I’m a great believer in the importance of rewarding oneself when a tough task has been completed. Today has been one of those days when I managed to post off a project I’ve been slaving over for the last while so I indulged myself with a long sit down with the programme for this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival. Sheer bliss!
The Festival, which is due to run from August 10th-19th, looks like it will be an absolute cracker and, as usual, ‘arts’ is taken in a very broad sense so there is a huge range of different shows, exhibitions, concerts, talks ….. and poetry readings.
To my absolute delight I discovered that Paul Durcan, who has to be Ireland’s most entertaining poet, is returning to Kilkenny this year. I was fortunate enough to hear him read, or watch him perform, when he was last at the Festival in 2010. The mere thought of that evening still makes me chuckle.
I bought a book of his poems after the reading at the Watergate and here is one that I especially like.
Little Old Lady
Mummy shrank as she grew older.
After Daddy died, she became so small
She began to look like a little girl
And, after a period of grief,
To disport like a little girl – the little girl
In the photograph album of 1927
Making hay in Mayo, raking, tossing it,
In the summer before her twelfth birthday.
At seventy-three she beat her way out of the lethargy
Of old age and she began to hop about
Not only the apartment but the city streets,
Beginning conversations with strangers at bus stops
And hanging out in the new space-age shopping centres.
From a sports shop catalogue she purchased
A steel-and-rope trapeze, which she installed
In a niche over the kitchen door.
“Its compact,” she confided one lunchtime.
“It folds up and folds down like a dream.”
After I’d washed up and dried the dishes
She demonstrated it and teasingly
Tried to persuade me to buy one for myself.
On the morning of her eightieth birthday,
When I’d brought her a gift of a bucket of begonia,
To my chagrin she showed only
A perfunctory interest in my begonia,
Which I had gone to some trouble to purchase.
Instead she stood on the seat of her trapeze
Mocking me as she swung to and fro,
Her little white tennis skirt fluttering
Above her matchstick knees. She cackled:
“Now what do you think of your little old lady?
Do you think she’s surplus to requirements?
Well, don’t think I’m fishing for compliments.”
So, if you think you’ve earned a browse through the Kilkenny Arts Festival Programme, here’s the link http://www.kilkennyarts.ie/events/. Be sure to say ‘hello’ when we meet at Paul Durcan’s reading!