To commemorate the Official State Visit to Australia 2017 by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, we are deeply honoured and grateful to reproduce the following poem, written by President Higgins, with his kind permission:
On making the Three Decades
for Alice Mary
Time will never make a boundary that could contain,
nor space enclose,
those moments you turned to gold
with a light that will always be your own.
It is your special gift
to see the need for joy,
to muster a courage
so far beyond the ordinary,
to make of friendship
and feel the need to break the silences
that mask oppression.
These are no ordinary achievements.
We who were blessed with your presence
did not measure it in time
or confine it to any space,
nor do we now
put boundaries of time or space
on all we wish for you.
May that which you never measured
come back to you in love.
May the friendships you cherish multiply,
and we are grateful
for all those moments of dark and light you shared
and placed in our indelible memory.
May you never be alone
in what you seek,
and may you live to see the decades brighten again with hope,
beyond the darkness of war.
And when spirits lift
in all those decades to come,
it is a source of the greatest joy to know
that you will be there,
and in the quiet times too,
plotting even greater things
for all humanity in ceaseless celebration.
First published in “ Michael D. Higgins: New and Selected Poems” by Liberties Press (2011). Our sincere thanks to Seán O’Keeffe at Liberties Press for his assistance.
Artwork: Granville (2010) by Jane Theau. Published with permission of the artist.