Kevin began writing poetry soon after his first meeting with Roy Hart. They stretch now over a period of fifty years and reflect both life and work. A few of them are below with a brief description of how they came about.
1 October 1967 – Hampstead Heath
Between the Singing and the Song
The difference between Right and Wrong
Cascades of flowery notes
Discords and ugly emotes,
Delicacies of butterfly touch
Gasps from panting crutch
Seemingly in touch together
But only tied by silky heather,
haloed with impending doom
Screeching from an earthly tomb;
Am I free,
Or led by internal bumble bee?
This was the first poem I wrote after meeting Roy Hart and his work. I remember walking across Hampstead Heath and coming close to the pond where, on Sundays, enthusiasts would bring their model yachts for a spin, and this poem jumped into my head: I just had to write it down.
1996 – Powerscourt – Co. Wicklow
A solitary black hawk circles
Powerscourt waterfall, Deer Park
In its effortless thrall.
The low winter sun flecks
And studs the pitch-black
Wings: the hawk circles
On the very solar tracks,
Picking its strength from
The rays it swallows
In its charcoaled chest.
And I’m looking down,
But I’m also looking up:
I’m on the edge of vertigo,
And I’m soaring, letting go.
All Wicklow promenades before me:
Greystones, Sugar loafs, the hard
Ridge of Bray, the Dargle Valley.
And beyond, the twin towers of Dublin’s powerstation
The lowering cliffs of Howth, and
The white pinnacle of its lighthouse.
My feet crunch the frosty earth,
My boots ring out the blessing
Of this wintry walk, only my thoughts
Are still, circling with the black hawk’s will.
I leave behind the darkened forest:
The sun straffing its rays through
The venetian blinds of raked pines
And nude conifers: a sun
enfeebled by the sycophantic trunks
Of trees planted in serried ranks.
Up above the tree-line my heart
Thuds in triple time, the sun rims out
Free of the adoring trees. She
stirs the windless air with yellowing sails,
Billow-blows on Powerscourt cataracts.
A walk near Powerscourt waterfall, one of County Wicklow’s favoured spots in Ireland.
Early Spring 2018 – Cima Bottigliano, Pratomagno, Tuscany
Is this the right time to die
And lie on bed of earth?
Is this the right place to fall
And call softly to the swollen turf?
Is this the last person I will see
And greet, as only strangers meet?
The first face I saw is a birth-blur
This final head nods, death dreamt.
The mist that surrounds,
Shrouds and reveals, hides,
Bends the air into wreathes:
Excites, pressures shreds of oxygen
that shiver in the faithful cage of breath.
Today is not the day
This walk is not the place:
These hills resonate only the plaintive bird
And the sudden intrusion of a radio
reciting ‘Match of the Day’.
I was walking on a high ridge on the Pratomagno mountain range, overlooking the Arno river valley, the Chianti mountains and the Casentino that stretch towards the Adriatic. A sudden mist blew in and visibility was almost nil. I knew the path well, so carried on. It is a lonely and often deserted place up there at 1500 metres. Then I heard a distant sound. I couldn’t make it out till I almost fell on a man listening to ‘Match of the day!’