Poem introduction

This poem is a love poem about a room and it's called 'We Are Living'.

We Are Living

We Are Living

What is this room
But the moments we have lived in it?
When all due has been paid
To gods of wood and stone
And recognition has been made
Of those who'll breathe here when we are gone
Does it not take its worth from us
Who made it because we were here?

Your words are the only furniture I can remember
Your body the book that told me most.
If this room has a ghost
It will be your laughter in the frank dark
Revealing the world as a room
Loved only for those moments when
We touched the purely human.

I could give water now to thirsty plants,
Dig up the floorboards, the foundation,
Study the worm's confidence,
Challenge his omnipotence
Because my blind eyes have seen through walls
That make safe prisons of the days.

We are living
In ceiling, floor and windows,
We are given to where we have been.
This white door will always open
On what our hands have touched,
Our eyes have seen.

from A Time for Voices: Selected Poems 1960-1990 (Bloodaxe, 1990), copyright © Brendan Kennelly 1990, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books Ltd.

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1The Adventure of Learning

2Getting Up Early

3The Singing Girl Is Easy in Her Skill

4Sing and Be Damned To It


6Living Ghosts

7The Happy Grass


9Saint Brigid's Prayer

10Saint Augustine on God

11Children's Hospital

12Citizens of the Night

13The Horse's Head

14The Stones


16Poem from a Three Year Old

17The Visitor


19The Swimmer


21Dream of a Black Fox

22The Scarf





27The Sandwoman


29We Are Living

30The Moment of Letlive

31The Habit of Redemption

32A Restoration

33She Sees Her Own Distance

34More Dust

35The Fire is Crying

36A Half-Finished Garden

37Her Face

38A Giving

39Let It Go


41The Speech of Trees



44The Third Force

45I See You Dancing, Father

46A Glimpse of Starlings

47Clearing a Space


Books by Brendan Kennelly