RIP sweet Niall McDevitt cosmic being.
Photo: Julie Goldsmith
Editor of International Times
lover of William Blake and cosmic being.
Passed gentle away, his love Julie Goldsmith at his side.
(i.m. Niall McDevitt, 22ND February 1967 – 29th September 2022)
Born with Blake on your lips and the uncommon breath
Of all poets, you slip now from the stanza into the founding
Source of all art. To be immortalised in the earth, gardened
With grace and gain from your shadow, while ordering both
Light and language, the study of which shaped your heart,
The scrutiny of your stare, your intellect and your walking,
As an Avenue-Acolyte, Niall, you led us back across time
To strange streets which were re-lit by the force of your ever
Adventurous spirit, which will be writing now as you watch us,
Side by side with Blake, Gascoyne, Swinburne and all of
The golden ones you now meet. Where are you? We wait,
All who talked and drank with you. Max, Micalef, Robert,
Heathcote, and your family too, whom you’ve graced.
Roddy, Yvonne, your Mother and shining still,
Your lost father, whose hand now grasps your shoulder
And sweetly leads you into a dark and deep, firm embrace.
And then of course, more than all, more even than your friends
Who have gathered, there is your beloved Julie, partner in life
And all time, whose own work looks on worlds separate
To ours, dream constructed; hers is now, Niall, your kingdom,
The towers of which she will climb when she too answers
The call to which you have so bravely responded. Telling no-one
At all but those loved ones who shared each strained hour,
Which played with your measure, but the measure of a man
Like you stays divine, on earth and in air which we will now
Have to complete and breathe for you; those who liked, loved
And learned from you, as you stood in that suit, with those shoes!
Golden trainers, which sport your new Hermes like journey
All of the way to Olympus, from Dublin, Portobello, the Isle of Wight,
And the corners where Barker, Blake, Byron, Marlowe and Yeats
Met their muse. Boy, how you blazed! The Bohran and heart
Drumming! That rich voice! That steeled passion! Undimmed
With the humour that still decorated your smile, right until
A fulfilling Wednesday night and before Thursday’s first hours,
From which sleep’s scent stole you swiftly and bore you towards
The far isle, beloved of all writers when we come to understand
Our words go there, for death’s a translation into the proper tongue
Of the stars. This could be heard in your voice when proclaiming
And expertly explaining, as it becomes memory-music, we will
Listen, ears pressed to love’s bars. It reminds me that these
Scratchings we make, from whim to word, and then paper
Are but the descriptions of gifts we must give to the Gods,
Be they deities, or something else, distant, astral.
Now you know, Niall. You teach us, as we shuffle to fill the space
You once trod. Your trail remains. And it will be our test
And our trial to follow and further the sentence from which
Your brilliance was begat. You were a pure poet, made in total
Dedication to verses, which contained, kept and coloured
All that an unkept Mum will relinquish and all that will not stay
Still under hats. And so, Niall McDevitt, your style, your sense,
Your faith in the poem as prince, and your fervour will be
Remembered as Kensal Rise houses your body and breath
For new air caught in the trees and heard in your next
Earth-stirred poem. Just over one year ago, this was where
You eulogised Michael. and we can all see you now,
Standing there. You were Horovitz’s neighbour, always.
And here you are still, lost heads talking. Discussing the prize
In all poems. Our vow now keeps you with us. In loss
And with love.
This I swear.
David Erdos, 29th September 2022
Photo: Julie Goldsmith
A beautiful poetic obituary. A too short life well lived.Comment by Alan Rowden on 1 October, 2022 at 10:44 am
David, your poem is heartfelt & powerful. Thank you for your inspiration respect with this, and always.
Thinking of the Poets that have left this incarnation already. VVComment by Vanessa Vie on 1 October, 2022 at 11:10 am
Thank you, David, for this stirring elegy for Niall, our astonishing guide to the thousand thousand culverts of poetry and great river of life. His enriched ours beyond measure, and ever will. Thinking of Julie, his family and all his loved ones, also of the psychopomps whose light in the darkness gave him the gift of his phenomenal courage. xxxComment by Naomi Foyle on 2 October, 2022 at 9:35 am
Really sweet, personal, and fitting. I only got to meet Niall this year – even though I live in W11. I saw both Julie and Niall having coffee a couple of times on Portobello Road and I would concur with everything I have heard about Julie over these sad weeks. He was in good hands.Comment by John O'Hora on 9 October, 2022 at 3:16 pm
All I can add is that from the get-go, I found Niall to be exceptionally generous, to the point of being modest. A special being.
You did yourself proud, my friend.