Thursday, November 25, 2010

By request of Swiss

Below is a poem by Brian Lynch. I was lucky enough to have him as a guest on the Sunday Scrapbook two week's back. This is a beautiful poem and one that Swiss particularly liked the sound of during the show, so I'm posting it with Brian's kind permission.

First Nightmare

I drop my work and hurtle up the stairs
Because I hear her crying in a way
She’s never cried before, a sudden spray
Of otherwordly screams, caught unawares
By – nothing worse – the first of her nightmares.
She’s new to this, I think, and cannot say
What she has learned, that there is hell to pay,
And from its depths a hopeless demon stares.
While fast asleep and safe, she felt the ground
Beneath her slip, and now she’s standing up
Behind the bars that keep her in the cot.
I lift her out. She throws her arms around
My neck and holds on tighter than a cup
Its handle, or a strangling child the knot.
How strange! And stranger still to realise
She doesn’t know my name. She isn’t mine.
I could be any mirrored ghost with eyes
Whose gaze she’s seen, whose weight she’s borne before.
I carry her, as water carries wine.
She is the miracle I’m looking for,
But what she is I am the spectre of.
There is no she. That she is you, poor Clare,
And you, some day, will die, and not of love.
The thought of that, it drowns me in despair.
I clutch you like a straw and start to hate
The floating life that you were born to lose.
How lourd death is. But then you press your cheek
Against my own and it’s both warm and cold,
And for this once I understand our weight,
As downy as the skylight’s evening blues,
And how these attic walls, like me, grown weak,
Can bear it too. One day – I hope you’re old
For both our sakes – you’ll wake and find I’ve gone
Back down the stairs and can’t come up again,
But when that happens, do remember this:
That on the night when you first felt the pain
Of other-dread, which can’t be woken from,
You had a father’s, I a daughter’s, kiss,
A functional emotion that lives on.

By Brian Lynch

Check out Brian's first Novel - The Winner of Sorrow - on the life of the poet William Cowper - it's definitely on my wishlist for Santa!


swiss said...

yup, still loving that. thanks to both you and brian for putting that up

Totalfeckineejit said...

A fine art poem, poetry as a fine art, the fine art of poetry. And I was listening but interrupted a hundred million times and missed lots so must go back to listen again for I too was struck, but by what he said about putting on something, (sorrow, old age?) like a jacket.

Niamh B said...

Glad you like it Swiss.
Yes TFE - he said a lot of interesting things, I found it all very stimulating and thought provoking.

120 Socks said...

Thanks Niamh for posting this poem. I will have a few reads of it, me thinks. A powerful one for sure. Also, another download that I will listen to. I am saving them up!!

Anil P said...

Supremely moving. It left a lump in my throat as I came to the last lines.

Niamh B said...

Well worth it Socks!
Thanks Anil, he's a great writer.