Celebrating Dennis O’Driscoll: Tomorrow

Here is a moving, short piece by Seamus Heaney on his friend, the much-missed poet Dennis O’Driscoll.

Seamus will be part of the celebration of Dennis’ life and work tomorrow evening at Smock Alley (8pm), which will be the last event of this year’s DWF.

 

Tomorrow

I

Tomorrow I will start to be happy.

The morning will light up like a celebratory cigar.

Sunbeams sprawling on the lawn will set

dew sparkling like a cut-glass tumbler of champagne.

Today will end the worst phase of my life.

I will put my shapeless days behind me,

fencing off the past, as a golden rind

of sand parts slipshod sea from solid land.

It is tomorrow I want to look back on, not today.

Tomorrow I start to be happy; today is almost yesterday.

II

Australia, how wise you are to get the day

over and done with first, out of the way.

You have eaten the fruit of knowledge, while

we are dithering about which main course to choose.

How liberated you must feel, how free from doubt:

the rise and fall of stocks, today’s closing prices

are revealed to you before our bidding has begun.

Australia, you can gather in your accident statistics

like a harvest while our roads still have hours to kill.

When we are in the dark, you have sagely seen the light.

III

Cagily, presumptuously, I dare to write 2018.

A date without character or tone. 2018.

A year without interest rates or mean daily temperature.

Its hit songs have yet to be written, its new-year

babies yet to be induced, its truces to be signed.

Much too far off for prophecy, though one hazards

a tentative guess—a so-so year most likely,

vague in retrospect, fizzling out with the usual

end-of-season sales; everything slashed:

your last chance to salvage something of its style.

`Tomorrow’ is taken from “New and Selected Poems” by Dennis O’Driscoll published by Anvil Press Poetry in 2004.

(SK)

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