The Irish Parliament from -
The Crystalline Heaven
The new people, the quick money
Dante's Inferno 16.73
I sit up here, in the crystalline heaven,
High as Dante, looking down
On the dog-eat-dog of Florence, Dublin town,
Through the marvellous dome of glass above Dail Eireann.
Coffee is over; a quarter past eleven
And the deputies file back in. Concentric hells
Of seats are filling up, conspiratorial,
Till the banging of the gavel, the Ceann Comhairle
Shouting for order, and then the division bells.
As suddenly, the House empties, through its backstage doors.
Charlie Haughey crosses the floor,
Engages a woman I know in conversation—
Still beautiful, still a gazelle. After how many years
Of marriage to a Dublin auctioneer?
Above, the forces that govern the universe,
Light, reason and love, a Dantean vision,
Stream through the windows. I am alone up here
In the public gallery, as mid-morning disperses
Its scattered attendance, snoozing, as if not there,
Through the luminous room.
My minister rises. I fold my Irish Times
And watch O'Snodaigh, leprechaun and elf,
Nervously scrape the three remaining hairs
Across his bald patch—him, my immediate boss!—
The prompter through the stage door of 'Whereas ... '
A minor civil servant, like myself,
A lifer, splitting hairs till the crack of doom.
And darkly think to myself 'Inadequate
For the business of state,
A Johnny-come-Lately ...' Afterwards, in the lobby,
Hearing him talk, relaxing over a fag,
'Let Charlie soon starting shiting golden eggs
Or the country's fucked—' I'll know myself a snob,
A shadow of Dante, the chip on my shoulder,
Disinheritance, crystallising to heaven
High and light as the dome above Dail Eireann,
Sitting in judgement on Dublin, and getting older.