His grace is no longer called for
before meals: farmed fish multiply
without His intercession.
Bread production rises through
Ireland’s boom is in full swing.
Rows of numbers, set in a cloudless blue
computer background, prove the point.
Tomorrow I will start to be happy.
The morning will light up like a celebratory cigar.
Sunbeams sprawling on the lawn will set
dew sparkling like a cut-glass tumbler of champagne.
Forever some customer happy to sing along with the supermarket muzak, no matter how hackneyed or crass.
Forever the plangent sound of a motorcycle in the early hours, conjuring a world you once had access to.
Time for sleep. Time for a nightcap of grave music,
a dark nocturne, a late quartet, a parting song,
bequeathed by the great dead in perpetuity.
My next poem is quite short and it’s about something most of you will recognise. It came out of an experience I had on holiday a couple of years ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m correct in saying that it’s the only poem I’ve ever managed to write during my holidays
someone is dressing up for death today, a change of skirt or tie
eating a final feast of buttered sliced pan, tea
scarcely having noticed the erection that was his last
shaving his face to marble for the icy laying out
The August day you wake to takes you by surprise.
Its bitterness. Black sullen clouds. Brackish downpour.
A drift-net of wetness enmeshes the rented cottage,
towels and children’s swimwear sodden on the line.
After Miroslav Holub
It’s much cushier when it’s raining rabbits
than cats and dogs. The animals for experiment
should not betray too much intelligence.