Project Description

One Very Special Day

(for Lillis Ó Laoire)

I remember one long-time-ago Sunday. One of those eternal summer Sundays. I went on a jaunt in a blue car. A journey to the light.

Time and tide were banished, along with the clock and the calendar. I was driving in eternity; a god in exile.

It was hot. In the unfathomable depths of the heavens I dipped the sponge of my imagination and when later I squeezed it what came trickling out was poetry. Poetry that moistened and cooled.

The grass was singing and whistling in the trees. The birds were greening in the fields. The clouds bleated in the meadows. Not a sheep could be seen in the sky.

I came across a stream that was dying of thirst. I started to cry and it recovered quickly. I gave a lift to a little hill walking by the side of the road. He said he was doing a course in mountain rescue. I remember that he left his mist-cap behind him in the car.

But the wind that I met on the top of the Glen told me she was going that way later and that she would bring the cap back to him. The poor old wind. I came upon her suddenly. She was naked. But as soon as she saw me she drew the air around her shyly and spoke to me gently.

They were all equally kind. The stones invited me to sit in their company and from their garrulous hush I learned what silence is. I listened to a little flower playing a sonata on its petal piano, music that delighted my nose. The lake took a picture of me.

And daytime, light’s master of ceremonies, I’ll always remember him. He was so polite and mannerly in going about his business; attending to my every need. He did not shut the door or draw the curtains until I told him I was going home. He worked overtime just for me.

And night-time accompanied me home, her smooth slender body rustling around me, the black skies of her dress sparkling at me. She beguiled me with her singing.

I remember a long-time-ago Sunday and although it has been utterly destroyed since then:

I still believe in miracles.


Cathal Ó Searcaigh

Cathal Ó Searcaigh is one of the most significant poets of modern Irish. He was born in the Donegal Gaeltacht, studied at the National Institute for Higher Education in Limerick, and worked for a time in radio and television in Dublin before returning home to live and work as a full-time writer in Gort an Choirce.

His earliest work, of the ‘70s, explores the tension between alienation and liberation for a rural emigrant in the anonymity of a large city, a tension resolved in the more mature work that followed in the ‘80s, where the rural homeplace provides a sense of community and tradition, an intimate connection with the natural world, and a meaningful public role for a poet, in keeping with the older Gaelic tradition.

Although his more recent work is leaner and occasionally harsher, there is an exuberance of language and feeling throughout most of Ó Searcaigh’s work, an openness to the world and a broad range of acknowledged and submerged influences, including William Wordsworth and John Clare, the Liverpool poets and the Beats, Asian poetry, both ancient and contemporary, and Irish poetry in both languages.

—Poem from Leabhar na hAthghabhála / Poems of Repossession, Bloodaxe Books, 2016