Last Thursday 2nd May was Poetry Day Ireland #PoetryDayIRL and I was delighted to take part in a very interesting event at the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Great Denmark Street. Along with 12 other poets I wrote a poem responding to Artist David Fox’s exhibition ‘An Altered Land’. My thanks to Orla Grant-Donoghue and Olivier Cornet for putting this idea together. The exhibition runs until 12th May 2019 and I urge you to get to see it if you can. In my poem Evidence of Emotion I was taken by the absence of the human in the paintings but also the evidence of human ingenuity and activity that is portrayed in the built environment. Most of the paintings give a sense of searching, the point of view of a driver on a road, making a journey. This was my response.
Evidence of Emotion
after “An Altered Land” exhibition, David Fox
This is the route I took
via motorway, national, regional
roads, over bridges and flyovers,
concrete and steel silently holding
its breath above rivers of bitumen,
wild with a riot of prodigal nature, tempered
by barriers, steel, pre-cast concrete,
relics of our interference,
attempts to create and destroy,
to divide and connect, to escape
and return to our roots.
I searched for you on the road,
the streetlights wept in your absence,
tears spilled on the carriageway,
rolled off the
and into the drain,
road slick in the light of my searching.
An empty bus-shelter reflected my shame.
on to the carriageway. I couldn’t stop it,
the squirming; desire like a juggernaut
on an empty road, out of control, awaiting
the inevitable impact at the dead end.
But the road doesn’t end. It goes on, cutting
the fields into two, three and four, connecting
the outposts of broken endeavours,
reclaiming the wilds, imposing order,
making wasteland where once there was forest.
I know you are there, framed in the sharp edge
of pavements, lining the street in perspectives
as yet incomplete, where you wait, further on,
somewhere not yet in view. I hear you in the hum
of pylons, the wind under bridges; on the verge
of hopelessness, you are there in my blood as it surges
through the empty streets of my abandoned heart.
© Brian Kirk 2019