Being Vladimir Ilyich

for Gerry Matthews who recruited ‘the Irish Lenin’ to politics


He sweeps the driveway Sundays,

names each fallen leaf

god’, ‘capitalism’ or ‘monarchy;

then indoors to count the raindrops

on the window pane and wait

for World War Three.


He lifts the toilet seat and ask himself

what would Vladimir Ilyich do next?


He harangues wide-faced students

with words borrowed from a book,

the first page of which

he’s actually read.


He’s supports every striker’s cause,

as twine supports corpses

strung from trees. Delighted

to be losing his hair, each morning

he’s a few per cent more

Vladimir Ilyich. Devastated


no one’s yet sent him

a letter bomb or flavoured

his apple tart with Arsenic.

He speaks hours

on the need to weed out dogmatists,

functionaries, feminists…

He’s grown the Party from a phone box

to a decently sized school hall.


Tomorrow, he’ll put it back in the only

phone box in town

not yet torn down.




Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City on the West coast of Ireland. He facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre; teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute and on the Brothers of Charity Away With Words creative writing programme for people with disabilities. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The BurningBush literary magazine.

His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please,was published in March 2008 by Salmon. One of the poems from Time Gentlemen, Please,‘My Militant Tendency’,featured in the Forward Book of Poetry 2009. His work also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture is his third collection of poems and was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry.

Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at Arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013) & Boston, USA (2013). Kevin’s fourth collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, will be published by Salmon Poetry in early 2014.

Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews was published in 2012 by Salmon. Prominent member of the Irish parliament (Dáil) Clare Daly T.D. has described Mentioning The War as “a really good and provocative read. It will jolt you; it will certainly touch you; make you laugh; maybe make you snarl a little bit as well, depending on where you come from or what your background is.”

1 comment

One response to “Being Vladimir Ilyich”

  1. Iliked how the writer is inside themselves, almoost spouting flickering thoughts and still painting a vivid picure of the subject

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