*All images are give copyright permission by Stephen Byrne unless otherwise noted.
Below Title Image - Stephen Byrne in 2019.
Using slant iambic pentameter and as slant as possible, words of similarity, it just came together, a very song like chant that I believe captures the emotional chaos and tragedy of that moment. It was a great exercise and one I still use to create a very musical poem that sounds great on the ear, especially when read aloud.
Where were you when you started to actually write the poem?And please describe the place in great detail. I was writing on my balcony in a two-bedroom apartment I shared with a friend, overlooking Galway Bay and the river Corrib in the west of Ireland. It was summer of 2014. Weather permitting, I would sit out here and read and write, drinking as much coffee as possible.
The view was magnificent. The bay, the river, the Clare Mountains. Boats, seals, screaming seagulls, the smell of a sea at high tide, and the stench of the green moss at low. Something I miss is the smell of rain before it appears, and you see it, creeping across the bay, dark as a swarm of bees, before
it hits home.
How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?) I can’t find any copies of drafts. Since I’ve relocated, everything is up-in-arms and lot of papers misplaced. But I’ve a good memory.
I remember the exercise well and the first draft flew like a bird on the page. I remember being very happy with the first draft, and with this first draft, we would submit it to others and the tutor doing the Iowa-writing program for constructive criticism. From this feedback, I think it took another two to three drafts and I was happy with it.
Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version? And can you share them with us? Now, I have no documented evidence so I can’t really say or remember. As far as I can remember, it was in one big verse before been chopped into three.
? To remember there are always going to be two sides to the same story. Who is right? Who is wrong? But, at the end of the day, someone’s child is dead, regardless of the side you take, never forget the images of the innocent.
That the statement, war is war, is a load of nonsense. To never forget how lucky and privileged we are to sit on a warm couch at night in our well kept homes without the fear of bombardment or the death of a loved one through shelling. If you have a child, try put yourself in this fathers shoes.
Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why? The lines ‘see the doll I got you son’. Watching a father, try to wake a dead child to give him a doll will never leave my mind.
The book was short listed for Writing Magazines Writers’ Circle Anthology Award. He has been published worldwide in places such as Warscapes, Indian Review, Tuck Magazine, Rise Up Review, RædLeafPoetry-India, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology and many others as well as interviewed by Words Without Borders. He is a food writer for the website This is Galway.
“A Father Calls to his child on Liveleak”