Everything is Going to Be Alright by Derek Mahon: A poem for #readingirelandmonth20

So, my enthusiasm for Reading Ireland Month is starting to wane. The final week was the one that I had the most posts still to prep for and it turns out that a pandemic-related lockdown will kill any sense of clarity and creativity in my thinking!

I am hoping to have a review up tomorrow, but that may be the last I’m afraid.

Still, on a positive note, I have enjoyed sharing some poems by Irish writers with you this week and today is one of my favourites.

So much so that it is becoming a bit of a mantra for me at the moment.


Everything is Going to be All Right by Derek Mahon


How should I not be glad to contemplate

the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window

and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?

There will be dying, there will be dying,

but there is no need to go into that.

The poems flow from the hand unbidden

and the hidden source is the watchful heart.

The sun rises in spite of everything

and the far cities are beautiful and bright.

I lie here in a riot of sunlight

watching the day break and the clouds flying.

Everything is going to be all right.


Derek Mahon was born in Belfast in 1941, and now lives in Kinsale, County Cork. A member of Aosdána, he has received numerous awards including the Irish Academy of Letters Award, the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize, and Lannan and Guggenheim Fellowships. In recognition of his ‘lifetime’s achievement’ Derek Mahon received the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2007.


Publications include The Hudson Letter, The Yellow Book, Words in the Air (bilingual, with the French of Philippe Jaccottet), Birds (a translation of Oiseaux by Saint-John Perse), Harbour Lights (2005) (Winner of the Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2006) Adaptations (2006), Life on Earth (2008, winner of the Irish Times Poetry Now Award), An Autumn Wind (2010), New Collected Poems (2011), Raw Material (2011, a selection of translations), Selected Prose (2012), Echo’s Grove (2013, selected and new translations), Red Sails (2014, prose), New Selected Poems (2016), Olympia and the Internet (2017 essays), The Rain Bridge (2017, A Story for Rory, illustrated by Sarah Iremonger) and, in August 2018, Against the Clock which won The Irish Times Poetry Now Award.

His work for the theatre includes versions of Moliere’s The School for Wives and High Time, Racine’s Phaedra, The Bacchae (after Euripides), Cyrano de Bergerac (a new version of Rostand’s ‘heroic comedy’) which was produced at London’s National Theatre in 2004 and Oedipus (after Sophocles) which was published in 2005. In 2013 his collected plays, Theatre, was published.

You can listen to Derek reading Everything Is Going To Be Alright here on YouTube.

PicMonkey Image copy

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!

20 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Well done for persisting, Cathy, despite the fact that there is a lot else that must be on your mind. I do appreciate these poetic gems that you’re posting, and especially the sentiments they express.


  2. Pingback: May Miscellany

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