Friday, May 6, 2011


Last night, my pal Brendan Joyce asked for a poem that dealt with accents. While this one doesn't mention accents, every time I read it, I imagine Paul Muldoon reciting in his Irish brogue.

Paul Muldoon Reads “At Least They Weren’t Speaking French”

His eyes, all dark, appear to have no whites,
like a bird’s eyes—all iris and pupil. Large
glasses magnify the blinking. His suit,
dusty heather, matches his hair, and he’s
Nabokov’s owlet in "A Bad Day": “brown,
white-speckled, kept shifting this way and that.”
“…mummer-stones…mummery…minimum…,” he recites,
spitting feathers, pauses, looks up, then left.

Not just the TV owl you know and love—
peppering his peers with sage or not so sage
advice, he’s also the creature that’s surprised
you in the wild, or even caged. Beneath
the blinking eyes and fluffy feathers wait
a beak and claws to tear their catch in half.

This poem originally appeared in Mezzo Cammin.