Black text on white paper that reads YES (poem title by Pat Ingoldsby). In amongst a sea of daisies you will find a few who have decided 'wouldn't it be lovely if I tinged my petals pink'. They're the ones I love

2022 Grateful 15: Pat Ingoldsby

I have recently rediscovered the inimitable Pat Ingoldsby, a character I grew up with as a child. Anyone in raised in Ireland around the same time will no doubt remember the TV antics of Pat’s Hat. I remember seeing him on the bus into town from Clontarf one day. I was nearly beside myself to be in the presence of the one and only.

For some reason, he popped up in my feed last week and I’m ever so grateful to the Facebook gods for sending him my way.

The man’s a genius. He used to write a column for the Evening Press and has penned many a play staged in the Peacock, the Gaiety, and the Project Arts in Dublin under titles such as When Am I Getting’ Me Clothes, The Full Shilling, and Bats or Booze or Both. 

When Pat withdrew from radio, TV, and theatre, he’d be found on Westmoreland Street selling his books with the sign ‘Get one now before I’m dead and famous.’

Brendan O’Connor (another favourite of mine) interviewed him recently in The Great Pat Ingoldsby and it all came flooding back.

Today, this poem of his popped up on my feed. Written in 1995, it could have been written for me. As I was.

What it is to wander
and look at towns
and sit on trains
and wish there was
someone you could
talk with.
What it is to wander
and sleep alone
and eat alone
and wish there was
someone you could
laugh with.
What it is to sit
on a little empty
station waiting for
the first train
to somewhere
and wish there was
someone to whom
you could say
“Isn’t the birdsong
What it is to go
as far north in Scotland
as the train will take you
and discover that it isn’t
nearly far enough.
What it is to be here
and not want to go home
and be home and not want
to be here.
It is time for me to buy
a ticket to myself.
in “Poems So Fresh And So New… Yahoo!” by Pat Ingoldsbly, 1995
He self-publishes now, having set up his own publishing house, named after his cat, Willow.

Some of his books since 1998 have carried a note that they are protected by the “Bratislava Accord 1993, section 2 cre/009 manifest-minsk“, the terms of which allegedly protects his book’s content from being included in school textbooks, examinations, elocution classes, and anything with the word “Arts” in it.

Welsh singer/musician David Gray, in 13 answers to nosey questions when asked what he remembers about his first visit to Ireland says:

Pat Ingoldsby introducing me and the road of the crowd.

Pat turned 80 this year and has a new book on the market: old poems, new collection. He has a FB page, too, with some 4.5k followers. It’s a great one to follow if you’re a fan of the absurd and the wisdom that comes from a Dublin heart who has lived through the ages.

7 Responses

  1. I love, ‘Get one now before I’m dead and famous’ and will be borrowing it. Thanks for the introduction, and I’m now a FB follower – excellent!

  2. As a dinosaur, I’m never entirely at ease with “verse” that doesn’t rhyme and scan. But I like the image of the railway station.

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