Today, we go behind the lines of BE.aGaIN (out now!) and it’s 26th poem.
This work was less a case of Christmas present and more an imagined Christmas future. I wrote this in mid 2020 and imagined an dormant Dublin city that was “Still and empty” and in the most un-Irish way ,would be “full of unsung songs”
Ireland had some of the most stringent restrictions in the world on the movement of it’s people when I wrote this.
Thoughts moved to those who may not be able to move or travel home for Christmas (or travel anywhere) “Since You’re not here to be moved by them……..”
“They moved the Christmas lights” is in reference to the photographic backdrop of this poem. Nollaig is Christmas in Irish (or “as Gaeilge” as speakers would say) and these iconic lights now reside on Grafton Street having been moved to side streets in a previous failed corporate attempt to sanitise a main thoroughfare and create a “Grafton Quarter”. Thankfully the people of Dublin thought differently and don’t do things by half-or quarter and the nostalgic sign in indigenous language was put back where it belonged.
The Half Penny Bridge is a bridge that crosses the Liffey, the river that gives the capital its North Side, South Side and depending on what side you’re on- local pride. Its name comes from the toll it used to cost to cross it under British rule. I, however, imagined other rivers unfortunately- “Half pennies on their eyes” like a make shift Styx or a “Rubicon” that had run red.
In reality, Dublin in Christmas 2020 and Ireland saw a relaxing of restrictions for the festive period. Politicians, pressed for some “normality” from citizens, allowed hospitality settings to re-open and encouraged gathering for a “Meaningful Christmas” (politician’s words-not me).
Unfortunately this meant that January 2021 was a month of mourning with horrific hospitalisation figures and thousands of excess unnecessary mortalities across the nation.