Jean Bleakney

(1956 / Newry)

The Fairytale Land Of Um - Poem by Jean Bleakney

Between the supercilious litany of ultra
and the negative hordes of un
is the magical realism of Um.
Complete with a sense of journey
(from hesitant opening
to the self-assurance of umpteen):
and sense of place - Central Italy
with its earth of red-brown oxides
and good-versus-evil flora of cow parsley,
angelica, sweet cicely, hemlock and giant hogweed
whose umbel flower parts are spoked and rayed
as umbrellas. Rain is assumed... or sun.
So is conflict: visors, shields, and umiaks
(open boats crewed by Inuit women)
not to mention slaughtered deer and umble pie.
Eclipsed, in minor roles, the umpire
and that German vowel modifier.
Not so, the flapping, stork-like umbrette:
a roc of a bird and in the wrong continent.
Not so, that lacy-leafed jungle of umbellifers
adumbrating each other's flat-topped inflorescenses,
in whose shadowy undergrowth squats umbrage,
that navel-gazing familiar:
umbrage, the giving and taking of it.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 14, 2017

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