I am the door …

9781473511040-large… by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [John: 10,9]

Let there be no misunderstanding here:

I am no poet.

There are a number of good reasons for that:

  • I lack the talent;
  • I lack the patience;DOOR
  • Over fifty years ago, the editors of TCD’s undergraduate literary magazine, Icarus, made my inadequacies abundantly clear.

The editors of Icarus of that era were two names better known now than they were then: Michael Longley and Derek Mahon. I recall it was the latter who initialled my first rejection slip.


Scanning Kate Kellaway’s pre-publication review of Longley’s latest collection, The Stairwell, I felt I had just had the kind of momentary domestic revelation of which Longley is master.

Lunchtime, Saturday, my autistic grandson had been in the house. Once inside, I noticed him fingering the panels inside the front door, touching each one, in turn, all sixteen.

As he ate his pizza, and drank his soda, he was drawing. It was a remarkably accurate diagram of those sixteen panels, including the shape of the top pairs.

In that moment I found the solace of a pasture, if not a poem.


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Filed under Belfast, Dublin, Ireland, Literature, Observer, Trinity College Dublin

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