Tuesday, November 30, 2010

International Poem of the Week: Message to the Editor


Sir –

The Lord pardon the people of this town
Because I can't.
When I dropped dead in the street
Three weeks ago
I thought they'd bury me in style.
A state funeral was the least of it
With Heads of Government and the Nobility
In attendance.
I even looked forward to the funeral oration
In Irish
With a few words on my past achievements:
Our greatest poet, a seat in heaven to the man
And how I deserved better.

But did I get it?
My corpse lay in Baggot Street
For a fortnight
Before anyone noticed it.
And when I was finally removed
To the mortuary
I was abused by a medical student
Who couldn't open a bag of chips
Let alone the body of your greatest poet.
Then, to add to the indignity
I was pushed into an ice-box
And some clod stuck a label on my foot
Saying: unknown bard –probably foreign.

If it wasn't
For a drunken Corkman
Who thought I was his dead brother
I'd still be lying there unclaimed.
At least
The man had the decency to bury me.
But where am I?
Boxed in some common graveyard
Surrounded by peasants
And people of no background.
When I think of the poems I wrote
And the great prophecies I made
I could choke.

I can't write now
Because the coffin is too narrow
And there's no light.
I'm trying to send this
Through a medium
But you know what they're like –
Table-tapping bastards
Reeking of ectoplasm.
If you manage to receive this
I'd be glad if you'd print it.
There's no point in asking you
To send me a copy –
I don't even know my address.

© 1979, Patrick Galvin

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