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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “How to Live” by Derek Mahon

The final months of the year are always stressful, but Thanksgiving offers a welcome pause from the day-to-day chaos to reflect on things in our lives for which we are grateful, surrounded by people we love. We can prepare for the holiday season and reflect on the year as it draws to a close. In our Poem of the Week, Derek Mahon offers a translation of one of Horace’s Odes as a reminder to set aside our worries to give thanks for the time we have with each other.


How to Live

(Horace, Odes, Book One, 11)

Don’t waste your time, Leuconoé, living in fear and hope
of the imprevisable future; forget the horoscope.
Accept whatever happens. Whether the gods allow
us fifty winters more or drop us at this one now
which flings the high Tyrrhenian waves on the stone piers,
decant your wine: the days are more fun than the years
which pass us by while we discuss them. Act with zest
one day at a time, and never mind the rest.

Derek MahonThe Hunt by Night (1982)

Categories: Derek Mahon, Poem of the WeekTags: , , ,

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