The Beacon. A Poem by Darren Donohue

Then one day the televisions died or committed suicide, nobody is sure which. One by one, they winked out leaving square fathomless voids in every living room. Old women fiddled with aerials. Old men banged their fists on hard plastic. Children pressed themselves against cold screens, disappearing and reappearing through their dark reflections.

Laptops, tablets, and phones went next, forgetting themselves and their function. A farmer from Roscommon proclaimed, this catastrophe signalled the end of the world. Everyone else suspected terrorism, then suspected each other, then grew sick and tired of suspecting everyone and everything, went to bed early and made love.

Weeks passed and skips grew fat with discarded technology – belching hard drives and vomiting cables. A conceptual artist based in Thurles received an Arts Council grant and immediately paid an outstanding debt to his bookie. With the balance, he collected every last computer, keyboard, and screen. He rolled up his sleeves and set to work, erecting a monumental totem on Dun Laoghaire Pier.

At first, he titled the work, TOWER OF BABEL! But following a community meeting (involving a hard-core element of the local yacht club), he renamed the piece, The Beacon. They lit a fire on its highest point and everyone seemed quite pleased with it.

Although, a local politician labeled it “an eyesore” in the hope of garnering a few extra votes. But he misjudged the mood of the people and lost his seat. ‘The Beacon can be seen from Holyhead,’ people said. And indeed it was true. On a clear day, any one out for a stroll on Holyhead beach could clearly discern The Beacon, the message, our shrine to the past.


Darren’s poetry is published with Poe try Ireland Review, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cyphers, Sixteen Magazine, Rebel Poetry, Best of Vine Leaves, The Poetry Box. He was nominated for a Hennessy Literary Award in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2020. He is currently nominated for the Irish Times, New Irish Writing, Poetry Award and the Strokestown International Poetry Prize. He was writer-in-residence at Carlow College , St Patrick’s, 2019. m/darren-donohue

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