Saturday, 1 February 2014

I'm after leaving Monaghan

Every time I put a poem on the blog the little graph that shows how many people have looked plummets. But its odd: to know that today's post is a poem, people have to look, and as soon as they do, a 'hit' or whatever it's called is registered. Perhaps there is some truth in my friend Jane's suggestion that some people have installed poem detection software, which at once blocks anything that might tax their intelligence, sensitivity or imagination.

But actually that poem I put here a couple of days ago wasn't really much cop. Here is a better one written a little later. It is however in 'free verse', so might not correspond to some people's idea of what poetry should be like.



I’m After Leaving Monaghan

Your husband comes in, swings his leg over the arm of the chair.
He complains there is no food in the house.
Oh, you’ve made sure of tea-bags —
hundreds and hundreds of tea-bags, in a big green catering box —
sugar, milk in two-litre plastic jugs,
bread-butter-jam —
but no real food.
He seems to think you should have got some in.
I want to protest; he could surely do it himself.
After all, you are lying half-naked, half-in half-out of bed,
and hampered by me, lying half-on half-off the bed,
whereas he is up and fully dressed.
But it is not my place to come between man and wife.
So I say nothing. I let my eyelids fall closed.

Your left breast is crumpled under my arm, nipple half-hidden in a fold of flesh.
I want to release it, move my hand a little, make you more comfortable,
but I fear it might be taken, by you or by him, as a caress.

I think I hear your husband say ‘And what’s up with him?’
and am moved, nearly, to say ‘It is not my place to come between man and wife.’
But I may have misheard, or he might not have been addressing you.
After all, apart from us three, there are two other people in the room,
who just dropped in for tea.

I think I hear you whisper ‘Help me!’
But I may be mistaken; you may be whispering something else,
or you might be addressing someone else, and my eyes are still shut,
and besides, it is not my place to come between man and wife.

My face nests in the soft spun gold
at the crown of your dear, dear head.
Everyone feels at a disadvantage.
It is a tricky situation.

Simon Darragh


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