The Next Poem - Poem by Dennis O'Driscoll
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, if you could have called this a holiday - it bore all the hallmarks of an endurance test.
There’s a reference in the poem to roller canaries, which become more or less mythical birds in the last line. I hope the context will make that clear. Incidentally, this poem has gone down extremely well in Swedish translation - which maybe reveals a bit about me! A word I’d better gloss is ‘schizont’; if I can locate the slip of paper, I’ll give you the dictionary definition. Yes, here we are: “a cell formed from a trophozoite during the asexual stage of the life cycle of protozoans of the class Sporozoa.”
OK then, I’ll read this and just two or three further sequences before I finish. By the way, I should perhaps explain that the title is in quotations. It’s something I discovered in a book on early mosaics; I wanted to get across the idea of diversity and yet unity at the same time, especially with an oriental, as it were, orientation. And I need hardly tell this audience which of my fellow poets is alluded to in the phrase “dainty mountaineer” in the second section. Anyway, here it is. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that the repetition of the word ‘nowy’ is deliberate. As I said, it’s quite short. And you have to picture it set out on the page as five sonnet-length trapezoids. Here’s the poem.
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Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye
I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You