Poems by Michael Coady
The Jupiter Epiphany
It’s Florrie’s turn, piano woman, songster,
this calm nightfall with fade up of stars,
feast of Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchior.
She’s lifted on men’s shoulders at the threshold
of the chapel, with a pause for priest to greet
and bless with holy water, as in baptism;
confluence here of omega and alpha.
Recall the cadence of the town hall piano,
the temperamental mike, the songs, the nights,
the nicotine and brandy timbre of the voice.
Now Florrie’s all sung out, but sporting
still the rouge, the lipstick and mascara,
the jewelled fingers that set men and women dancing
through their given times, their orbits of the sun.
Tonight for her this rite of word and water,
under great Jupiter, remote yet clear,
marking time over a river town,
a door of light, an earthling on men’s shoulders.
See the planet gleam above the belfry
and envision sarabande of its Galilean moons;
Europa, Ganymede, Io, Callisto…
Florrie is laid before altar, font and crib,
until tomorrow’s rituals of otherworld and earth.
For company tonight she has silence and the dark,
holy family, shepherds, animals and kings.
Remembered music is the gift she brings --
those nights the slicked and scented took the floor
for her Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.
Diana In The Tide
One evening by the river
a fisherman drew me aside
gestured towards water, earth and sky
and parsed for me
his syntax of the tides,
the neaps, the springs
and how the moon
was deeply implicated.
in the conspiring dusk
it dawned on me
that deepdown in his eyes
the fisherman implied
it was the river and the tides
that brought about
the moon’s remaking.
I stopped to think on this
beside the dark floodtide,
saw the waxing goddess
wavering within it.
Michael Coady lives in the town of his birth, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary and was elected in 1998 to Aosdána, the affiliation of artists under the aegis of the Arts Council of Ireland. His Oven Lane and Other Poems was recently republished in a new edition by Gallery Press. It joins Coady’s unique All Souls, One Another and Going By Water, each book of the trilogy integrating and orchestrating his poetry, prose and photography. A self-styled “lapsed trombone player”, he has also been involved in music of various kinds and published a personal memoir of the Clare traditional musicians Pakie and Micho Russell, and an illustrated miscellany of short prose work (Full Tide, Relay Books, 1999).
Coady’s published and broadcast work includes critically-admired memoir of family migration and displacement in America. He has been awarded the Patrick Kavanagh and the O’Shaughnessy prizes for poetry. In Spring 2005 he held the Heimbold Chair in Irish Studies at Villanova University, Pennsylvania and in 2008 a writing residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.