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Nov 2020
( for Michael Hartnett )

penny in a puddle
year of my birth

I pocket it
as the poet passes
cap in hand

this brilliant man
sculpted from sadness
loneliness falling like rain

he goes to greet me
knowing he knows me
but my face escapes him

I only ever meet him
when the drink has
taken him prisoner

inside his head
haiku breed
" maggots!" he says..." maggots!"

"I don't want your company
or your pity!" he snarls
"Just the price of a pint!"

I have only
the old puddle penny I've found
I give him my coat

he puts his hat on
his head
at a rakish angle

the tree flies away
the bird hangs still in the air
neon scribbles on the puddles
The title is taken from one of Michael's poems as is the idea of a tree flying away leaving the bird in mid-air! It always greatly amused me. The only other time I had gone to hear him read and he was too drunk to perform. I had to get a last bus back to the Curragh and by then I think he got around to reading. He had asked me if I wrote poetry too and when I said I do he said "Ahhh then....I pity you!"
Donall Dempsey
Written by
Donall Dempsey  Guildford
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