A Poem Written after Reading Anne Casey’s “In Memoriam II: The Draper”
Originally from the west of Ireland, Anne Casey is an award-winning Sydney-based poet, journalist and editor. She is author of Where the Lost Things Go (Ediciones Salmon Poetry, 20217) and Out of Emptied Cups (Salmon Poetry, 2019).
Poet, essayist, and translator, Indran Amirthanayagam was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He was raised in Sri Lanka, London, and Honolulu. Amirthanayagam has authored numerous poetry collections, including The Elephants of Reckoning (1993), Ceylon, R.I.P. (2001), The Splintered Face (2008), Uncivil War (2013), Coconuts on Mars (2019), The Migrant States (2020), Sur l’ile nostalgique (2020), and Lírica a tiempo (2020).
Instead of a review on the poetry by Anne Casey, Amirthanayagam decided to honour her works and our webpage on contemporary Irish literature by writing a poem as a reaction to one of Casey’s best-known works, “In Memoriam II: The Draper”:
Global Village You are sitting behind the counter at the shop of all sorts. Everybody pops in at some point in the day to share a confidence, to buy some sugar, to get the news of the boy next door. You know everything and everyone of course, who is sleeping with whom, who claims an extra child on his taxes, who won the religion prize at the primary school. You are the living historian, ombudsman and woman, seamless glue, necessary spark and fount to keep the community humming So when you decided to shutter up and join your daughter in America I don't know what sprite had punctured your mind, to sacrifice all that you held in your hands, to retire, to cross the dark sea and land in some linguistic trick, New Amsterdam, New York New Rochelle, New England and all the remaking you can entertain, including dropping of the apron, the brogue, the old confidence to learn how to negotiate a few hundred channels on television, a doctor who does not come home, a supermarket with produce from India, Korea and Japan. and a certain frankness, young women in skin tight running suits, men expected to keep their eyes away but don't. Now, that at least has not changed across the water, and I must admit even at home in Galway or Dublin, wherever you look the world's goods are stacked on the shelves, and the paddy Indians are most welcome as well. Indran Amirthanayagam February 28, 2021