Thursday 20 July 2017

Contradiction of civilised men in a barbarian culture

Cartoon by Jim Cogan
Cartoon by Jim Cogan
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

In an interview I did with him for this paper in 2014, to mark the publication of a new collection of poetry, Body and Soul, Anthony Cronin recalled a poem of his which contained the lines, "over the bridge to Searson's for a pint, or further on to Mirrelson's for a bet".

He had "decided simply that these things were poetic", he recalled. "I like the sense of wasted time in it, because that was the principal thing you got from a bookie's shop wasn't it? You didn't get money, but you got a great sense of time passing and wasted ineffectually…"

There are many highly-regarded Irish writers who came after Cronin, but when the tributes to them are written, there will probably be few, if any, references to the amount of time they "wasted ineffectually" in pubs and betting offices, time they actually enjoyed wasting for no specific reason except that some day maybe it might give them a line for a poem.

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