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Paris or Varykino

By Michael Durack -

They’d always have Paris or Varykino,

Lara and Zhivago or Ilsa and Rick

up on the big screen, we down below

in the darkened parterre, the warm glow

of compromised love washing over us from exotic

(remembered) Paris or Varykino.

Mind-hopping from Moscow to Morocco,

an ecstasy of escapism from the humdrum domestic

to the big screen from our seats down below.

For Bergman, Bogart, Christie, Sharif & co

had little in common with a Kathleen and Mick;

they’d always have Paris or Varykino

while we had Ballybunion, Salthill or Sligo.

But hold on a minute, here’s the trick:

between the big screen and down below

is merely a matter of scale. Picture show

and reality trade on the same emotions; the magic

of love means we’ll all have Paris or Varykino

whether up on the big screen or here down below.


Michael Durack lives in Ballina, Co. Tipperary. His poems have appeared in publications such as The Blue Nib, Skylight 47, The Cafe Review, Live Encounters, The Poetry Bus, The Stony Thursday Book, The Honest Ulsterman and Poetry Ireland Review. With his brother Austin he has recorded two albums of poetry and guitar music, The Secret Chord (2013) and Going Gone (2015). He is the author of a memoir in prose and poems, Saved to Memory: Lost to View (Limerick Writers Centre 2016), and two poetry collections, Where It Began (2017) and Flip Sides (2020) published by Revival Press.


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