This word tapping down
Into sacred rites,
Things laid out before our gods.
Against all the odds
Again the stranger
Open to the stranger’s face.
A toast and embrace
Repairing two words,
Our glasses raised, our eating
In tents of meeting,
A trust-mended pledge.
The host as guest, the guest host.
by Micheal O’Siadhail
© Micheal O’Siadhail, 2010
‘Feast’ is the third part of a sequence entitled ‘Triad’, and is taken from Tongues (Bloodaxe Books, 2010).
Micheal O’Siadhail won the Marten Toonder Prize for Literature in 1998. He is a freelance writer, and was formerly a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and a professor at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. His academic works include Learning Irish and Modern Irish, whilst his published poetry collections include Poems: 1975-1995 (Bloodaxe, 1999), and The Gossamer Wall: Poems in witness to the Holocaust (Bloodaxe, 2002). You can watch O’Siadhail read some of his poems here, and read more about him here.
Language pervades our world, the media, our relationships, minds and hearts. We learn it and we pass it on. In Tongues, the book from which ‘Feast’ comes, Micheal O’Siadhail delights in language and shares its wonder and fascination.
Like a genetic code, language brings human life over thousands of years into the present. It unites the personal and the social, allows for continuity and novelty and can arouse the strongest passions.
In Tongues, O’Siadhail explores individual words, plays with grammar, and meditates on pictograms and the distilled meaning of proverbs across cultures. The variety of forms from sonnets to complex rhyming and syllabic patterns matches the thematic richness.
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.