Like lightning in dark skies
I love to brighten up dark lives
and rid sad hearts of lonely cries.

I have one fierce enemy, despair,
all driven energy, forever there,
rips hearts apart and doesn’t care.

I care. Let’s walk together now,
help me to help, to grow and thrive
and let the future shine alive.

Despair would murder it and make you
guilty. Let’s talk now as we walk and see
the future reaching out to you and me.

Our skies are brightening up today.
I love your company, dear friend,
and always will, come what may.

I dream of being the living song
everyone would love to sing.
Impossible? No. That’s me. Let’s keep walking

until both our hearts are singing.

by Brendan Kennelly

© Brendan Kennelly, 2009

Much of Brendan Kennelly’s poetry gives voice to others and otherness. Whether through masks or personae, dramatic monologues or riddles, his poems inhabit other lives, other beings and other ways of being in the world.

The riddling poems of Reservoir Voices (Bloodaxe Books, 2009) of which ‘Hope’ is one, add a further dimension to these explorations, inspired by an autumn sojourn in America where he would sit by the edge of a reservoir, trying to cope with loneliness by contemplating black swans, blue waves, seagulls, trees and rocks:

‘It was in that state of fascinated dislocation, of almost mesmerised emptiness, that the voices came with suggestions, images, memories, delights, horrors, rhythms, insights and calm, irrefutable insistence that it was they who were speaking, not me. To surrender to loneliness is to admit new presences, new voices into that abject emptiness. So I wrote down what I heard the voices say and, at moments, sing.’

To find out more about Brendan Kennelly and to watch videos of him reading from his work – including ‘Hope’, click here.

Founded in Newcastle in 1978, Bloodaxe Books is one of Britain’s leading independent poetry publishers. Internationally renowned for quality in literature and excellence in book design, its authors and books have won virtually every major literary award given to poetry. Details of all Bloodaxe’s publications, plus sample video and audio clips of poets reading their work, can be found here.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.