The Kilkenny Arts Festival is a major highlight in my year and my first thought is always about the poets who will be reading there.
As I opened the Programme for this year, I thought of the wondrous evening in 2009 when I sat spellbound, just weeks after my mother’s death, listening to Seamus Heaney read as if I was the only person in St. Canice’s Cathedral. Nothing will ever take away that precious memory.
I pondered on just what poet could take my breath away even half as much as Seamus Heaney and doubted that anyone could.
However, I felt a frantic beating of my heart when I saw that Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the US (2001-2003), will be reading at this year’s Festival. To tell the truth, I did about ten double-takes and re-checks just to be sure to be sure that it is THE Billy Collins whom I’ve come to love with a grand passion since being well introduced to him on my poetry thread on Linkedin.
While I don’t want to wish the Summer away, I can’t wait for August 16th at the Parade Tower of Kilkenny Castle. What I would give to have a chance to talk with this man who has written so many poems that I adore. I can feel Seamus Heaney smiling as I write this. Well, you might, Seamus; but no matter what you’ll always be my number one!
Walking Across the Atlantic
I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.
Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.
But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.