An Taoiseach’s Ode to Self
Four years ago, I took charge
of a country that had forgotten
how to tie its shoe laces; a nation
that no longer knew where
its undergarments were;
the saddest little great country
on this small part of the planet
many of whose people
had woken up to find
themselves on lavatory seats
not of their own making,
and those who hadn’t
could feel something
cold against their faces
and, on opening their eyes, discovered
it was the pavement. With policies got
from the late Herbert Hoover’s crypt
to encourage a flowering of
pound shops all over the country,
we taught the people of Ireland
how to properly wipe
their own rear ends again.
Giving people the confidence
and security to clean themselves
in the privacy of their own bathrooms
is what this Government is all about.
I’m glad to say that some people
are experiencing this as I speak.
Many more don’t yet
have the confidence
to tear off the toilet paper
themselves, and still need our help.
And as my government enters
this new phase of
final collapse, I want to pay tribute
to our workers. Despite waves
of economic incontinence,
they went out each morning,
on anxious and galling days.
We have learned from our ridiculous past
only to make sure we repeat it.
When I look at myself
in the giant gold mirror
you bought me, I still
can’t quite believe I’m here,
And know very soon
I won’t be.
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Kevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine and is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon. His work also features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture, his third collection of poem, was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at Arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013), Boston, USA (2013) & Amherst, Massachusetts (2013). In November and December 2013 Kevin also read his work in Basel, Switzerland and Phoenix & Tucson, Arizona. Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews was published in April 2012 by Salmon. Mentioning The War has been described by Clare Daly T.D as “a really good and provocative read. It will jolt you; it will certainly touch you; make you laugh; maybe make you snarl a little bit as well, depending on where you come from or what your background is.” Kevin’s poetry has been translated into Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Japanese & Portuguese. The Ghost In The Lobby is Kevin’s fourth collection of poetry will be launched early Spring 2014.