This is Liam Guilar's Blog, mostly about poetry, mine and other people's, and anything else of interest. Over the years it has unintentionally developed into an online poetry resource, check the names in the sidebar but Bunting, Yeats, Pound, Joyce, Tennyson and the medieval poets get fair coverage. Lady Godiva and Me is a sequence of poems that linked Lady Godiva, both the historical Godgifu and the legendary Lady G, to a character growing up in the city of Coventry after the second world war.
You can see a short film about the collection Here.
Further information, full length articles and sample poems are available on my website Here .
This poem, by John Hewitt, should be better known, so as it's today of all days, I'd like to post it here. For an Irishman in Coventry, and his English wife. My Apologies to anyone if it infringes copyright.
An Irishman in Coventry
A full year since, I took this eager city, the tolerance that laced its blatant roar, its famous steeples and its web of girders, as image of the state hope argued for, and scarcely flung a bitter thought behind me on all that flaws the glory and the grace which ribbons through the sick, guilt-clotted legend of my creed-haunted, godforsaken race. My rhetoric swung round from steel’s high promise to the precision of the well-gauged tool, tracing the logic in the vast glass headlands, the clockwork horse, the comprehensive school. Then, sudden, by occasion’s chance concerted, in enclave of my nation, but apart, the jigging dances and the lilting fiddle stirred the old rage and pity in my heart. The faces and the voices blurring round me, the strong hands long familiar with the spade, the whiskey-tinctured breath, the pious buttons, called up a people endlessly betrayed by our own weakness, by the wrongs we suffered in that long twilight over bog and glen, by force, by famine and by glittering fables which gave us martyrs when we needed men, by faith which had no charity to offer, by poisoned memory, and by ready wit, with poverty corroded into malice, to hit and run and howl when it is hit. This is our fate: eight hundred years’ disaster, crazily tangled as the Book of Kells; the dream’s distortion and the land’s division, the midnight raiders and the prison cells. Yet like Lir’s children, banished to the waters, our hearts still listen for the landward bells.
– John Hewitt
In my head it's grouped for some reason with Paul Brady's "Nothing But the Same Old Story", which he would never have endorsed: