The 16th of June is Bloomsday, the day on which Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses is set. I have never been in Dublin on the day itself but here’s a sonnet remembering my first day in Dublin, in Bewley’s Oriental Coffee house, about to set off on one of the most significant adventures of my life. This poem will appear in the section ‘Local Habitations’ in my new Collection The Singing Bowl which will come out with Canterbury Press this November.
as always you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button or on the title
I look up, hands around my coffee cup,
On Grafton street in Bewley’s coffee shop,
Blue Mountain, Java and Colombian
The labels are a journey on their own
Then the aroma as they’re ground by hand,
Beans broken open. Out of every land,
Separate savours float across this room
Of dark mahogany, to a softer bloom
Of stained glass windows, where I sit apart
Warming my hands, and waiting on my heart
To call me to adventure. I have found my voice,
Yeats in my pocket, backpack full of Joyce ,
I’m nineteen, it is nineteen seventy-seven
And Dublin is the very gate of heaven.