From the Archives: Gerald Dawe – Early Poems

Early Poems (Lagan Press, 2015) charts Gerald Dawe’s original mapping of his Belfast upbringing in the 1950s and 1960s through the difficulties of the Northern Irish Troubles to his moving to the west of Ireland in the 1970s.

Early Poems prefigures the poet’s singular achievement in such distinctive volumes as The Morning Train, Lake Geneva and Mickey Finn’s Air.

"Serious, often grave, but inculcated with such sympathy and passion and affection that any obscurity is the enemy. It's as if what Gerald Dawe has to tell us is so vital that clarity such a virtue is a moral matter."  -  Richard Ford

"Gerald Dawe speaks with a voice which is confidently individual at times and at times hesitant and suggestive with doubtful tones of one who questions the assumptions upon which he and his culture rests." - Jonathan Allison


Sitting prim as a baby
I derive power from
screams and carelessness.
My puppets were love's
beck and call,
deranging floor, roof,
the whitewashed wall.
In my adorable oblivion
I cradled the world
in circus mirrors,
and night bought its toys --
tall bottle-men
who bent and kissed
curtain, pillow, door.
Our invisibilities collide.
I grow close to the shadows,
halo of fear
in the candleight.


Their hands talk and all we hear is laughter.

For the entire journey this has been going on
while the rest of us tune to the playlist
or take in the customary landscape and weather.

It is a show of love, this intentness,
their eyes never leave each other for an instant.
They have such things to say.

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