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Dennis O'Driscoll was born in Thurles, County Tipperary in 1954.
He has published seven books of poetry: Kist (Dolmen, 1982), Hidden Extras (Anvil, London/Dedalus, Dublin, 1987), Long Story Short (Anvil /Dedalus, 1993), Quality Time (Anvil, 1997), Weather Permitting (Anvil, 1999), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Prize 2001, Exemplary Damages (Anvil, 2002) and New and Selected Poems (Anvil, 2004).
His work has been extensively anthologized, and he is a widely-published critic. Among his awards, he received a Lannan Literary Award in 1999.
A civil servant since the age of 16, he works in the head office of Irish Customs, and lives in County Kildare with his wife, the poet Julie O'Callaghan.
from The Bottom Line
The unoriginal sins we perpetrate, our guilt
shared like a Christmas bonus: mileage rigged,
spare parts purloined, an office laptop
commandeered to conserve sports club cash,
things troubling when the internal audit
section dreams up dodgy questions;
taxmen, too, the nightmare of close scrutiny
receipts, excuses, bank statements
to prepareand the attendant dread
of lay-offs, sackings, three-day weeks,
gaunt, haunting figures begging change.
Death, once brushed against,
does not seem in the least
like a stubbly ghost with scythe
reaping dry grass in the graveyard,
but shows up as a brash executive
cutting recklessly across your lane,
lights making eye-contact with yours,
ready to meet head-on as though
by previous appointment; ram home
your car horn like a panic button:
his cellphone's bell will toll for you.
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