Gary Allen

The letter.

And soon the trees will be bare again
and someone will bring a letter –
for that was when a letter was important
not just a buzz in your pocket
or a badly digitised classical tune

and you could see the letter coming from some distance
leaving you time to imagine or fret

so, what was in the letter?
I don’t know, but it could be a summons or a confession
or a relative who is already dead
a gesture of love or ending
stretched between opening and reading

if your world should suddenly collapse between finger 
and thumb
there would be an eternity

and the footsore messenger on the causeway
and the rain breaking open the sky
and the sad trees beginning to sway and moan
postmarked Amsterdam or Berlin.

Gary Allen was born in Ballymena, Co.Antrim. He was born into a large working-class family, received a basic education in primary and secondary schools, before going to college, where he studied mechanical engineering. Many of his poems are written about Europe, focusing on the poor, the misaligned, the victims (usually women) in society, often charged with a sexual connotation. Other poems use metaphors for ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland, the cruelty, viciousness, randomness of two opposed positions that destroy the lives and the society around them, making him one of the most important and distinctive poets in Ireland of his generation.