Portrait of David Wright, Oil on Canvas, c.1960; Swift painted at least two portraits of David Wright, one in 1953 and the present picture (poor quality reproduction)

Incidentally, the Wright portrait is larger than lifesize, which enhances its effect of almost baroque monumentality.
- Brian Fallon (critic), Patrick Swift: An Irish Painter in Portugal, Gandon Editions, 2001

by David Wright

I never imagined I
Should write your elegy.
I look out of the window
As you taught me to do.
All creation is grand.
Whatever is to hand
Deserves a line, praising
What is for being.

Thus at Westbourne Terrace
In long ago days
Brush in hand I'd see you
At your morning window
Transfer the thousand leaves
Of summer heavy trees
And delighting light
To another surface
Where they will not turn
With the turning season
But stay, and say
This is the mystery!
Or you would repeat
In pencil or in paint
The old stuffed pheasant too
That lived in your studio
Among jars of turps
With a visiting ghost,
Charles Baudelaire's photo.
All the eye lights on
There for delighting.
Or put it this way,
A thing of beauty
is joy perceived.
So you would give
Thanks for what is:
All art is praise.

Ah, those mornings
In many-hilled
Pombaline Lisbon:
The roads we travelled!
I do not mean
Only in Portugal-
Though now recalling
How, somewhere near
The river Guardiana
Going to Alcoutim,
We stopped the car
For, winding down
Round hills and bare,
Over no road came
The muleback riders
And blackshawled women
On foot, following
A coffin to nowhere:
Memento mori!

Or recollect
-Each of us unique-
Your head suddenly
Thrown back, oblique
Eye over the laughter:
An aslant look
As if to say
Did the joke carry? The
Underlaid irony
Over the joke?

I see now
Out of my window
Mist rising from
A leaden Eden
Drifting slowly
Under trees barely
Leaved to the ford.
Gentle and aloud
The water breaks
As white as bread
Over the under road.
On the far bank
A field with trees
Each standing naked
On a fallen dress,
Brown and gold leaves.
I might relate
How Swift my friend
Has gone, like these!
But I will not.
No cause for sadness,
You reader of Aquinas
And clear Horace.
Whom the gods love, die
Young but not easily.