Jimmy O’Donnell, a native of Fethard now living in Sandyford, Dublin was the winner of the Literary Award for his poem, ‘Thawing Thoughts From a Navvy’s Room At the Dawn Of Day’ at the recent MacGill Summer School & Arts Week in The Glenties, Co. Donegal.
The presentation was made by Minister of State at the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Dinny McGinley who praised the standard of the prosaic poem as ‘excellent’.
This was in fact Jimmy’s 5th success in this competition over the past 10 years. He has also previously received awards in the UK, at Listowel Writers Week and at the Ballina and Galway Arts Festivals as well as having his drama productions performed on stage and radio.
“Indeed I was delighted to be part of a community celebrating their local writer, Patrick MacGill in the Glenties” Jimmy said and quoting Brian Friel “It celebrates itself because the writer is both fashioned by and fashions his people”.
His winning entry was -
Thawing Thoughts From a Navvy’s Room At the Dawn Of Day
Tá an lá ag tosnú ag breacadh (Day is beginning to break)
And Wall’s Rhode Island Cock
Is now flapping its wings majestically
To crow in a new creation to Carrigduff
I hear the crickets warmly chirping
With their saw-edged legs that is their song
From behind the burning hearth
Of peat and brushwood
In Molly Brown’s little hidey-hole
A privileged place off the brisked-up bar
A refuge from any surveillance
And where the bog-oak mantelpiece
Is stained with circles of constant art
From pints roman-collared
In the jewelled light of the tilley lamps glow
While racks and rakes of bacon ribs
Dressed and drizzled with pickled herbs
And boxty served on the house
With flickering smiles
In the crumbled headlines of yesterday’s news
A flavoursome feast seasoned
And honey griddled
For the run of your jaw
And where in the half silence
Literary strangers gather to stamp authority
On their knowledge about Handel’s Messiah, Shakespeare and Bach
While there is no lack of joy in our listening
To our own war veteran correspondent
Trumpeting the stark realities and exploits
At the Somme, Dardanells and green fields of France
The dawn rambles on its onward journey
With thudding thoughts of words
Written or spoken by one alone
Can be conversation
And a way of living
Turning off the dark
Out of this world
In its age of anxiety
We now live in.
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