Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh The Places You Will Go

Poem of the Day:
"We Will Stray" by Michael Davitt
Poems From the Irish

Gavitt's poem, translated from the original Irish, responds to an excerpt of a poem by Seán Ó Ríordáin: "An answer, I still think, is death/To question is to live --/We will stray another while/And see the land." And, as seems appropriate, Gavitt's poem begins, "we will stray" (line 1).

He writes:

"we will stray/south-west by south/from the north-west/we will expect/the heat of the voice/we will seek/Almighty God/and in the rite/of candles and skin/in Cashel of Munster/we will singe our barren bards/in a bonfire/and scatter their ashes/on the mildew of tradition" (lines 1-14).

Of a people for whom immigration is the inevitable tide of every folktale, Gavitt recognizes the movement of the Irish people, both wanted and unwanted.

Today I bought an iPhone. I traded in a phone that could hardly do anything (but do what phones were originally designed to do, I suppose) for a phone that can, supposedly, do everything.

Walking home, new phone in hand, I was surprisingly wary. I was wary of all that it promised, its shine and its smallness. What power did I now have that I didn't have before?

Gavitt's free verse poem ends with an anaphora, a device which he uses to stress the movement of a collective people: "we will change/we will go proud/we will go low/we will go" (lines 56-59).

The Irish had boats at their fingertips, and now airplanes. I have a nearly weightless hunk of metal and computer 'parts' of which I know nothing.

I know that I "will go," but where?

A Poem A Day Audrey


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