Sacred Light that lit the dark
before old Moses was a boy in britches!
See (step back again and mind your head)
The Sacred, Sacred Light that every year
attracts ten thousand weighty poems, replete
with abstruse references to the Druids, each poem
ten thousand times the weight, and more, of Newgrange,
and all her ancient stones. (*!)… Mind your heads
on the way out and please don’t help yourselves
to free souvenirs. It costs a fortune to replace
these old stones with new ones every year.
And there’s a bucket for tips at the entrance. Don’t fall over it.