Stories of the Wandering Moon
By: Tom Mac Intyre
‘You’re touching me differently, aren’t you?
Do that again, please -that’s it exactly-
you’ve moved to meet your far fingertips..’
Stories of the Wandering Moon sings us into the frolicsome, troubled, iridescent world of love’s game lost and won. The sequence of poems invites us to follow the lovers from country to country and from level to level of the love experience: from hesitant beginnings to early rapture, from joy possessed to bruised self-awareness and parting. The writer, whose delight is to celebrate l’amour, acknowledges that the wine on offer cannot evade the pursuing aduain, an adjective from the Irish language combining the lonesome, the strange, the eerie, the unfamiliar.
While modern Irish poetry in English displays a notable reticence, Mac Intyre reverts to the fiercely sensual love poetry of eighteenth-century Ireland and to earlier troubadour traditions. His eroticism doesn’t side-step the bawdiness of Merriman but carries an ache far removed from that sensibility. Film-masters Kawabata and Mizoguchi suggest different registers: after a visit to the cinema
we came home, quiet by water,
walking on water, the Seine, sister canals.
I thought, ‘What the hell?
Is that a sheep or a pram?’
A clochard shouted ‘L’ectoplasma!’
The hauntings of the demotic flesh and inalienable spirit, and the hand of a lover are here, touching us, a hand ‘entirely composed of fine-/spun summer-scented hair..’. Mac Intyre’s Stories of the Wandering Moon show this gifted writer working – that is to say playing – at the height of his powers.
With drawings by Brian Bourke.
TOM MAC INTYRE – a dual-language writer – was born in Cavan in 1931. He has written six books of poetry as well as many plays for the Abbey Theatre. These include The Great Hunger (1983-6), Good Evening, Mr Collins (1997) and Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire (1998). The Word for Yes (selected stories) appeared in 1991. His version of The Midnight Court was staged by the Abbey during the late autumn of 1999.