11 JUNE 2020
The Poetry Book Society have suggested this poem by Derek Mahon as our eighth lock down poem.
Everything Is Going To Be All Right
How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The lines flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
Reproduced by kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press, Loughcrew, Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland from New Selected Poems (2016) by Derek Mahon.
The actor Andrew Scott recently took the internet by storm with his performance of 'Everything Is Going to Be All Right' by Derek Mahon. There’s something so moving and apt about the echoed lines “there will be dying”, the poignancy of far off cities and the overarching sense of light, "I lie here in a riot of sunlight”. In the midst of all this, "the sun rises in spite of everything" and we cannot fail to be reassured by the final line: "Everything is going to be all right". This poem is contained in Bloodaxe’s anthology Being Alive, part of their trilogy of real poems for unreal times and the Poetry Pharmacy, an anthology of poem prescriptions for heart, soul and mind. Alternatively, if you’d like to read more of Mahon’s own poems, it’s also included in his New Selected Poems published by Gallery Press in Ireland and Faber in the UK. PBS Members can order it here with their 25% member discount.
Derek Mahon was born in Belfast in 1941, and now lives in Kinsale, County Cork. A member of Aosdána, he has received numerous awards including the Irish Academy of Letters Award, the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize, Lannan and Guggenheim Fellowships and the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2007.
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Photo: Marina Masinova