Alphabets

Tony Harrison : The Mysteries

The annual Cúirt festival of Literature occurred recently, indeed it has been mentioned before in a series of pieces relating to Current Irish Arts Council Policy which has mitigated against two of three writers organisations in this country. 
 
Anyway, I used attend the Cúirt Festival of Literature up in Galway, it was for me an annual treat and in many ways life-changing because it’s always good to hear the poet, or indeed to see him/her. I met Tony Harrison at one particular reading and it was round the time that he had published his Mysteries.
 
I lost one copy, then replaced it, re-found and loaned one to a friend in Barcelona, indeed we read bits of it on a particularly stormy night which I will never forget (but, I digress……..)
 
The Mysteries were  instigated by the Guilds’  system’ to bring fundamental truths to communities, thus butchers, bakers, candlestick-makers became the passionists of religious communication, before such jolly ideas as a created  Apocrypha or Imprimatur descended into the too rational brains of those who sometime detested the very words that make bibles. (Gosh!!!  two digressions)
 

“A man is like a rusty wheel
On a rusty cart.
He sings his song as he rattles along
And then he falls apart.

And we sing allelujah
At the turning of the year
And we work all day in the old-fashioned way
Till the shining star appears.

A man is like a bramble briar
Covers himself with thorns
He laughs like a clown when his fortunes are down
and his clothes are ragged and torn.”
 

I won’t go on at the moment, I was rather hoping to include some Mary Magdalena who is a physical/spiritual lover in this  bookie.

Thus I will end with a recommendation for readers of serious poetic works : Tony Harrison: the Shadow of Hiroshima and other Film Poems, Faber.