Michael Hartnett

from A Farewell to English

I say farewell to English verse,
to those I found in English nets:
my Lorca holding out his arms
to love the beauty of his bullets,
Pasternak who outlived Stalin
and died because of lesser beasts;
to all the poets I have loved
from Wyatt to Robert Browning;
to Father Hopkins in his crowded grave
and to our bugbear Mr. Yeats
who forced us into exile
on islands of bad verse.

Among my living friends
there is no poet I do not love
although some write
with bitterness in their hearts;
they are one art, our many arts.

Poets with progress
make no peace of pact.
The act of poetry
is a rebel act.

— translated from the Irish by Michael Hartnett