“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Event: Poetry Day Ireland

There isn’t generally much call for poetry on Crime Always Pays, but today is Poetry Day Ireland, and Sophie Hannah (right) – best-selling crime novelist, prize-winning poet – will be reading with Paul Perry – one half of crime-writing duo Karen Perry – at Green Street Courthouse in Smithfield at 7pm this very evening. For all the details, clickety-click here.
  Meanwhile, and for the day that’s in it, here’s a couple of poems for your delectation …
Jigsaw

Scatter the pieces on the floor
And put away the box.
Begin again, from memory,
For the pure joy of fingering blind

And the soft fitting together.
Each shape its own thing,
Awkward tongue and teardrop groove,
Only ever snug in its singular place.

Like words, they are, these pieces
Of Arctic Scene With Polar Bear and Seal,
Sifting down out of perfect silence
To settle perfectly blank as snow.


Sorokos

In the Cyclades the light has a brutal purity
Slicing through to the meaning of Pi
So that the world seems hyper-aware,
Self-conscious without ever becoming shy

Like a half-wild cat or empty stage.
They say the Sahara is where it begins,
The sorokos, and grains of sand carried north
To polish the light from within

And set the very molecules a-tremble
In a shimmering dance of rock and sea
That renders the stark and barren reality
An intense, voluptuous dream.

In the islands your itinerary becomes a haiku
Where you relinquish the need for rhyme,
Prismed in the dazzling brilliance of a sliver
Of mirror smashed long before your time.


Bunks

A pirate ship, an upstairs cave,
A reading den or castle sunk,
An indoor treehouse under pixie leaf –
O the possibilities of an upstairs bunk!

The upper an orphanage and menagerie
Of teddies, puppies, tigers and dolls,
The lower a bridge strung with pink fairy lights
To dazzle those ever-lurking trolls.

It was heaven up there and we on the lower
Singing our tuck-in lullabies by night
To those guardian angels who stayed to watch o’er
In the darkest hours before dawn’s early light.

O the possibilities of an upstairs bunk!
And the hope that perhaps tempted fate –
How sad the math of two bunks, one child,
And the vacuum of an impossible weight.

Now and again she would softly sigh
As only a six-year-old can sigh
And wish she had a sister. But Lily –
We tried, my love, O how we tried.

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