Thomas McCarthy – Dog Days

Profile Thomas McCarthy LE Poetry & Writing May 2018

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Dog Days, poems by Thomas McCarthy

Thomas McCarthy was born at Cappoquin, Co. Waterford in 1954 and educated locally and  at University College Cork. He was an Honorary Fellow of the International Writing programme, University of Iowa in 1978/79. He has published The First Convention (1978), The Lost Province (1996) ,Merchant Prince (2005) and The Last Geraldine Officer (2009) as well as a number of other collections. He has also published two novels and a memoir. He has won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize and the O’Shaughnessy Prize for Poetry as well as the Ireland Funds Annual Literary Award. He worked for many years at Cork City Libraries, retiring in 2014 to write fulltime. He was Humphrey Professor of English at Macalester College, Minnesota, in 1994/95. He is a former Editor of Poetry Ireland Review and The Cork Review. He has also conducted poetry workshops at Listowel Writers’ Week, Molly Keane House, Arvon Foundation and Portlaoise Prison (Provisional IRA Wing). He is a member of Aosdana. His new collection, Pandemonium, will be published by Carcanet Press in November. McCarthy (poet)

High Net Worth

Individuals I’ve known include this bustling
Homeless man with the mind of a wizard:
He has conjured a home out of these three
Jumbo refuse sacks and a freshly delivered
Blue sleeping bag. He has asked for nothing
Except to be left alone to sleep beside this
Well-established jewellery store. He loves,
He says, the light from diamond rings, the
Way such light makes a lattice-work on
The faces of those who would be charitable –
As this exile from Eastern Europe is holy
When he vacates a seat on a wet, windy night,
A seat for a young woman and her child.
We live with our debts and excitements, we dine
Together on the silverware of each other

Dog Days

You’d forget what it’s like to stretch out into the deepest
Green of summer. The corn is standing high and barely
Alive near Lismore, the cow-parsley of the Glenshelane river
Has almost choked the floor of July. Soon it will be
Our late horse-flies, our early fruit wasps. The nearest
Spring will be the next one to come. Pond lilies quiver
With an excess of pond life. The summer turns –
It needs to be more louche before it become golden
In its open-neck shirt, in the growth on its chest. Its heart
Is not in its mouth just yet, but I can hear a murmur
Of death and reticence, a despairing writerly groan that burns
Through this feeling of unreal plenitude, of being beholden
To a process that begins and ends in weeds. See, it is no part
Of summer to settle poetry or to crush the reed’s humour.

© Thomas McCarthy