POETRY IS LIKE TAKING A DEEP BREATH

Monday, 16 January 2012

THE MAYO TAO


Abend am Niederrhein



I have abandoned the dream kitchens for a low fire
and a prescriptive literature of the spirit;
a storm snores on the desolate sea.
The nearest shop is four miles away -
when I walk there through the shambles
of the morning for tea and firelighters
the mountain paces me in a snow-lit silence.
My days are spent in conversaiton
with deer and blackbirds;
at night fox and badger gather at my door.
I have stood for hours
watching a salmon doze in the tea-gold dark,
for months listening to the sob story
of a stone in the road, the best,
most monotonous sob story I have ever heard.

I am an expert on frost crystals
and the silence of crickets, a confidant
of the stinking shore, the stars in the mud -
there is an immanence in these things
which drives me, despite my scepticism,
almost to the point of speech,
like sunlight cleaving the lake mist at morning
or when tepid water
runs cold at last from the tap.

I have been working for years
on a four-line poem
about the life of a leaf;
I think it might come out right this winter.



Derek Mahon
1941



6 comments:

  1. Quite lovely. Perfect as a frost crystal-


    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

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  2. This one takes my breath away. Somehow in kinship with classical Chinese. Every line a treasure, but I'll highlight these:

    I have stood for hours
    watching a salmon doze in the tea-gold dark,
    for months listening to the sob story
    of a stone in the road, the best,
    most monotonous sob story I have ever heard.

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow! Nature and solitude at its best! Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice shot, great words

    Ciao
    Stefano

    ReplyDelete

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