Desmond Kenny


Listen to the audio version.

Today the anonymity
Is ubiquitous in reason
For shades to be worn in this sun
Blazing down into the desert
From the sky's hot full brightness light
Quivering in the mosque's call to prayer.

My masquerade of otherness
On northern hemisphere days
When light is an excuse in grey,
And the sun is a memory
In which anonymity hides
In explanations of being blind.

"Can you remove your glasses, sir"
(So he can match my passport face
To eyes closed in the photograph):
"You can put them on again sir":
The match of explanation gained
To satisfy the fix of stamps

("Mummy why is that man's eyes closed
Do you think he's tired and gone to sleep?"
"Hush that man can't see – he is blind"):
Little she knows I sleep-walk through life
Pretending that the dark is bright
In endless days of wearing shades.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

Today I've read work reports,
Thought of thoughts to write;
I've heard fragments of my past
Hiss through clenched-tooth rage,
Escaping the recycle bin,
Deleted to lost
In a cyber death.

In a lazy boat of mood,
I've drifted today
In and out of dark and light;
Heard conversations,
In my head, at reed edges
Of re-called, reeled in,
Other distant times.

Poised to leave, to go,
Into those depths of other times
Steering my moods:
There and not here,
Finding, discarding and losing,
Thoughts in composition
Created and keyed ages ago.

I've dallied in moods today
Before going again
To chore of reports
That for Monday
Had to be finished,
And given traffic
On Saturday's river of thought.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

("Severn lift me up because I am dying — thank God it has come" — John Keats, February 23rd, 1821.)

There is everything here of what was wrought
Except pathos of grief this side of glass
Behind which I can't reach to know the words
That flowed to shape in ink from unique thoughts.

A way of stairs through ante-rooms have led
Me tourist taken to that last small room
With its bed and cold grate where soup was made.

There's babel of tourism from the square
Drifting up and in to where once before
It was loved by him dying on this bed
At whose foot I stand where many have come.

There was nothing of life I felt of him
Brushing passed me down the stairs and away
By barcaccio's fountain running still,
Writing words in water with rime in air

That gurgles through the window open still
On the square whose sounds of mingled cries

Entertained him on the edge of life
In this room and house and Rome of Death.


The poems here will appear in Desmond Kenny's third collection (promised for summer, 2020), to be added to his earlier works (reviewed in wordgathering) My Sense of Blind 2013, and Past Tense 2014, both available from These early collections comprise poems which Kenny was compiling over the 40 years of his working life as a senior executive In several of Ireland's major service providers for persons with disabilities and blindness to his retirement in 2013.