Monday, February 04, 2013

Robert Welch, 1947 - 2013

We learned today of the sad passing of poet, critic, teacher and editor Robert Welch.

Born in Cork in 1947 and educated there by the Presentation Brothers and subsequently at Leeds University, Robert was for many years Professor of English at the University of Ulster at Coleraine, and a great friend and encouragement to poets and writers.

Over the years he wrote extensively on Irish poetry and edited The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature (1996). More recently he also published the moving Kicking the Mamba – Life, Alcohol, Death which dealt with the loss of his son. Dedalus Press published two of Robert's early collections of poetry, Muskerry (1991) and Secret Societies (1997) from which the following poem is taken. Sympathies and condolences to his family and many friends.



Hope is crossing the road
knowing that your friend is in,
and that he'll ask you inside
into the aroma of a different house.

It is the calm stillness of the privet
in the summer, when there's been
no wind for weeks, or rain,
and the leaves are dusty with thought.

It is the dry earth beneath your hands
shaped into embankments, fortresses,
continents, as the toy soldiers are drawn up,
and snipers strategically placed.

It is the smell of rashers frying
on Saturday night, the walk home
in the expanding dusk, the smile
of welcome you know you'll not forget.

No comments: