Poem for the Day: for James McMahon RIP

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James McMahon, Christmas Day, 2014
James McMahon, Christmas night, 2014

A TRUE and loved son of Limerick is gone. James McMahon, historian, artist, raconteur, yachtsman and in his most loved roles, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully at his home early Thursday November 26.

James (70s) was a wonderful man. He soared beyond high flying youth and genteel educations to age into his debonair, brilliantly read, bohemian, complicated self. He was one of life’s dancers, a liked and vital presence.

For sure, he made the annual pilgrimage to Canada to spend time with his children Louise, Jaimsie, Darragh and later, grandchildren. He was constantly adoring of them in conversation, brimful of pride and wonder.

We shared half a dozen Christmasses or so and were set for more. His sudden departure from earth as the season opens is grim.  In true form, he was just home from sunshiny Malta and had been living to his credo, taking in big lungfuls of the world.

This ‘poem for the day’ from City of Culture’s anthology, Dream of a City, is by Jo Slade, whom James knew and respected.

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I ran it first in early summer during a giddy fit and revive Jo’s work now in other mood. But for James and his passion for sailing, shared with his children and Foynes Yacht Club, it is fitting. He’d have got with “these old poets journeying together”, cloth cap on, cravat knotted softly, wafting plumes of ash and smoke, in animated exchange.     by Rose Rushe

Boats A blue boat drifted toward the river bank. Tied to a tree stump an old red cot*/ hidden in the cool shade of trees was watchdog.

The river was quiet in its silver./ The sky filled it with clouds that wove through the sheen/ of its garment or suddenly blown under/ wings rose in a plash from the water.

The blue boat drifted closer drawn by a thread of wonder./ In the stillness of evening sun slipped behind trees – / the world deepened and darkened.

At its own will the red cot broke moorings/ it loosed on the water nudged by a breeze./ What are they like drifting up river/ these dark forms, these old poets journeying together ?

* ‘Cot’ is a traditional Irish river boat