Poet Michael Massey laid to rest in Kilkenny

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

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.

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

of day

wait

till the sun

is easing down

in the distance

and standing stones

lay

long shadows on the ground

bring a flower

fresh

from the garden

place it

where you think

my heart

might be

and know

that I

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