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Poetry Prescriptions

Poetry Prescriptions: This Moment by Eavan Boland

Date posted: 14 May 2020

Image shown: Eavan Boland.

‘This Moment’ by Eavan Boland has been chosen by Lani O’Hanlon, author, poet and dance artist.

The Dublin poet Eavan Boland died on April 27th this year aged seventy-five. In her lifetime she changed our idea of poets being mostly men writing about their world and when she wrote about being a mother, a lover and a woman she was attacked by critics and other male poets.

She once said ‘What you worry about is that someone of great value, a woman, a person of colour, or someone disabled might think “I couldn’t do that or I don’t feel I have the permission to do that.” What you really want to do is to begin to try and change those permissions.’

I chose this poem to honour her life and with other poets at that time, her bravery in changing those permissions for all of us writers who followed her and also her great skill, craft and humanity as a writer.

In this poem Eavan recorded a moment in her life; it is a favourite of mine because when I read it I see through her eyes and feel what she felt, and by doing this I become more aware of the moments in my life and all the life around me, seen and unseen.

I think it is particularly poignant at this time as the view seems to be from a window in a neighbourhood, as it has been for so many who are isolated, separate from loved ones or cocooning but the poet is fully inhabiting the moment, and therefore becomes part of everything around her ‘stars and moths and rinds slanting around fruit’.   

Lani O’Hanlon

From In a Time of Violence, 1994, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY. Copyright 1994 by Eavan Boland.

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