FROM TREASURES IN MUSEUMS to paintings in galleries and churches, from first impressions of the unfamiliar to fresh takes on the well-known and -loved, the triggers behind the poems in Pat Boran’s seventh collection in the main depart from the poet’s trademark starting point of autobiography.
Instead in Then Again his focus is very much outwards, with the poems comprising a mini Odyssey that takes in parts of Ireland, Paris, Sicily, Cyprus and elsewhere, finding along the way the echoes of earlier discoveries and deeper concerns.
The book’s title acknowledges both the unexpected returns and the subsequent re-evaluations that memory occasions as it makes new connections between present and past, between our personal journeys and our shared fate.
Like two startled meerkats
sensing a predator’s approach –
the return of the king
from some battle, the arrival
of his wayward, ‘inquisitive’ son –
hoping not to be chosen
these two female servants
take a deep breath
then stand so utterly still
that not only the moment
but the greater part of recorded history
passes them by,
all the ugly intentions of the world
muttering to themselves as they vanish
back into the night.
(Female Figurines, circa 1200 BC. Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, Cyprus)
‘Then Again’ is published by the Dedalus Press. Also available on Amazon Kindle