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Addio a Derek Mahon | L’Altrove

È morto all’età di 78 anni il poeta irlandese Derek Mahon.

Celebre per la frase che ci sta accompagnando ormai da mesi, Andrà tutto bene, tratta dalla sua poesia Everything Is Going to be All Right, Mahon è stato uno dei maggiori poeti irlandesi degli ultimi anni.

Tutta la sua attività poetica si può definire come uno slancio verso qualcosa di più grande, di atteso. La raccolta, forse più famosa, Night-crossing è testimone dei temi malinconici, di alienamento e ironia che hanno caratterizzato la sua produzione. Il professore e saggista Enrico Reggiani ha studiato la poetica di Mahon nel suo libro In attesa della vita Introduzione alla poetica di Derek Mahon pubblicato per la casa editrice Vita e Pensiero.

Lo ricordiamo oggi con alcune poesie:

Poesie di Derek Mahon

Afterlives (for James Simmons)


I wake in a dark flat
To the soft roar of the world.
Pigeons neck on the white
Roofs as I draw the curtains
And look out over London
Rain-fresh in the morning light.

This is our element, the bright
Reason on which we rely
For the long-term solutions.
The orators yap, and guns
Go off in a back street;
But the faith doesn’t die

That in our time these things
Will amaze the literate children
In their non-sectarian schools
And the dark places be
Ablaze with love and poetry
When the power of good prevails.

What middle-class shits we are
To imagine for one second
That our privileged ideals
Are divine wisdom, and the dim
Forms that kneel at noon
In the city not ourselves.


I am going home by sea
For the first time in years.
Somebody thumbs a guitar
On the dark deck, while a gull
Dreams at the masthead,
The moon-splashed waves exult.

At dawn the ship trembles, turns
In a wide arc to back
Shuddering up the grey lough
Past lightship and buoy,
Slipway and dry dock
Where a naked bulb burns;

And I step ashore in a fine rain
To a city so changed
By five years of war
I scarcely recognize
The places I grew up in,
The faces that try to explain.

But the hills are still the same
Grey-blue above Belfast.
Perhaps if I’d stayed behind
And lived it bomb by bomb
I might have grown up at last
And learnt what is meant by home.

Lives (for Seamus Heaney)

First time out
I was a torc of gold
And wept tears of the sun.

That was fun
But they buried me
In the earth two thousand years

Till a labourer
Turned me up with a pick
In eighteen fifty-four.

Once I was an oar
But stuck in the shore
To mark the place of a grave

When the lost ship
Sailed away. I thought
Of Ithaca, but soon decayed.

The time that I liked
Best was when
I was a bump of clay

In a Navaho rug,
Put there to mitigate
The too god-like

Perfection of that
Merely human artifact.
I served my maker well —

He lived long
To be struck down in
Denver by an electric shock

The night the lights
Went out in Europe
Never to shine again.

So many lives,
So many things to remember!
I was a stone in Tibet,

A tongue of bark
At the heart of Africa
Growing darker and darker…

It all seems
A little unreal now,
Now that I am

An anthropologist
With my own
Credit card, dictaphone,

Army-surplus boots
And a whole boatload
Of photographic equipment.

I know too much
To be anything any more;
And if in the distant

Future someone
Thinks he has once been me
As I am today,

Let him revise
His insolent ontology
Or teach himself to pray.

The Terminal Bar (for Philip Haas)

The television set hung
in its wire-net cage,
protected from the flung
bottles of casual rage,
is fetish and icon
providing all we want
of magic and redemption,
routine and sentiment.
The year-old tinsels hang
where an unclaimed no-hoper
trembles; fly-corpses cling
to the grimy flypaper.
Manhattan snows swarm
on star-boxed waters,
steam trails from warm
subway ventilators . . .
Welcome to the planet,
its fluorescent beers
buzzing in the desolate
silence of the spheres.
Slam the door and knock
the snow from your shoe,
admit that the vast dark
at last defeated you.
Nobody found the Grail
or conquered outer space;
join the clientele
watching itself increase.

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