Recently I attended the Wednesday night Poetry Reading at the White House, only my third time in the six years since human dynamo Barney Sheehan began the event. The format of the evening is simplicity itself, there is an hour of the Open Mic where all comers can take the floor and share their poetic musings followed by a reading from an invited guest poet , usually a published author. Last Wednesday evening the Open Mic drew some marvellous poetry and from some very young writers, each in turn wittily introduced by MC extraordinaire Barney Sheehan. Barneys brief and usually humorous interjections save the whole enterprise from going down the road of ‘pompous arty endeavour’ and enable the event to be accessible to a wide range of poetic and public taste. In fact Barney at a sprightly 75 is the factor X that makes the White House readings work where so many before him have failed. The guest poet on this occasion was Liam Ryan a native of Donohill in Tipperary and now living in Laois.
Liam has been writing quietly for many years but has just recently published his first collection, ‘Touching Stones’. His poems are keenly detailed and nuanced with a deep sense of respect for the craft of language and the resultant verse brings the reader right to the heart of the subject matter. This piece perfectly captures his eye for detail and the ability to trap forever in poetic form a moment of time. ~GOSh.~
EVENING IN CLEGGAN
You found a rock,
only your yellow windbreaker visible,
as you sat hunched, staring out :
Inishbofin lay like a wounded whale
stranded in a sea of flat water ;
behind you heather bristled
with crayons of dying sunlight.
I slouched down
to touch the quiet chuckles ;
a scrap of ice-cream paper scurried
towards the wreck of a dumped car ;
a wind hustled, dusk hovered,
your windbreaker hidden behind rocks,
a fiddle tuning back up the pier.