Original : In the fall of 1950. A note attached in my old file says: 'Chinese Communist speech in U.N.' The poem had no title. I think we had just recently bought our first T.V., so I'll make a title from that. Place . Auburndale in Queens, New York.



Our New Television



Icy wet, the breath of northern night

A heavy cloud is low above the wood.

My hand is cold, the knuckles blue and white

As fingers turn the knob and push the door.

A screen of light, a Chinese speaker stood

And spoke in high‑pitched piping tones of war

United Nations seated in their hall.

"Is this atomic war?" my mother says...

A heavy cloud inside, a sky about to fall.



Ár dTeilifiseán Nua



An oíche thuaisceartach, is fuar flinch

Le scamall trom anuas, os cionn an fheá.

Mo lámh, na hailt, iad gorm bán le sioc

Is mé don mhurlán dorais leis na méir.

Fráma solais, fear ón Sín ar bráid

Ag feadaíl cogaidh lena ghlór ardghéar

Na Náisiúin Aontaithe ar bailiú.

'An cogadh eithneach é?’ mo mháthair liom...

An scamall trom istigh, an spéir ar tí ísliú.



Raymond J. Clarke


Réamonn Ó Cléirigh


Version in Irish: 22 November, 2004.


Comment: Impression type, with an attempt at a message. This was a kind of scissors and paste poem. I was watching television with my mother. There was a review of a big wind and rain we had the week before. I had just come in from the wet cold outside. I got the idea to think up a little poem comparing the poor weather outside with the poor weather on the television ‑‑‑ conditions the same outside the house and inside the house, except for the pain perhaps. I was almost done when the United Nations' speech came on. I cut out the lines about the weather report and replaced them with a different kind of inside weather ‑‑ the cloud and fear of war inside my mother and me. This is the first of several poems I would write about war worries. I'm glad I have it now to remind me of that.