CANTO XXX1 (continues and ends here)
"Sure the person who takes the first stone out of the way
is responsible for the avalanche."
"Is that where you got the Strike… Strike… Shopping?"
"Let’s put Newry to bed, for Christ’s sake"
came from behind the bar,
the curly one cleaning glasses,
"I used to work up there,
it was always a bit of Tijuana,
full of fellas with their striped diesel."
"Because I could not stop for Drink,
she kindly stopped for me"
the pint glass held but just Ourselves
"It’s about time you paid your respects
to your elders and betters,
Poetry is an act of memory
and the ritual of giving
a remarkable funeral to words.
I too was invented,
I wasn’t born designed,
fit for purpose.
Accident, accident, accident
- that’s what it is.
You have forgotten me,
overlooked my job of keeping you
to the straits and narrows of outrageous fortune.
Once more, I appeal for Englynion,
poetic minions essential to the feast.
You’ve been at it as if your job
was to write a new Inferno.
Cut out all this blank stuff,
verse with your heart, not head.
Give us the music of syllables,
paired like white and black notes at the dance.
Poetry is leitmotiv,
not a surface tune of rhyming couplets.
Go into Dickinson’s world,
climb into her attic,
open a package, any cluster will do,
look how she places her dashes,
and what she doesn’t say.
Bring back the silence.
Why do you think poets invented empty space
if it wasn’t to celebrate
the sound of letters growing?
It’s not that they’re lazy,
that they have an aversion to completing the line,
that they need margins to think,
or fill the time between opening and closing:
poets simply fillet better,
spending more time taking-away
Remember Ezra Pound:
what did he do with all the Wasteland?
If you could find a scalpel like that,
you could reduce the Epic to a Haiku."
MOLESKINE’s eye flickered,
he lifted his page-maker back to the page,
and went back to receiving writing
as he’d done from the beginning.
This was the seventh pen that had contributed,
a biro from doylecollection.com,
the Mont Blanc was missing:
I had no idea where I’d put it,
it was a huge loss.
I reached over and opened my John Rocha Manbag,
removed MR TAYTO
‘The Man Inside The Jacket’
on to the counter.
I could see Nelson’s Pillar standing,
and the Number 4 bus with bicycles behind
on O’Connell Street in Dublin
before the explosion:
1966 Year of the Dog, or the Rat
or the year a Jesuit forced me to stand
and read German in front of the class,
while he massaged the underside of my jaw
each time I stumbled in pronunciation.
MR TAYTO with his red jacket,
striped trousers and flashy hat,
I’d been jaundiced too,
but it was miles from Moore Street
I was reared, without a Granny,
and no talk of the Great Famine.
But I had more brothers at home,
and I was older:
when President Kennedy came to the Racecourse in Limerick,
and mixed-up fast horses with beautiful women,
there were no Taytos for him,
the factory in Coolock wasn’t ready.
There are no photographs of JFK on a haystack
with Guinness on Salt and Vinegar.
The volume I had beside me was from Ennistymon,
a corner shop across the way from the Falls Hotel,
it was irresistible.
I would let the UNIVERSE guide me,
open the book wherever nature decreed,
I would read the Runes
as if they were tealeaves from a cup
poured by Daisy,
the woman who loved me
- even the day I dropped the Uncle’s car-keys
in the rainwater barrel.
I can see
"A contribution arising from the sale of this book
will be donated to Aware
a face helping to defeat Depression"
I could think it was like sand fighting tide,
I rushed to reconsider the risk of opening a page,
and finding it full of The Dishonest Men,
The Hollow Men,
bloated on potato crisps.
What if MR TAYTO’s friends included
Charlie Haughey or Paddy Power?
Would that force me down a blind alley,
just when I needed inspiration most?