Thursday 25 September 2008

Overheard in Dublin


'I gave her my old phone, she was stone delighted, '
the Navan man said:
while his Cork culchie brethren
blew hot and cold into the headpiece
all bluetooth and shiny smile
schmoozing on the street.
'He said he didn't but what do you think? '
a brunette pushes past me angrily
'That little huir, I hope she's happy now-'
she moves too far away
I am tempted to follow, I want to know
what did he do? and if it's likely, his guilt,
and who is the rival woman?
'I can't, ' the teenager wails,
chewing the fingernails of one hand
a bovine testament to the need
for population control.
'Wha'? ' she stares blankly into middle space
her mothers voice shrill and tinny
spelling out the name of a washing powder brand.
'...if you move that account around, it should be
all right, ' He moves in and out
of earshot, a worried shadow
with quick panicked steps.
So many voices, overheard
I wonder, how few heard over
the din?

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne



Sarah said...

"a bovine testament to the need for population control"


Nice one.

Anonymous said...

Wow.... "All bluetooth and shiny smile..."

Now my dear, that is a line!!!


Anonymous said...

no, sarah! a comment that trashes another human being deserves contempt , not applause.

Anonymous said...

Are you for real? Idiot!

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

It's a poem Tom :)
that involves a certain amount of suspension of sensiblities, you are supposed to "hear" the voice of the poem - who is it that is speaking?
You don't have to agree with that voice but you can't censor it either. Poetry- like any art form - can help you to meet and confront views you find annoying or disturbing. Your reaction to that line is interesting; the line provoked response in you, even if it was only knee jerk condemnation.

try reading the poem again, visualise the speaker - try to see the person.Try not to let your own personality filter them, then explore WHY they say that, why the conversations they overhear affect them?

Anonymous said...

God how could anyone not like this poem? I love it, love it. was out last night and could overhear conversations and I kept thinking about this poem...
Geraldine thanks for replying so well and taking so much time over discussions and comments on your poetry - it's wonderful.


Anonymous said...

Surely the poem is the poet's response to things overheard? In that case my comment still stands- or have we just different standards in NY?

Anonymous said...

ah but who says the poet is the one listening? :)
you made an assumption there that while is perfectly ok, it's a little facile.
Is it the poet, or is it a character ? if it's the poet are they reporting their reaction to things overheard or, are they presenting the reaction of the person on the other end of that phone? is it real, imagined, or is it as harsh as you think? Have you ever observed the average teen - personally I think we all looked like that at times aged 14-18 :)

I love this poem, but I think you need to read a little deeper, don't just accept the surface.As a poet myself I find the most rewarding readings are ones that don't accept, they challenge.

Anonymous said...

"or have we just different standards in NY?"

Yeah different standards of education obviously if you really can't undertand how to deconstruct a poem! have you anything constructive to add to this debate or are you really that thick?

Anonymous said...

I have tracked this site with interest for several months and generally like the poems although culturally some of the idioms escpe me( I live in Ontario).However I am disappointed that comments from people other than the poet degenerate into balalities such as 'idiot' 'thick' when a critical comment is made. Perhaps the culture gap for NY'ers seems strange to you, Krishna M, but the persppective is valid.

Anonymous said...

Krishna I don't think Tom Doyle is being "thick" I think he just doesn't realize that the voice he is hearing in the poem isn't just the poet's. Or isn't necessarily the poet's.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

OK first of all let me just say this is MY poetry, guys, my blog; i love the feedback and am grateful for the interest but I won;t allow it to become some kind of battle ground between people!

A little respect PLEASE.

Krishna, I think that was uncalled for. I can share your frustration at Tom's rather surface reading of the poem, but he has been polite - there is no excuse for being personal!!

Fraoncoise thanks for your interest - i would point out that several other posters inclduing Sara Curran have responded politely and with helpfulness to Tom and have tried to help him undertand the poetry. Please don't allow one single comment, from one poster to represent the entire interachtion on this blog.

Tom - you dislike the line and that's fine, but people have tried to explain to you the reason why they find it amusing or acceptable. Implying that somehow you possess the moral highground - from NY or not :) - is rude and really doesn't reflect the time and trouble other people went to to address your comment.

I will enable comment moderation and delete comments that are rude in future, unless people can respect each other and this blog, my personal space.

Sarah, Sara, Eveningson, and Margo thank you all for your positive comments