Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader



A Poem by Dennis O’Driscoll

Dennis O’Driscoll is among the finest poets of his generation. He is also one of the most respected of Ireland’s poetry critics.


someone is dressing up for death today, a change of skirt or tie
eating a final feast of buttered sliced pan, tea
scarcely having noticed the erection that was his last
shaving his face to marble for the icy laying out
spraying with deodorant her coarse armpit grass
someone today is leaving home on business
saluting, terminally, the neighbours who will join in the cortege
someone is paring his nails for the last time, a precious moment
someone’s waist will not be marked with elastic in the future
someone is putting out milkbottles for a day that will not come
someone’s fresh breath is about to be taken clean away
someone is writing a cheque that will be rejected as ‘drawer deceased’
someone is circling posthumous dates on a calendar
someone is listening to an irrelevant weather forecast
someone is making rash promises to friends
someone’s coffin is being sanded, laminated, shined
who feels this morning quite as well as ever
someone if asked would find nothing remarkable in today’s date
perfume and goodbyes her final will and testament
someone today is seeing the world for the last time
as innocently as he had seen it first

10 Responses to “A Poem by Dennis O’Driscoll”

  1. Sinéad says:

    John, it’s so nice to see one of Dennis’ poems here. He’s a hugely gifted poet and I love his work.

    jb says: Thanks, Sinéad. Good to hear from you, too. I got stuck on your blog; could’ve been there all afternoon but I managed to squirm my way free (for now at least).

  2. Deborah says:

    This is one of my all-time favourite poems. I used it in a poetry appreciation assignment as part of my degree at University. I love Dennis’ style and look forward to reading more of his work.

  3. Casino España says:

    As an aspiring writer what one should do to enhance his/her writing skills. Obviously he has to write more and more. Still could you suggest me some ways for successful writing career. Though hard work is the most important thing, but a right direction is equally significant.

    jb says: You just write.

  4. maulana says:

    Nice poem, I think your blog is great, I’ve bookmark it.


  5. draxc0la says:

    it’s really good blog friend..

  6. akuy says:

    ehm… i don’t understand what u mean.
    but i love u’r blog

  7. adiw says:

    who is the meaning someone ??

  8. Song says:

    This is such a lovely idea, I am not a poet but know how to taste them. The subject of your blog is excellent.
    thanks so much.

  9. Angeline says:

    Amazing poem.. Wonderful.. It suits everyone of us, when we feel depressed.

  10. One of my favourite poems