Tomorrow I will start to be happy.
The morning will light up like a celebratory cigar.
Sunbeams sprawling on the lawn will set
dew sparkling like a cut-glass tumbler of champagne.
Today will end the worst phase of my life.
I will put my shapeless days behind me,
fencing off the past, as a golden rind
of sand parts slipshod sea from solid land.
It is tomorrow I want to look back on, not today.
Tomorrow I start to be happy; today is almost yesterday.
Australia, how wise you are to get the day
over and done with first, out of the way.
You have eaten the fruit of knowledge, while
we are dithering about which main course to choose.
How liberated you must feel, how free from doubt:
the rise and fall of stocks, today’s closing prices
are revealed to you before our bidding has begun.
Australia, you can gather in your accident statistics
like a harvest while our roads still have hours to kill.
When we are in the dark, you have sagely seen the light.
Cagily, presumptuously, I dare to write 2018.
A date without character or tone. 2018.
A year without interest rates or mean daily temperature.
Its hit songs have yet to be written, its new-year
babies yet to be induced, its truces to be signed.
Much too far off for prophecy, though one hazards
a tentative guess—a so-so year most likely,
vague in retrospect, fizzling out with the usual
end-of-season sales; everything slashed:
your last chance to salvage something of its style.
Dennis O’Driscoll, “Tomorrow” from New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2004 by Dennis O’Driscoll. As published in Poetry magazine, July 1999.
Dennis O’Driscoll did not get to see 2018; he died (suddenly) December 24, 2012.
From his obituary at The Guardian: “In the civil service you are assigned a grade. You know your status,” he told the Irish Times. “Whereas with poetry, you never retire and you never really know your grade – it will be assigned posthumously.”.
Wishing you all a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
May you not postpone until tomorrow, that which you can choose to do today.
May the road rise to meet you, today, and the rest of your ‘morrows.
And may good hope walk with you through everything.
“The Auld Triangle” by Glen Hansard and friends