Apollo Astronaut, Ed White

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JUDAS STOPPED AT DUBLIN: A Poem of Spiritual Pollution and Ablution (in Yeats 2015)

McCleary's Alternatives

   Judas    Dublin

This blog and my books are sufficient witness that as writer and poet I don’t oppose criticism of Christians, Christianity or any religion. It is, or should be, a universal democratic right though increasingly non-western religions, not just militant Islam, oppose it. (Hindu nationalism, emboldened under Morsi, shows a sudden increase in persecution of Christians with last Christmas believers even attacked for carol singing!). Even so, I still find unacceptable some levels of lampoon and abuse of beliefs that – practically – are the psychological and cultural equivalent of racism. Their unimpeded expression amounts to a pollution of the social atmosphere. To surround religious issues with gutter talk and obscenities is not “satire” or “free speech”, among other things it’s just aggressive bad manners….

To revive an old issue, but as it happens at a relevant time, Brendan Kennelly’s The Little Book of Judas (2002), a selection with additions to the  400pp The Book of Judas (1991), is a case in point. I was reading Judas in early January before…

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TWO POEMS ABOUT YEATS: “THE YEATS BRONZE” and “A YEATS SONNET FOR 2015”

I had no idea how into the Dark Side Yeats was! Such a shame considering that I loved his poems especially, “Down by the Salley Gardens” and “When you are Old”

McCleary's Alternatives

YEATSBRONZE

(Not everyone is familiar with the Yeats sculpture in his Sligo hometown and much about Yeats is still not generally known or understood. The following two poems address that. For other Yeats and Irish poetry related material on this blog see below after the Notes)

THE YEATS BRONZE

Poet of Erin, mystic, seer,
Once out of life you did not take
Your form from any natural shape [1]
Byzantium’s bronze and smithy’s art
Were put to work as gongs still
Tolled and heavily for another soul
Crossed over its tormented sea. [2]
And thus a transformation could begin
So terrible beauty might be born:
Your legs grew Daddy-long-legs long
Your noble head and large became
More like a smaller serpent’s crown
Atop a torso bent and spread
And curved and also wide as though
A lettered cobra would shoot forth    [3]
Before a house of Paudeen’s pence [4]
To challenge crass materialism
Or even prod dull Ulster…

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