Hard though I know
you find this to believe,
I was actually alive once.
Alive. And well enough,
at least, to play my part.

I too faced heartaches, disappointments,
embarrassments and vanities
not all that unlike yours, kept up
with the pressing issues of the day,
registered weather’s moodiness

on my skin, brooded on the big
life-and-death questions when
I indulged my more reflective traits.
And if it’s any consolation,
it feels no less strange to me now

to conceive that I was truly
such a creature once,
and had some small say in how
the world – as it stood at rthat
time – conducted its affairs.

That my birth would not make
a blind bit of difference
in the final analysis, does not
negate my life, and counts
for precious little against

the surge of unbounded joy
I felt, on better days, imagining
my highest hopes were still fulfillable.
There was everything to live for then.
It was all before me.

Dennis O’Driscoll’s last works were Dear Life (Anvil) and The Outnumbered Poet (Gallery). This unpublished poem by O’Driscoll, who died on Christmas Eve 2012, is to be included in a future collection.