Marée Moclair reading a horse theme poem Betjeman’s ‘Hunter Trials’
The third annual Poetry Ireland Day pop-up poetry event took place last Thursday, May 2, in the Fethard Horse Country Experience. Laura Condon, Manager, and Liam Cloonan set up the venue and provided welcome refreshments.
‘Truth or Dare’ was the theme of this year’s Poetry Ireland Day There was truth in abundance, that essential truth of poetry reflecting human experience that resonates with the listener. As for dare, to dare to read before a group, especially for the first time, requires courage even more so if one chooses to share one’s own writing.
Mary Hanrahan in her introduction reminded those present that the late Cllr John Fahey who was present last year and delivered a stirring rendition of Brian Ború’s Address to His Troops before the Battle of Clontarf. As a tribute to John, Mary then read ‘Through the Window’, a meditation on loss and grief. This theme was reprised later in Ann Walsh’s lovely reading of a poignant poem written about her son Andrew who died tragically almost ten years ago.
Pat Feely, Clonmel, who attends the event every year, read from his own collection, ‘Love, Ladybirds and Parkinson’s’ which is currently on sale in the FHC Experience. It was a pleasure to welcome another poet, newcomer Geraldine Gavan who read her own poems celebrating country life.
The country burr of Pam Ayres as heard in an excerpt from her ‘Poems for Pensioners’ and the gently acerbic tones of American Carl Sandberg, recited by Michael Mallon, brought an international flavour to the proceedings. Marée Moclair and John Cooney both paid tribute to the venue by choosing a horse theme in their respective choices Betjeman’s ‘Hunter Trials’ and Seamus Heaney’s ‘A Lick of the Pencil’.
Maureen Maher opted to read a familiar favourite ‘Down by the Sally Gardens’ by W.B. Yeats while Norberta O’Gorman introduced us to the freshly minted ‘Notre Coeur’, a response to the recent destruction of Notre Dame written by Christine Taylor, a Clonmel woman now living in Paris.
One never knows what to expect in a poetry pop-up: Who’s going to come? What they will read? How will the audience respond? Once again, the session evolved with alchemy all its own. It was a seamless sharing of old favourites and fresh new voices, paying tribute to famous poets and introducing the previously unknown.
As the event came to a close, Mary Hanrahan thanked those who came along to listen and were such an appreciative audience. She extended an especial thank you to all those who dared to come along and share the truth of their selected pieces.