Poems by Simon Darragh
Simon Darragh writes mainly formal lyrics that display a distinct philosophical, even metaphysical, bent. Over the last few years his poems have appeared in a wide variety of leading poetry magazines, both in this country and in the U.S.A. A slim volume, Poems for Alonnisos, was published by Hearing Eye in 1993. A few years ago he came to the attention of Peterloo by winning 1st prize in the Peterloo Open Poetry Competition when one of the judges was Anthony Thwaite. The winning poem ‘The Winches’ is included in Foreign Correspondence.
After a variety of jobs – porter in a geriatric hospital, theatre scene shifter, Electron Microscope Technician, sound effects operator at the Oxford Playhouse – both before and after obtaining a degree in Philosophy, Simon Darragh visited for the first time in 1980 the Greek island of Alonnisos. He was immediately offered a job by the worst of the local builders and, deciding that Greece was his real home, has lived there ever since, earning his living as a plumber, teacher of Greek to foreigners; and guitar to anyone. He has played jazz trumpet and saxophone in the tavernas and bouzouki and clarinet behind the screen for a Karagiozi (shadow puppet) show. But mostly he has worked as a go-between and general organiser for foreign villa-owners who cannot understand Greek, Greece or Greeks. He considers writing poetry the most ‘important’ thing that he does. Foreign Correspondence is his first full collection.
The column that is cracking is the one
recently repaired with iron ties;
note the derrick’s reticent disguise;
the colour of the limestone in the sun.
On this particular piece of rock – just there,
between the orange-peel and cola tin -
Socrates stood – a short, fat man; no hair -
and listened to his accusers – some of them
ex-pupils, or ex-lovers – by that bin,
marked ‘Demos Athinaon’ – curse, condemn.
Unforgiving still, the city grows,
fed on “Alcibiades’ Fast Food”;
old passions, once renounced, can’t be renewed,
as Plato guessed, and Papandreou knows.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Millais J: The Order of Release 1746. ©Tate Gallery, London, 1999.
Publication: SPRING 2000 (79 pages laminated paperback)