What do poets do in the lockdown? Write poetry of course, or that’s what renowned Ballyfin poet, Dr Arthur Broomfield has been doing.
His latest work, Ireland Calling [Revival Press, Limerick] is a new departure for the best-selling author.
It ‘digs deep into the Irish ballad tradition of telling yarns and bringing characters to life through language that sparkles with vitality.
This book truly is poetry for the people’, says Dr Clare Bolger. Maureen Culleton, world renowned leader in the promotion of Irish culture, has given the book her imprimatur, praise indeed from the founder of Sean Chistin.
Why the title, Ireland Calling? “My big influences in poetry are Patrick Kavanagh and Paul Durcan”, explains Arthur.
“In this book the poems are speaking from an Ireland of the mid-twentieth century, the era in which I grew up. The characters, ‘spakes’ and ways of life of that time inspired me to write it.
“Much of that era is forgotten, even unknown to younger generations, so I suppose it’s a call from the past to remember our tradition, the colour of its ‘spakes’ the genius of its characters, its humour and its tragedy.”
The work is written in rhyming ballad form, a new departure for the Ballyfin poet.
Arthur said: “The ballad best accommodates what I want to say, which may be described as folk poetry. Its rooted in the Irish tradition – Yeats perfected it – the ballad is the form loved by those who find modern poetry obscure and inaccessible.
“Ireland Calling is people’s poetry for the people, I really enjoyed writing it.”
Ireland Calling is attracting interest from the Irish diaspora in USA, Canada, and Australia.
The US based ‘Irish Post’ has interviewed Arthur and other journals have contacted him.
“I’m pleased, but not surprised”, says the author. “Many of the poems reach out to the diaspora.
“People are buying it as Christmas gifts for loved ones abroad. Most of my sales are on-line.”
If you wish to buy Ireland Calling, you can click here. While below is an sample of one of the poems.
Phonsie Joe’s Pub
If you had time for a drink and money you could spend
you’d surely head for Phonsie Joe’s at the top of Roche’s street,
where you’d veer off for Ringleston, the short cut through Coolmend,
you’d get the best of spirits, for herself a glass of Port, perhaps a tad too sweet,
Guiness from the quarter vessel, the best served in the town.
You might sit upon a barstool, the ladies in the snug
or of a night a match was on, a crowd would be around,
you’d sit among the sacks of bran upon a Foxford rug.
If you had to snag some turnips and the ground was turning soft
and your wellingtons were wearing, the soles had sprung a leak,
you’d head straight in to Phonsie Joe’s, he’d have them on the loft.
Or your sheep were lame with footrot or the wife was baking bread,
you’d get the bluestone fresh, the flour judged with a scoop;
fluke dose for your yearlings, hot water bottle for the bed,
sugar, tea, bread soda, all a house could need,
Sherry, if the priest called, wire for the chicken coop.