The impression indoors was of comfortable austerity—a room to work, relax, and sleep in. The conversations were punctuated by frequent bursts of laughter, which have been omitted from the printed version—this omission means that the quite lighthearted nature of the event is not as clear as it might be.
Others have done it; others who have been content with a documentary mode have done it better than I would ever do it. No, I was on the floor, it must have been ; I was on the carpet. Those white shoes!
Anyway, this kid—this strange child with a taste for verse—also of course has parents, has a human environment. It was a quiet house. Usually my mother was doing this or that, practical things around the house; while my father was usually out at work, away a forty- or forty-eight-hour week perhaps. He worked in the shipyard. A quiet man. He did the same job with some little promotions for forty years. Belfast was his life. The shipyard was his life. The poem focuses on the paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland in the late s, showing how such action breaks down all semblance of civilization and replaces this with barbarity.
He presents the hunted as crazy and a threat, yet their attempts to kill the man show that they could be referred to this also, as they chase him through bogland and eventually corner him in a lorry yard where they kill him by gunshot. Mahon cannot be anyway certain that his world, plagued with barbarity such as that present in As It Should Be, could ever undergo such a transformation as Rathlin; therefore he is uncertain as to whether his world in the future will be like the island he is leaving behind, or the place he is returning to.
In Raithlin Mahon empathizes with the lives of others, another characteristic of his poetry I admire. I feel that this quality shows Mahon and his work to be of the highest standard as the poet does not rely on his own experiences to create poetry; he can link his own experiences with the world and events around him to create and present messages to his audience. Firstly, like Somhairle is unable to help the women due to his being on the mainland while they are on the island, Mahon cannot help the many being killed in Northern Ireland around him due to an inability to.
However in his case this is because there is such a deeply founded belief that fighting and conflict is the best solution to the problems of the time. Secondly, like Somhairle only hears of the murders after they occur as sound must travel to him , Mahon, like many inhabitants of Northern Ireland only hears of many of the murders some time after they have occurred, due to many of them taking place in hidden times, places and manners like the murder shown in As It Should Be.
Elsewhere, in Grandfather, Mahon speaks of his grandfather and his devotion to his craft. Instead he has a kind of nightmare, a surreal vision which is frightening and sinister.
The nightmarish journey continues into the final stanza. The poem ends on a note of hopelessness and despair. There is no promise of rescue. The context of the poem is the Ulster of the religious preachers and the churchmen which Mahon knew very well, being an Ulster Protestant by birth.
The opening three lines of the poem are full of feeling. Mahon is imagining himself as a member of the preaching classes and he tries in this poer-look closely at his identity as an Ulster Protestant.
The world inhabited by the Ecclesiastes preachers is a grim one. The images in ine 4 and 5 convey this most powerfully. Pleasure of any kind was frowned on. He continues with this train of thought in lines to His tone is very critical.
The red bandana and stick and the ban?This familiar scene is often described in attractive terms by songwriters and painters. Slow and tactile, these make for greater consideration and intimacy, a more personal medium. A friend in New York took one or two Arabic lessons before a trip to Dubai, so maybe they tap his: who knows? He :dges that this is part of his own oo, and we find that he has a very ew of the narrow, life-denying f the culture which formed him.
MAHON There was a certain amount of churchgoing, although they went for the look of the thing—it was expected that you would show your face in church once in a while. And a profoundly hypocritical culture it is too. In stanza three the return journey to Belfast is described. His tone is very critical. Mahon shows his sympathetic nature in the poem with his treatment of Ismay.
Its infinite magic is mostly commercial hype, a recreational mysticism for ever breaking down. But this turned out to be very important because, after a while, my parents were approached by the minister the Church of Ireland minister, I should say, not Presbyterian who asked, Could young Derek hold a tune, would he be interested in having a go with the choir? MAHON There was a certain amount of churchgoing, although they went for the look of the thing—it was expected that you would show your face in church once in a while. Could this be an oblique reference to the political circumstances in which he lived in Northern Ireland? No, I was on the floor, it must have been ; I was on the carpet.
This presents the poet as a man of compassion who uses his poetry to not only comment on far-reaching and mainstream issues such as politics , but also issues of a smaller scale, which he presents as equally important. Mahon is imagining himself as a member of the preaching classes and he tries in this poer-look closely at his identity as an Ulster Protestant. Mahon could be linked to his grandfather through his role as poet, which led him to be somewhat isolated from all around him; the poet was traditionally isolated from society, and this may seen as necessary for Mahon to suitably write about the troubles in the world he lived in. So they had what you might call blue-to-white-collar jobs in these two industries. Concrete poems, typewriter-inspired, have been around for ages; and now we have computer verse written on, to and about computers, besides the old manual stuff. The brief space age is over, at least for now; and the internet too will implode in time if not properly regulated: an old model of production masquerading as new.
Outside the window was a sunny street of brownstones and black railings; from the fenced-in patches of earth around still-leafless trees, dwarf crocuses were pushing up into one of the first truly warm spring days of the year. But high tech introduces, if we let it, a cognitive dissonance between subject and object. His thinking of home while away is evident when considering the poems that he wrote abroad, such as Ecclesiastes, which focuses on the Protestant culture of Northern Ireland, the place he grew up in.
The bed—where the interviewer sat—was a futon resting on the floor. His tone is very critical. A story is told about Mahon as an only child who spent a lot of time alone. His works are not only critical, as has been shown in such parts of this essay as the paragraph on political and religious conflict; when necessary Mahon can sympathize with the problems and strife of various individuals. In fact, with my mother, no harm to her, I think it was pathological. This time it is that of the jrderer — who kills another man ie sees as a just cause.
But since little boys are usually rougher than house-proud mothers, there were times I would deliberately do things to be infuriating—knock over a cup or something. I mean, they were Protestants!
It is a place ;tants and Puritans and Preachers. To engage with the topic at all is to play an insidious game. Others have done it; others who have been content with a documentary mode have done it better than I would ever do it. His imagination had free rein and in the bicycle shed in the garden at home the Mahons also kept coal. The brief space age is over, at least for now; and the internet too will implode in time if not properly regulated: an old model of production masquerading as new.
But this turned out to be very important because, after a while, my parents were approached by the minister the Church of Ireland minister, I should say, not Presbyterian who asked, Could young Derek hold a tune, would he be interested in having a go with the choir?
It has its uses of course, and might even help reactivate the radical politics we left behind with the typewriters. No, I was on the floor, it must have been ; I was on the carpet. Wood to audition him on Wednesday evening.