James Liddy

It Swings from Side to Side

ISBN: 9781851320233

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Completed shortly before his death in November 2008, James Liddy’s mysteriously titled It Swings from Side to Side concludes the autobiographical explorations he began in his earlier memoirs, The Doctor’s House and The Full Shilling. In addition to recollections of Anne Yeats and Padraic Colum, reflections on George Moore and the Emperor Karl of Austria, there are several meditations on his awareness of his own death, and on the Feast of the Transfiguration: a vision of life informed by the energies of the spirit.

I learnt America’s secret
they don’t move in a sphere of light
they’re monogamous
they’re romantic about something
they know all the time.

Knute in bar light flowing our faces
like smoke in heaven,
“Are you serious about being indifferent
to sex to some extent these past four years?”
“Just stay erotic,
you don’t have to bedroom it”,
I who Christmas dance twelve days
with Baudelaire a Treeman whose arms
and branches hang with Dante’s desires?

American orgasm isn’t paradise
my kind of marriage is
but I travel to camel breath and luxury
of interrupting an irredeemable,
can I record a Jansenist song?

− from ‘All My Days Were Honeymoonish’