Paula Meehan 1955-
I first heard Meehan’s voice when she was being interviewed on ABC Radio, back in the day when the ABC had its token one hour poetry program. She had the kind of voice I wanted to borrow and bring home. I would invite it to stay and ask it to read bulky instructional booklets for long lost appliances. I would be attentive to every syllable the voice uttered no matter what it was reading.
Some voices are like that.
I scrambled to find her poems. it’s a poetry of Dublin domestic, and that is more compliment than description. You can sometimes be forgiven for thinking all British and Irish poets were born wearing cloth caps, and grew up on farms speaking obscure but ancient dialects. While writing odes to vegetables, they can effortlessly help a cow calve, skin rabbits with their teeth, and name the fifty two different species of flowers growing on the family dung heap.
Meehan’s is an urban poetry of streets and small houses, gardens, markets, meetings. The view from the upstairs window to the fields beyond. Flecked through with humour and rage and non-sentimental compassion. I come from Coventry. It makes sense.
This poem is the first in the collection ‘Pillow Talk’, Gallery Press 1994