The Parting Glass by Neil Young

The Parting Glass is a collection of fourteen sonnets by Aberdeenshire based poet Neil Young, co-founder of The Poets’ Republic magazine.


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The Parting Glass takes its theme from a traditional Irish/Scottish song that is both a greeting and a farewell. These fourteen sonnets are lyrical, urgent impressions of our everyday world. Everywhere the personal and the universal intersect, opening out to reveal something greater enclosing us.

Neil Young hails from Belfast and now lives in the north-east of Scotland, where he is co-founder of The Poets’ Republic magazine. His first collection, Lagan Voices, was published by Scryfa in 2011.

The Parting Glass
(in memory of Adam Lewis)

Now you’ve really torn the arse out of it
And all my best words can’t make you less dead,
Our big reunion, our chance to kick-start
New times becomes a last visit instead –
No trains to book, no hint your heart could quit
Though all the while, unknown, the sickness spread –
No more missed calls or casual laughter,
Not even a joke – forever after.

I skipped your funeral. Sorry, but then
You hated protocol. I could not grieve
As others do, but came across you again
In a backstreet pub, your ghost at my sleeve
And there, oh how we talked, what time we passed,
As if each glass, my friend, could be our last.