The death of Michael Donahgy

The Irish Democrat pays tribute to Irish-American Michael Donahgy who died recently  

IT IS with sadness that the Irish Democrat has learnt of the death of Michael Donahgy the Irish-American poet who lived in Britain for many years.

His work was of the highest calibre and his output and expressions of life was true to his background. He reflected what made the Irish-Americans working class immigrants with intellectual visions - many of which were scuppered by the hard task of just trying to survive in a competitive and often corrupt world. But others were able to rise above the struggle and see and express their vision of a better world.

Michael Donaghy worked on the 'service' building sites of New York before moving to Britain. He spoke in Northampton on National Poetry Day four years ago where he made contact with the local Connolly Association secretary Peter Mulligan. We send our condolences to his wife Maddy and his son Ruairi and reprint here one of his poems.  

Local 32B*

The rich are different. Where we have doorknobs,

they have doormen - like me, a cigar store Indian

on the Upper East Side, in polyester, in August.

As the tenants tanned in Tenerife and Monaco

I stood guard beneath Manhattan's leaden light

watching poodle turds bake grey in half an hour

Another hot one, Mr Rockefeller!

An Irish doorman foresees his death,

waves, and runs to help it with its packages.

Once I got a cab for Pavarotti. No kidding.

No tip either. I stared after him down Fifth and caught him looking after me,

then through me,

like Samson, eyeless, at the Philistine chorus -

Yessir, I put the tenor in the vehicle.

And a mighty tight squeeze it was.


(* US National Union of Building Service Workers)

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2005-05-19 14:14:08.
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