Thursday, December 11, 2008

"The soiled grey blanket of Irish rain"

from Gathering Mushrooms
Paul Muldoon

You discovered yourself in some outbuilding
with your long-lost companion, me,
though my head had grown into the head of a horse
and shook its dirty-fair mane
and spoke this verse:

Come back to us. However cold and raw, your feet
were always meant
to negotiate terms with bare cement.
Beyond this concrete wall is a wall of concrete
and barbed wire. Your only hope
is to come back. If sing you must, let your song
tell of treading your own dung,
let straw and dung give a spring to your step.
If we never live to see the day we leap
into our true domain,
lie down with us now and wrap
yourself in the soiled grey blanket of Irish rain
that will, one day, bleach itself white.
Lie down with us and wait.

[N.B. Source mislabels the poem as "Milkweed and Monarch."]

3 comments:

Jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

Honestly, I don't get this poem. Here is my recap,

This guy is tripping on 'shrooms. He is talking to himself, who he now fancies is a horse. He tells himself he is made for the city? He is currently in jail. He should lie down and die.

I have never been trained to read poetry, I must be missing everything.

Sarang said...

Helps if you read the whole poem (follow link). Roughly speaking the "I" and the "you" are revisiting a landscape from the "I"'s childhood while on shrooms. This being Northern Ireland he's reminded of the Troubles, and of the people in jail. The neat thing about the last stanza (which I pasted, mostly for the beautiful line about the soiled grey blanket) is its implicit equation of prisoners with horses with Irishmen.