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Thursday, November 20, 2008


after Seán Ó Ríordáin

No dead men will leave the tomb
to seek out the confines of night or day.
Abandon your designs on them
and humble your bare head to the clay.

Don’t think you can put flesh on a wraith.
The beautiful was never true.
I know that My Redeemer lieth.
No pennies will fall from heaven for you.

You want a pooka to breathe down your neck,
and all the heavenly lies he’d spin.
You’ve settled for the hump on your back;
don’t let it spread to the brain.

Amidst your pooka shadowmancy
find the pooka truth and way.
Cast a hunchshadow all can see
and humble your bare head to the clay.

Make a show of yourself. The critic rates
the hunchshadowself you hide in
that once was laid between the sheets
to kiss while deafness blew from heaven.

And a gentle hand entombed and rotting,
a dream in a separate tomb imprisoned,
the dearest dream, the rarest thing,
in a deep tomb inside the mind,

and the black chalice of night drained low,
and a crooked sleep, tossed left and right,
while Veronica mopped His brow,
while the hunchback stripped bare in the night.

Hypocrite lecteur who read
the poem I beget on sickness,
try judging that and then decide
what is failure and what success.

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