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Derek Mahon: Balcony of Europe

Poem Title

Original Publication

CP Page no

Balcony of Europe

An Autumn Wind (Oldcastle: The Gallery Press, 2010

Not included in CP (see also note below)

Allusion to Classical figure Zeus ("The dictator [...] fistful of forked lightening"), Europa

Relationship to Classical text Mahon allows his vision of the present day, where everything is "so much brighter and better" to be drawn out with the tide into the realm of symbol, myth and ancient literature, until his own poetry melds with that of Ovid.

Close translation of words/phrases/excerpts "her floaty garments fluttering in the breeze" is proffered as a translation of the quotation in the previous line (et tremulae sinuantur flamine vestes), which is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses II, 875.

Classical/post-Classical intertexts Balcony of Europe is the title of a novel by Irish author Aidan Higgins and Mahon's poem is dedicated to Aidan and Alannah Higgins (Aidan Higgins, Balcony of Europe. London: Calder & Boyars, 1972.)

Note Also collected in New Collected Poems, Gallery Press, 2011, p.360

Derek Mahon