O poeta Michael Higgins presidente de Irlanda

Reconforta coñecer a nova de que un poeta chega á presidencia da República de Irlanda. Se eu fose irlandés talvez o meu voto iría para Martin McGuiness, dos republicanos nacionalistas do Sinn Féin (Nós Mesmos), cos que xa se ralacionaban os vellos galeguistas das primeiras décadas do século. Malia ser un cargo honorífico ou representativo, de escaso poder político, agrada saber que o noveno presidente da historia da república irlandesa, que venceu tamén ás enquisas, contra todo prognóstico, é o poeta Michael Higgins, de 70 anos de idade, que foi candidato polo Partido Laborista (Labour Party), onde representa a tendencia esquerdista. Seica Higgins xa levaba máis de corenta anos na política activa, primeiro no conservador Fianna Fáil e xa logo no laborismo. Exministro de Cultura, activista pro dereitos humanos na época das ditaduras en Nicaragua ou Chile, mais tamén contra as guerras en Irak ou Somalia, compromiso que o fixo merecedor do Premio da Paz Séan McBride. No terreo cultural foi o impulsor da canle de televisión en gaélico irlandés TG4. Publicou as obras The Betrayal (Galway, Salmon Publishing, 1990); The Season of Fire (Tralee, Co. Kerry, Brandon, 1993) e An Arid Season (Dublin, New Island Books, 2004), así como a antoloxía New and Selected Poems.
Descoñezo se está traducido ao español ou ao portugués (haberá que preguntarlle ao noso amigo Martín Veiga, poeta noiés, xa case irlandés de Cork). No entanto, velaquí un coñecido e longo poema seu en inglés.
The Betrayal. A poem for my father
By Michael D Higgins
This man is seriously ill,
The doctor had said a week before,
Calling for a wheelchair.
It was
After they rang me
To come down and persuade you
To go in
Condemned to remember your eyes
As they met mine in that moment
Before they wheeled you away.
It was one of my final tasks,
To persuade you to go in,
A Judas chosen not by Apostles
But by others more broken;
And I was in part,
Relieved when they wheeled you from me,
Down the corridor, confused,
Without a backwards glance
And when I had done it,
I cried, out onto the road,
Hitching a lift to Galway and away
From the trouble of your
Cantankerous old age
And rage too,
At all that had in recent years
Befallen you.
All week I waited to visit you
But when I called, you had been moved
To where those dying too slowly
Were sent,
A poorhouse no longer known by that name,
But in the liberated era of Lemass,
Given a saint’s name, ’St. Joseph’s’.
Was he Christ’s father,
Patron saint of the Worker,
The mad choice of some pietistic politician?
You never cared.
Nor did you speak too much.
You had broken an attendant’s glasses,
The holy nurse told me,
When you were admitted.
Your father is a very difficult man,
As you must know. And Social Welfare is slow
And if you would pay for the glasses,
I would appreciate it.
It was 1964, just after optical benefit
Was rejected by DeValera for poorer classes
In his Republic, who could not afford,
As he did,
To travel to Zurich
For their regular tests and their
Rimless glasses.
It was decades earlier
You had brought me to see him
Pass through Newmarket-on-Fergus
As the brass and reed band struck up,
Cheeks red and distended to the point
Where a child’s wonder was as to whether
They would burst as they blew
Their trombones.
The Sacred Heart Procession and De Valera,
You told me, were the only occasions
When their instruments were taken
From the rusting, galvanized shed
Where they stored them in anticipation
Of the requirements of Church and State.
Long before that, you had slept,
In ditches and dug outs,
Prayed in terror at ambushes
With others who later debated
Whether De Valera was lucky or brilliant
In getting the British to remember
That he was an American,
And that debate had not lasted long
In concentration camps in Newbridge
And the Curragh, Where mattresses were burned,
As the gombeens decided that the new State
Was a good thing,
Even for business.
In the dining room of St. Joeseph’s
The potatoes were left in the middle of the table
In a dish, towards which
You and many other Republicans
Stretched feeble hands that shook.
Your eyes were bent as you peeled
With the long thumb-nail I had often watched
Scrape a pattern on the leather you had
Toughened for our shoes,
Your eyes when you looked at me
Were a thousand miles away,
Now totally brocken,
Unlike those times even
Of rejection, when you went at sixty
For jobs you never got,
Too frail to load vans, or manage
The demands of selling.
And I remember
When you came back to me,
Your regular companion of such occasions,
And they said, They think that I’m too old
For the job. I said I was fifty-eight
But they knew I was past sixty.
A body ready for transportation,
Fit only for a coffin, that made you
Too awkward
For death at home.
The shame of a coffin exit
Through a window sent you here,
Where my mother told me you asked
Only for her to place her cool hand
Under your neck.
And I was there when they asked
Would they give you a Republican Funeral,
In that month when you died,
Between the end of the First Programme for
Economic Expansion
And the Second.
I look at your photo now,
Taken in the beginning of bad days,
With your surviving mates
In Limerick.
Your face haunts me as do these memories;
And all these things have been scraped
In my heart,
And I can never hope to forget
What was, after all,
A betrayal.

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