Poem of the week: Making Things Happen by Dermot Bolger

Dermot Bolger

Dermot Bolger


(For Marian Fitzpatrick and Tina Robinson)

Things don’t happen: things are made to happen
By those people who choose to remain unseen;

By those who look at a boarded-up building
And reimagine it as a brimming theatre;

Who gaze at a loose configuration of streets
And see them come together as a village;

Whose names never feature in the headlines,
Being neither seekers of attention or acclaim,

But whose intuition concurs with Leopold Bloom
That revolutions occur on the instalments due plan.

If it is true that Balthasar, Melchior and Caspar
Did arrive, anxious to brandish flashy gifts

Of gold, myrrh and frankincense, it is only because
Someone behind the scene possessed the sense

To saddle camels and point out exactly which star
To follow, someone made that epic voyage feasible,

Then retreated to the margins, far too immersed
In making new things happen to take a curtain call

At the encore, when kings theatrically bow their heads
In a stable, having only somehow made it there on time

Because unobtrusive gods flitted through the cosmos,
Orchestrating that darkness to let the star shine.

Dermot Bolger is a poet, novelist and playwright. His most recent work of fiction, Secrets Never Told (New Island Books), was published last autumn