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Survivor's Creation

Poetry by Dave Lordan

Poetry by Dave Lordan

The only Hero in Town

For some time I’ve been wishing

you did not exist

that I’d invented you

that you’d never barged 

through our classroom door

with your fists clenched

and your heart on fire

roaring for our tyrant’s blood.

I have wished you and wished you and wished you again

out of my memory

out of my existence

out of my poetry

so that I wouldn’t be scalded so often

by this unbearable, unnatural shame 

at my own

this unbearable insoluble shame

at the contrast twixt you (lanky & pale

& half-a-brit & only a blow-in)

and all those other red-faced men,

all those local, rebel-county men,  

fatly descended from Heros victorious,

who did not heroically storm into

our classroom in 1983

half-an-hour after their sons were bloody beaten

and lift the master by the neck

& pin him to the blackboard

and make him cry & beg

as he made children cry & beg

until he’d cursed their life for good

so that some of them lie now

forever-teen or twenty-something 

in the same row in the graveyard

as you 

who died in my eyes

& in the eyes of poetry died

guiltless and shining and old-heroic at your

appointed time, no earlier…


Dave Lordan is an Irish poet and a surviving survivor of, and continuing witness to child abuse in the Irish primary education system in the 1980s.