Dear Conor O'Callaghan
you’re no keeper of time
but so winning’s your cadence & timbre
the let’s been awarded to you:
I was in the next room so didn't see you enter
but felt again what the King’s College boy does to me
in Allegri’s Miserere when I heard you speaking
to yourself as it must have been.
Tapping that contradiction.
“Time’s problem” is what I meant to say
since you appear to have given time the slip
with your caretaking of words that could be used
in a poem if a person was so minded.
You’ll appreciate the distinction
as you elude the daily enmeshing
for as long as it takes to write about it:
though why the life lived in a poem
should be so dubious a proposition these days
is the kind of mystery that Ireland could never be!
Oh for example
the Dr someone-or-other planted in the centre
of the television picture of the emerald-green turf
plaiting the limestone saying that binding
every man & woman in Ireland is the experience
of rock & emptiness.
Or did I get that wrong as I breathed myself there
through the eye of the screen and out the back
of the camera onto the collar-ruffling bluff
on an icy day ten thousand miles away
from an Australian settee in late summer?
Tapping that contradiction
where the words for it are the grounds for our contention
that the past was always a presentiment
of the moment of speaking:
the swooning in the middle of the clear light of day
when here & now so nearly bests forever.
from My Life in Theatre, (River Road Press, 2009), © Kris Hemensley, used by permission of the author. The recording is taken from My Life in Theatre (River Road Press, 2009) © Kris Hemensley/River Road Press, 2009