NEWCASTLE West poet Mike Mac Domhnaill has spoken of his delight at being recognised in the recent Francis Ledwidge poetry competition in Dublin.
Earlier this month Mr Mac Domhnaill received a commendation for his bitter sweet poem ‘Minimal Living’, which is dedicated to a long-deceased old friend from West Limerick.
Mr Mac Domhnaill said that he was personally proud of the dual resonance of the occasion – the competition is dedicated to Ledwidge, the County Meath poet who was killed at the age of 30 at the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917; and the ceremony took place in Inchicore, one-time home of famed Newcastle West poet Michael Harnett.
“I was delighted, of course. It’s nice to be recognised. Ledwidge is someone I look up to – in a way, he epitomises the tragedy of that time. He was a man who went off to fight for the freedom of small nations, but he didn’t come back”.
Mr Mac Domhnaill said that ‘Minimal Living’ is a based on memories of conversations he shared with his old friend Willie Cregan from Dungeeha, who passed away almost two decades ago. A friendly, jovial character “whose door was always open”, in the poem Mr Mac Domhnaill reflects on time in the company of a friend content with his place in the world.
‘That was the way we operated/a door open to the north like the wren/and at the long table you held forth on Dan Breen (one of the few books)/ ‘He showed ‘em boy’!/ The old photograph of your uncle, flamboyant as a Volunteer/ revolver in hand, dare-devil smile, killed in the Civil War’.
Mr Mac Domhnaill is also the author of an Irish-English collection of poetry Widow’s Son/Mac Baintrí.