A Paul Durcan poem for World Poetry Day

It’s World Poetry Day today and here is a recent poem from Paul Durcan, one of my all time favourite poets.


The WB Yeats Shopping Centre is taken from his most recent collection, The Days of Surprise.


The WB Yeats Shopping Centre

This morning I visited the W. B.Yeats Shopping Centre
For the first time in my tiny little life.
Although it was built thirteen years ago
I was averse to conferring on it my carbon footprint.

I revelled in it.
How W. B.Yeats also would have revelled in it;
A vast, Babylonian, Celtic Tiger ziggurat
Of so many storeys, so many malls
With millions of women, young and old,
Behind the open-plan counters and stand-alone
But scarcely a single customer –
Scarcely a single consumer except for myself!

And these millions of women, young and old –
Not only were they seriously glamorous
But they were seriously attentive,
Helpful, thoughtful, courteous even!
I spent two hours
Skipping up and down the escalators,
Crooning ‘Hug A Shady Wet Nun’,
Mooching about,
Pretending to be a customer
And asking advice and getting it –
But, of course, not purchasing anything.

Oh, Pasha, but I’ve been so –
So solo, so to speak –
For the last seven years –
But two hours in the W. B.Yeats Shopping Centre
And I am a new soul!
Poleaxed with adrenalin!
‘Revitalised,’ as Mrs George Yeats might murmur.
I say to myself:
In the name of Mrs George Yeats –
The most virtuoso housewife who ever lived –
I must purchase something!
I could feel W. B.Yeats egging me on:
He was intoning: ‘Obey your urge.’

So, in The House of Harun Al-Rashid,
In the Luggage Department,
I purchased a suitcase with wheels.
Medium-size. Scarlet-red. Toilet-trained. Guaranteed.
The Cleopatra-like woman
At the checkout batted her eyelashes
And, purring, snapped: ‘70 per cent off.’
I could see that she considered me
An astute – as well as comely – male consumer.
I sauntered out of her Luggage Department
Talking to my brand-new, scarlet-red suitcase on
As if it were my own dog – an Irish wolfhound –
I’d owned for donkey’s years.

I cried out to the first passer-by on the street:
‘I am a bare-breasted warrior of Erin!’
She – for she also was a she –
We were no longer in Armenia –
(Are the men of Ireland
All up on top of Mount Ararat
Hiding under their motor cars?)
She whispered back to me:
‘Where’d you pick up your fancy luggage, Mister?’
I peered down the wells of her eyes,
Dropping my brown pennies down into them:
‘In the W. B.Yeats Shopping Centre.’
She stopped in her tracks and stared at me:
‘Thank you, sir!’ – she screamed at me – ‘Thank you,

In the outdoor car park of the W. B.Yeats ShoppingCentre
I sat down under a recycling bin and wept – wept for joy and ecstasy and grief and anguish and the whole jing bang lot and Moses and Isabel Gilsenan and Johannes Scotus Eriugena and Georgie Hyde-Lees and Eimear McBride and Robert Heffernan and Katie Taylor and Christine Dwyer Hickey and Mo Farah and Roisin O’Brien and Joe Canning and Máire Logue and Rory and Columbanus and Enda and Fionnuala and Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Michael D. Higgins and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – SABINA!

Ireland Month Irish Literature

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

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