World Poetry Day 2024 | The Joys of a Second Rattle at Life by William Tiernan

World Poetry Day 2024 | The Joys of a Second Rattle at Life by William Tiernan

The Joys of a Second Rattle of Life by William Tiernan

– celebrating World Poetry Day with a Galway-based lyric poet –

Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.

UNESCO, marking World Poetry Day, observed annually on 21 March

Poetry will never be soccer, or movies, or music, or rock, or hip hop. But we do it because our heads burn with inspiration, not to mention torment.

William Tiernan, Irish author and lyric poet

The Joys of a Second Rattle at Life by William Tiernan is the author’s third volume of poetry and, arguably, his most ambitious to date. Whether addressing himself to issues such as pandemics or the war in Ukraine, to more universal themes of redemption and re-birth, battles of the body and the bullying of the mind, Tiernan’s observations go straight to the human heart, breaking down the distance between what is right from what is wrong, conveying it all in his unique and inimitable lyrical style, conveyed here by just a few excerpts from his poetry, chosen at random:

Mine is a hard hammering against the wall of flame.
The demon we must come to terms with and tame.

A new day brings a new, raw hunger and thirst.

I must give the world my poem and my word,
Without having to fall on my sword.

The heart can be touched by crying,
But the soul knows not of dying.

It’s smiles we give and tears we fall.
We belong to the universal call.

I’m sick and tired of war and dying.
Sick and tired of hunger and homelessness crying.

I’m into me and I’m the whole world’s lover,
And I know there are many mysterious things to discover.

The road less travelled is the road best left behind
And the better one, perhaps, is the one we’ve yet to find.

Existence is forever so short
But life, at times, too long.

Old fashioned I might be, but most of the poetry nowadays doesn’t turn me on. I like the stuff to rhyme, while this thing of survival gets on my bloody nerves.

William Tiernan is an Irish poet who resides in rural Galway, close to the Roscommon border. His writings reflect his personal experiences and convictions, as well as strong ties to the community in which he lives, his identification with the place where he grew up. These impressions are notably present in his first two volumes of his poetry: Greetings from Guilka, Ballymoe: Poems from the Head and the Heart (2016) and Bluesy Ballymoe: Pulse and Hearts above Zero (2018).

In 2014, he was National Winner in the poetry category at the Hanna Greally Literary Awards, organised as part of the annual SiarScéal Festival in Co. Roscommon.

“It’s the fire inside my head that drives me, Mother: the highs and lows, the light and the dark, the sun, the thunder and lightning, nature’s bright beauty and cruelty beyond belief, running rivers and silvery streams, depression and nightmarish dreams, the borderline of madness.”

“You’re not mad,” she says, “just talented.”

Each one to their own.

William Tiernan, from the Bluesy Ballymoe: Pulse and Hearts above Zero

The Joys of a Second Rattle at Life by William Tiernan, along with other books by the author, are published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online, including the Ballymoe series (see below).

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