Tuesday, 18th November, took part in RTE panel discussion [recorded in the Linenhall Library], ‘Legacy of the Great War’ with Philip Orr, Chris McGimpsey and Edna Longley, chaired by Myles Dungan. The programme was broadcast on RTE Radio 1 on Thursday, 20th November and is available on podcast at http://www.rte.ie/radio1/ourwar/1235353.html

     Outside the building the city centre was packed as Mayor Tom Hartley officiated at the official switching on of the Christmas tree lights at the City Hall and the noise of the concert could be heard in the Linenhall Library though I think the engineers managed to minimise it in the recording.

     Chris McGimpsey argued that a way should be found to allow people from whatever point of view – unionist or nationalist – to jointly commemorate the dead of [particularly] World War I. I said that I agreed with the sentiment but that ‘we’ couldn’t even find away of jointly commemorating the dead of our most recent conflict.


Did interview with Matthew Nyero, a PHD student at Queen’s, researching the ‘British administration of Northern Ireland under Margaret Thatcher’.

     Did interview via Skype with American student Sarah Smith, doing her senior thesis on ‘the success and failures of the Good Friday Agreement’.

     Interviewed by UTV for a television documentary to be broadcast in January 2009 about the history of poteen in Ireland [and how we made it in jail!].


Attended Basque night in Roddy McCorley’s club and read ‘I Would Like’ by Yevgeny Yevtushenko: 




I would like

            to be born

                      in every country,

have a passport

               for them all

to throw

        all foreign offices

                           into panic,

be every fish

             in every ocean

and every dog

             in the streets of the world.

I don’t want to bow down

                        before any idols

or play at being

                a Russian Orthodox church hippie,

but I would like to plunge

                          deep into Lake Baikal

and surface snorting


                              why not in the Mississippi?

In my damned beloved universe

                             I would like

to be a lonely weed,

                    but not a delicate Narcissus

kissing his own mug

                   in the mirror.

I would like to be

                  any of God’s creatures

right down to the last mangy hyena–

but never a tyrant

                  or even the cat of a tyrant.

I would like to be

                  reincarnated as a man

                                       in any image:

a victim of prison tortures,

a homeless child in the slums of Hong Kong,

a living skeleton in Bangladesh,

a holy beggar in Tibet,

a black in Cape Town,

but never

         in the image of Rambo.

The only people whom I hate

                           are the hypocrites–

pickled hyenas

              in heavy syrup.

I would like to lie

                   under the knives of all the surgeons in the world,

be hunchbacked, blind,

                      suffer all kinds of diseases,

                                                   wounds and scars,

be a victim of war,

                   or a sweeper of cigarette butts,

just so a filthy microbe of superiority

                                       doesn’t creep inside.

I would not like to be in the elite,

nor, of course,

               in the cowardly herd,

nor be a guard dog of that herd,

nor a shepherd,

               sheltered by that herd.

And I would like happiness,

                           but not at the expense of the unhappy,

and I would like freedom,

                         but not at the expense of the unfree.

I would like to love

                    all the women in the world,

and I would like to be a woman, too–

                                     just once…

Men have been diminished

                        by Mother Nature.

Why couldn’t we give motherhood

                               to men?

If an innocent child


                           below his heart,

man would probably

                  not be so cruel.

I would like to be man’s daily bread–


    a cup of rice

                 for a Vietnamese woman in mourning,

cheap wine

          in a Neapolitan workers’ trattoria,

or a tiny tube of cheese

                        in orbit round the moon.

Let them eat me,

                let them drink me,

only let my death

                 be of some use.

I would like to belong to all times,

                                    shock all history so much

that it would be amazed

                       what a smart aleck I was.

I would like to bring Nefertiti

                               to Pushkin in a troika.

I would like to increase

                        the space of a moment

                                             a hundredfold,

so that in the same moment

                          I could drink vodka with fishermen in Siberia

and sit together with Homer,



                                              and Tolstoy,

drinking anything,

                  except, of course,


–dance to the tom-toms in the Congo,

–strike at Renault,

–chase a ball with Brazilian boys

                                  at Copacabana Beach.

I would like to know every language,

                                like the secret waters under the earth,

and do all kinds of work at once.

                                 I would make sure

that one Yevtushenko was merely a poet,

                                 the second–an underground fighter


I couldn’t say where

                    for security reasons,

the third–a student at Berkeley,

                                 the fourth–a jolly Georgian drinker,

and the fifth–

               maybe a teacher of Eskimo children in Alaska,

the sixth–

       a young president,

                    somewhere, say, modestly speaking, in Sierra Leone,

the seventh–

             would still be shaking a rattle in his stroller,

and the tenth…

                the hundredth…

                                the millionth…

For me it’s not enough to be myself,

                                    let me be everyone!

Every creature

              usually has a double,

but God was stingy

                  with the carbon paper,

and in his Paradise Publishing Corporation

                                          made a unique copy of me.

But I shall muddle up

                     all God’s cards–

                                      I shall confound God!

I shall be in a thousand copies to the end of my days,

so that the earth buzzes with me,

                                 and computers go berserk

in the world census of me.

I would like to fight on all your barricades,


dying each night

                like an exhausted moon,

and resurrecting each morning

                             like a newborn sun,

with an immortal soft spot–fontanel–

                                      on my head.

And when I die,

               a smart-aleck Siberian Francois Villon,

do not lay me in the earth

                          of France

                                   or Italy,

but in our Russian, Siberian earth,

                                   on a still-green hill,

where I first felt

                  that I was