John Montague was that most unusual of Irish people, someone who was born in Brooklyn, New York and “Emigrated” backwards to the home country.  John was born in the USA in February 1929, eight months before the Wall Street crash.  By 1933 the family were in dire straits and sent the boys home to the family place in Northern Ireland.

A celebrated and award winning poet, Montague is well known in Ireland as a regular on the Leaving Certificate.  For that reason alone he is probably better known and less loved.  Considered by many to be Ireland’s first Poet Laureate as holder of the Chair of Poetry.

He passed away in Nice in the south of France on Dec 10th.


Adam’s Apple; by John Montague

Her skin is smooth
as peach or appleblossom
-or a snakeskin.

The snake’s fangs gleam,
the fruit glistens
as warmly in her palm

as ever it shone
on the holy tree.
He savours it

so slowly
it sticks in
our throat forever.

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