On making the Three Decades

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


By Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland


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

something sacred,

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

behind banners

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.