RIP Michael Donaghy

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Sad and shocking news. One of my favourite poets, it's hard to believe he won't write any more. And I missed the chance to see him read again only a few weeks ago...

Archel (Archel), Monday, 20 September 2004 08:41 (eighteen years ago) link


This is a cheapjack gift at the years end.
This is a double-glazing hymn for wind.
This is a palm frond held out to a friend
Who holds her lifeline lightly in her hand.

As fine sand filaments the unclenched hand
Or leaves the palm grit-filmed but crazed, lines end
Across prismatic windscreens. Every friend
A meteorologist's diagram of wind.

Blow smoke into the fist of either hand
And pull it tight and loop it round the end
of every night held up by wine and friend,
Sootflecked and leaning on a London wind.

Then say our ribboned smoke's erased by wind,
Our glass is sand. You start, but in the end,
Somehow, I stay. You stay, somehow, my friend
Who grips me tightest in her open hand.

Archel (Archel), Monday, 20 September 2004 08:57 (eighteen years ago) link

Strange that the article doesn't say how he died...

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 21 September 2004 00:47 (eighteen years ago) link

Only just saw this terrible news. Oddly, I had been thinking about him this weekend. He was a wonderful man: wise, witty, charming and kind.


Ever been tattooed? It takes a whim of iron,
takes sweating in the antiseptic-stinking parlour,
nothing to read but motorcycle magazines
before the blood-sopped cotton, and, of course, the needle,
all for — at best — some Chinese dragon.
But mostly they do hearts,

hearts skewered, blurry, spurting like the Sacred Heart
on the arms of bikers and sailors.
Even in prison they get by with biro ink and broken glass,
carving hearts into their arms and shoulders.
But women's are more intimate. They hide theirs,
under shirts and jeans, in order to bestow them.

Like Tracy, who confessed she'd had hers done
one legless weekend with her ex.
Heart. Arrow. Even the bastard's initials, R.J.L.
somewhere where it hurt, she said,
and when I asked here where, snapped 'Liverpool'.

Wherever it was, she’d had it sliced away
leaving a scar, she said, pink and glassy
but small, and better than having his mark on her,

that self-same mark of Valentinus,
who was flayed for love, but who never
— so the cardinals now say — existed.
Desanctified, apocryphal, like Christopher,
like the scar you never showed me, Trace,
your ( ), your ex, your 'Liverpool'.

Still, when I unwrap the odd anonymous note
I let myself believe that its from you.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Tuesday, 21 September 2004 06:29 (eighteen years ago) link

I had a wee cry reading this one again last night:

The Present

For the present there is just one moon,
though every level pond gives back another.

But the bright disc shining in the black lagoon,
perceived by astrophysicist and lover,

is milliseconds old. And even that light's
seven minutes older than its source.

And the stars we think we see on moonless nights
are long extinguished. And, of course,

this very moment, as you read this line,
is literally gone before you know it.

Forget the here-and-now. We have no time
but this device of wantonness and wit.

Make me this present then: your hand in mine
and we'll live out our lives in it.

Archel (Archel), Tuesday, 21 September 2004 11:11 (eighteen years ago) link

Oh, this is sad, especially knowing that there won't be any more of these wonderful poems from him. Sigh. I'm going to go read some more.

rrrobyn (rrrobyn), Tuesday, 21 September 2004 15:25 (eighteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Argh, I've just discovered this thread and learned that Michael died! How shocking... I knew him at the end of the 80s, when he performed a lot at Terrible Beauty, a club run in Earl's Court by a friend. He was an immensely gifted poet and a tremendously nice person.

Momus (Momus), Sunday, 31 October 2004 23:02 (eighteen years ago) link

"Forget the here-and-now. We have no time
but this device of wantonness and wit."

How many times today is my heart going to crush my throat, eh?

Ann Sterzinger (Ann Sterzinger), Thursday, 4 November 2004 01:51 (eighteen years ago) link

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