A wonderful poet, an inspirational teacher, adoring family man and above all, a giving human being, Michael Massey, Lacken Drive, Kilkenny was laid to rest on Saturday. He had his work published in journals like Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly and The Shop. He was twice nominated for a prestigious Hennessy Award and was held in the highest esteem by his peers.
His poetry was uplifting, thought provoking, with a lyrical quality.
His life was punctuated by acts of kindness and for all his talents, he was unassuming and was always there to help out a fellow writer or human being.
He helped form the Clogh Writer’s Group where he taught and was the father figure of the Kilkenny Writers Group.
And after the final prayers were recited in Foulkstown cemetery in bright sunshine, his friend Mike Watts played An Chúileann on the tin whistle as his coffin was lowered..
Earlier his heartbroken widow, Jean recited his poem, “Plot” at the end of Mass in St Canice’s Church:
do not go there
in the glare
till the sun
is easing down
in the distance
and standing stones
long shadows on the ground
bring a flower
from the garden
where you think
will be in touch
Paying tribute to Mr Massey, the Arts Officer with Kilkenny County Council, Mary Butler said Michael Massey was at the heart of the Kilkenny writing community for so many years. “Michael was a teacher, a motivator, a great encourager, mentor and of course a wonderful writer. Michael had published three collections of his poetry and has been published in the Arts Offices Poetry Broadsheet on many occasions.
“He was a kind and modest man and there is no doubt in my saying that his passing is a tremendous loss and he will be greatly missed,” Mary Butler said.
Fellow poet, Gerry Moran said that Michael Massey was a gifted poet and one of the most unassuming, modest and sincere people he had ever met. Gerry has dedicated his weekly column to Michael on Page 32.
Michael Massey was 66 years of age when he passed away suddenly. He is survived by his wife, Jean, children Tom, Roisin, Kate and Bob, other family members and large circle of friends.
Michael’s last published poem was “A Lot Can Happen Between The Bridges” and appeared in this year’s Kilkenny Poetry Broadsheet:
And onto the river walk where canoes
are turning tight circles; daubs
of orange in water’s dark skin.
paddles dip and rise, dripping
silver links of sunlight.
I set the dogs free. they’re off.
Spurting from tree to tree,
loving it. Swans and mallards
gather under the long span
of the old bridge, back-dropped
by the upward thrust of the castle’s
grey walls, a conquering crown
jutting into a blue sky. From nowhere
a breeze rises to riffle the river’s
lazy flow, to shake life into trees
Branches lift and fall, leaves whisper
tell me to cherish mornings like this,
tell me that if my mind is untroubled
and my body free of pain
being in the world is a blessing