Death Bed Amends. A poem by Kevin Higgins

Long I’ve wanted to see you thrown
from a helicopter into a muttering volcano,
or have my people do things to you
with electricity and enthusiastic Alsatians,
but I never had the cash or necessary contacts
in South American governments of the nineteen seventies
to make it happen.

I contented myself with knowing
you’d one day come
because your conscience was gnawing the remains
of what, for argument’s sake,
we’ll call your soul.

I’d greet you,
once you were close enough,
with a scalding
pot of tea or cup of suspiciously warm
homemade “apple juice” across, hopefully,
the gob.

But now both you
and your conscience
can pop in to watch me cough –
though visiting hours are, naturally, restricted –
safely forgive yourself
through all that bastard glass.



Kevin Higgins’s fifth full collection of poems Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital was published last June by Salmon. The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most read living poet in Ireland. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4; and quoted in The Daily Telegraph, TheIndependent, The Times (London), Hot Press magazine, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show. His poems feature in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). More info here.

1 Comment

  1. A cynical take on a serious subject but typical Kevin Higgins an ultra conservative poet & a great capitalist.

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