I think I have written in these years in this blog about Brendan Kennelly, the famous Irish poet, playwright and teacher of English at the Trinity College,Dublin.
I have never been able to find him via internet but in the 90's I had exchanged a couple of letters with him in which he encouraged me about a poem I had written and sent him when, for me, writing in English seemed almost preposterous, let alone thinking about being published. Brendan Kennelly has always represented for me a sort of spontaneouly riotous and brilliant and explosive poetic energy. I have seven or eight collections of his poetry, what is most impressive is "Poetry My Arse" published in 1995. Today I relived the atmosphere of this collection because I decided to read a simple and powerful poem from it to the students of my classes hoping they would develop some reflection out of it.
I enclose the poem here, the inverted commas in the title and at the beginning and end of the text itself suggest maybe that the words should be considered as reported from some source, I am always wondering which, any idea?
“We failed the mountains” by BRENDAN KENNELLY
“The mountains have always been our friends.
They gave us snow and rain.
They gave the sun a chance to do all
in its power for us. It did.
We gave the mountains names
to do them justice. Touching heaven
is a mountain’s justice.
We learned green and light and rock from them,
were educated by their ice.
They gave us dreams, more than we ever dared
to take, follow, be tested by. We couldn’t handle their generosity.
They instructed us in kinship and difference
of waterfall and stream.
We let ourselves down.
We failed the mountains.
They wanted to make us real
but we’d rather be anonymous
victims of the ever-deepening All-American Scream.”