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Poetry Reading: Martin Dyar

The Boyne Music Festival is delighted to present an hour of poetry with poet Martin Dyar. Martin will read a poem commissioned specially for this year's Festival as well as selections from his collection Maiden Names, a book described as follows by the poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin:

“Martin Dyar is a poet writing close to the bones and stones of a real Ireland. In Maiden Names, a landscape, and its animals, people, ghosts, are pinned down, probed and revealed in sharp, often witty language.  A whole authentic society whose citizens include souterrains and badgers, nurses and handball-players, is held steady in an unpredictable but convincing vision, where the ‘pike swims under the otter and the otter dives into the moon’ and a psychic refuses to tell his bodyguard about his visions at Knock.”

A graduate of NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, Martin’s poetry has received a number of honours, including the 2009 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award and the 2001 Strokestown International Poetry Award. In 2010 he was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. He has also been the recipient of two Irish Arts Council Literature Bursary Awards. This year, supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Culture Ireland, Martin was a writer in residence at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. 


In There

The swollen mare, an animate hillside dolmen,

was the warmest thing in the field.

In the rain we approached her

with the vet who would insert his arm

into the tight cave of her life,

under her tail, in there, where I imagined

tongues of Braille-flesh spoke things on his hand

that my parents paid him to translate.


And I could not imagine her insides as dark.

I thought there had to be something there,

clearer than daylight, the stuff and the place

so profound to be said of, life comes from.

She groaned but stood still, an inconvenienced

yet tolerant oracle in our inquiring midst.


Sunk to his shoulder in hot equine encasement,

the vet fixed his eye on the distance and read.

And then, the check-up complete, his sheathed arm

glistening with the grease of horse health,

he smoked and spoke to my parents.


With the sight of the mare’s soaked oak neck,

big veins there like suede worms,

my eight year old mind pulsed,

her mane of treacle laces, her bulbous inky eyes,

maternal in ways that made me feel safe and sad.


Drizzle drifted through

where steam from her body met

our visible breaths,

two clouds of creaturely presence

diffusing together in February light.


Pleased, we descended the hill,

my ankles weak upon the hoof craters,

the Lilliputian castles of manure

unmade by Mayo weather; the rain

falling steadily upon

the ocean of sympathy that was

that sacred word, foal.


                                                            Martin Dyar



Entrance to this poetry reading is included in the purchase of a Sunday evening Closing Concert ticket. No extra charge.