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Dereck Mahon

Tripych (for anne madden), 2007
Exhibition catalogue Anne Madden. A Retrospective, Irish Museum of Modern Art
27 June 2007 - 30 September



Pompeian door frames, crimson and ultramarine
air boxes choking with black smoke and ash
blow clear to sea-light like a tambourine.
The sun’s forge, a gold continuous crash,
roars and flickers with perpetual flames;
winged figures circulate in the airstreams
and an ill-fated one, having flown too high,
drops into legend through a whirling sky.

Hang-gliding in the sun like Saint-Exupéry
the hawk or lapwing, a brave girl or boy,
dives to the gravitational field of the sea,
one tiny lifeboat like an abandoned toy
or its own shadow: picture the climax though,
the wild euphoria when for a minute or so,
deaf to the crackling kite tackle of gravity
it flaps there treading air in a hot glow.

Space-time is a spun textile where it falls
to a splash of froth, acrylic, inks and oils,
dense atmospherics, bright transparencies.
Night comes with hands of cloud, the windy skies
are ‘filled with graves’, but a night garden fills
with moonlit palms, cicadas, murmuring souls;
blue-white and luminous in a partial dark,
your stairs lead up to the calm house of work.


From Art Notes (2006) by Derek Mahon
by kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press