This is Pat Ingoldsby, a poet, and a Dublin icon. He was siting on Westmoreland Street, surrounded by his books and busy finishing a poem in his notebook when I approached. The self made sign above his head read "Dublin Poet - anywhere else I'd be a god."
"Howrya Pat", I said " I want to buy a book from you". " Ah, howrya", he said, "and I've just finished one - can I read it to you? Tell me if you can relate".
He proceeded to recite a poem recounting his difficulty with math and his love of words as a young boy. When he was done he looked up at me and inquired earnestly; " well - can you relate to that?". Indeed I could and I told him so, and after he had lamented the presence of letters in mathematical equation, I suggested that perhaps it's just the words trying to invade and overthrow the math world. He liked this idea and a warm smile spread broadly from under his hat.
Pat is at once whimsical, sincere, biting and curious in his observations of the world he sees around him.His poems reflect the people he meets as he sits peddling his literary wares on the streets of Dublin, as well as reflections on the natural world as he sees it from the strand in Howth where he lives. In his life he has known both fame and obscurity and I would hazard a guess that he has little time for either.
As we chatted, he picked up a book and signed it to my wife and I in a large, looping deliberate hand that , when he had finished, read "thanks Patsy and Heather for saving my day". before we parted he recited one more poem that came to him; a few lines pondering whether the pursuit of wealth is as valid as the value of natural beauty.
And with that , we said our goodbyes - warm handshakes, broad waves and smiles and a mutual wish to enjoy the rest of the day.
"What the world needs now is love, sweet love". Burt Bacharach wrote that.
" - and a few more Pat Ingoldsbys". I wrote that.