WestWords Perfect Pair 24.06.2014

Well known Irish language poet, teacher and editor, Louis De Paor was born in Cork in 1961. He was awarded a PhD in Modern Irish from the National University of Ireland in 1986, before emigrating to Melbourne, Australia where he wrote, gave poetry readings and broadcast in Irish on the Special Broadcasting Service (a network set up for speakers of ethnic languages). He returned to Ireland in 1996, and is now the Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. If you’ve ever wondered where you got those long toes or short legs from, its:

By Louis De Paor

There’s no denying
the blood that goes through me
from my mother’s side,
leaving one snarled tooth
in the roof of my mouth,
an itching-post in the field
of my thoughts, an ogham stone
that shouts me down
with its unintelligible alphabet.

I put my swollen thumb
under the tooth of knowledge,
and the stone speaks up
from the underworld of my thoughts:
You were always a black sheep
like all belonging to you,
hard words like grains of sand
in the corner of an eyelid
shut tight as an oyster.

When a blade of light
prises it open,
there’s a tooth askew
in my son’s mouth.
It shines like a pearl
in his perfectly crooked smile.


The unmistakeable voice of French singer/songwriter Vanessa Paradis, Jackadi is from her 2007 album Divinidylle,