In Millstreet Hospital

My cousin, they tell me, doesn’t wake up much,
nor does she seem to see the green mountain
framed in the window of this chapel of ease
for travellers booked in for their long pilgrimage.
When I leave at the end of visiting-hours
a small, tidy man is sitting by the door:
stick, well-knotted tie, watch-chain, tweed jacket.
He gets to his feet, raises his hat and enquires:
‘Excuse my troubling you, but would you be
going anywhere near a railway station?’
The young smiling nurse bends over him,
and takes him by the elbow, saying:
‘Maybe tomorrow, James. Maybe tomorrow
we’ll take you to the station.’

by Bernard O’Donoghue
from: the Real Deal blog


Bernard O’Donoghue was born in Cullen, County Cork, in 1945, later moving to Manchester. He studied Medieval English at Oxford University, where he’s a teacher and Fellow in English at Wadham College. He’s the author of Seamus Heaney and the Language of Poetry (1995). His poetry collections are Poaching Rights (1987); The Absent Signafier (1990); The Weakness (1991); Gunpowder (1995) winner of the 1995 Whitbread Poetry Award; Here Nor There (1999); Poaching Rights (1999); and Outliving (2003). His work of verse translation, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, was published in 2006 and a Selected Poems in 2008.
Bernard O’Donoghue received a Cholmondeley Award in 2009. His most recent poetry collection is Farmers Cross (2011).

He featured previously on at a gramaphone circle presentation at which he presents regularly, and there will be an upcoming article on his new book of poetry “Farmers Cross” which was published recently.

Bernard’s Profile from UCC

Bernard O’Donghue is an internationally acclaimed poet whose work is published by Faber, one of the leading poetry houses in the English-speaking world. He has won prizes including the Whitbread Poetry Award and the Cholmondeley Award, and has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. The publication by Faber of his Selected Poems in 2008 marked a major milestone in Bernard O’Donoghue’s reputation. The Selected offers a judicious range of poems, chosen by the author himself, which draw on twenty years of work and which highlighted O’Donoghue’s deep and lasting relationship with the rural Cork of his upbringing.

Bernard O’Donoghue was born in Cullen, Co Cork in 1945, and he still lives there for part of the year. In 1962 he moved with his family to Manchester, and since 1965 he has lived in Oxford where he is now an Emeritus Fellow in English at Wadham College. He has taught Medieval Literature and twentieth-century Irish literature in Oxford since 1971. He has published books on Medieval European poetry and on modern Irish poetry, especially Seamus Heaney. He has published seven books of poems, most recently Selected Poems (2008) and Farmers Cross (2011), both with Faber.

2 thoughts on “In Millstreet Hospital”

  1. I am enjoying my latest “wallpaper” – a picture of the Cullen Pipe Band marching up Fifth Avenue in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I am very familiar with the area; my high school graduation exercises took place at St. Patrick’s. Another building in the picture is the famous department store, Saks Fifth Avenue, where I worked after school in 1957.

    My grandfather died of the Spanish flu in 1915 (approx.) and is buried in Cullen Churchyard Cemetary.

    Happy Easter to all!

  2. Forgot to mention my grandfather’s name – Michael Buckley, Park, Knocknagree. Rest in peace, Grandpa!

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