AND THE LANDLORD MAYBEOne of the joys of Dublin life for me is the opportunity to talk to people. I blogged about this briefly before but it's a thrill for me to sit with people, share news, views and just say hello.
as long as you've got the rent
I have never seen a sign which says
- POET WANTED -
all these and more
I suppose it is because
apart from their mammies
nobody really does.
One of the more influential people on my youth was Pat Ingoldsby. Host of Pat's Chat, Pat's Hat, storyteller on Bosco and other poetry related children's TV shows, I completely bestow on him the credit for my love of poetry, of the rhythm and melody of words, of cadence and for looking at ordinary things in an extra-ordinary way.
"I was minding the rain
Until I thought about
Everything having a drink.
The cracked earth
The wet apples
All drinking deep
"God - that's lovely
I didn't mind any more."
These days Pat can be found selling his books to the public, just having a chat with those who are interested in his work.
He's always writing, musing, creating and above all laughing. It is a pleasure to sit with someone I have the utmost respect for both creatively and personally. His views on life and experiences in selling as he does are quite unique.
HIGH POINT/LOW POINT
Week ending 17th May 1998
HIGH POINT: A young Swiss visitor stopped
and said to me - "I carry three poems with me
everywhere I go."
And she took from her back pocket three poems
written by me and lovingly transcribed in her own hand.
"I treasure these" she said.
LOW POINT: Five young Dublin guys
all suntan lotion, shiny shorts and swagger
walked past me and my books on the pier.
One of them said in a voice loud enough for me to hear
- "NO BEGGARS ALLOWED!!"
Thank you Ireland.
You shite on your own.
You always did
You always will.
The thing about Pat's books is that he finances them himself through his sales. He chooses to sell them to avoid the commission but also to meet people. He's got a wicked sense of humour that endears him to many and if there's a community of street traders, beggars, buskers, hawkers and homeless then Pat is a pivotal part. He knows everyone by name and they know him.
I sit and chat with Pat whenever I can. I've got all of his books and treasure them. The poetry contained within inspires me, makes me happy, makes me sad and does everything that poetry is meant to do. I share them when I can. They're a beautiful glimpse into the life of a Dublin poet, who deserves to be a lot more appreciated than he is.
How it wasPat writes movingly and frankly about his times in psychiatric institutions, his battles with depression and his impaired mobility due to having polio as a child. He is a part of Dublin that is rapidly disappearing - like his beloved Malahide which is all but gone.
If any roundy blue plaques
are put up about me
after I die
I would like one
in North Earl Street
that simply says
- PAT INGOLDSBY
FROM HERE -
The stigma of mental illness and his uncompromising refusal to bow to the powers that be at RTÉ have meant he has all but disappeared from the media and therefore from the views of the book-buying public. It's through personal relationships he's cultivated (for example with Des Kenny in Galway) and others he has respect for that his books reach those he doesn't sell to directly.
His own website was created and managed by someone, similar to me, who just stops for a chat with him. I reckon there's a whole little community of us out there.
As we sit there there's often the passers by "Jaysis, that's yer man, you know, from the telly, Pat's Hat", or the Americans looking for dead poets and not appreciating that Ireland still has its storytellers and poets and writers.
His experience of being misquoted by tabloid journalists or having his poems mangled by schoolbook publishers have left him with his personal view of:
"My poems do not need academics or study notes or lectures or any of the other self-serving, ego-massaging stuff which diminishes beauty and stifles wonder.He laments the loss of manners, the too-busy-to-talk syndrome and is constantly amused by the people who stand and look at his books, leaf through them, put them down but never say a word to him.
All my poems need is me. All my poems need is you. It is as simple and beautiful as that."
That's partly why I try to make the effort to.
I get the most amazing book inscriptions too, when all I've done is stop for a second to say hello.
Next time you pass Pat, think about stopping. Read a poem. Buy a book. Make a difference. Say hello.
From his book Beautiful Cracked Eyes
You can buy Pat's books online through Kennys.ie or check out the info on his website.
Interestingly he's got his own little corner of cyberspace. I wonder if I could persuade him to start a blog?
All poems written by Pat Ingoldsby and copyright to him and Willow publications.