The Day After World Poetry Day

I was busy yesterday and allowed World Poetry Day to pass me by, so it is too late to offer my customary greeting of

Hip hip hooray!

It’s World Poetry Day!

and I don’t think

Hip hip hooray!

It’s the day after World Poetry Day!

will do. Instead, here is something called

The Poet Peels An Onion

She cannot peel it in the ordinary way
There has to be mythology and blood
(Her knife runs round King Oedipus’s eye)

The outer layer comes off as a whole
(Like the dead leaf that Aristaeus scorned)*
But after that it gets more difficult

The peel is not the end, is not even
The beginning of the end
The onion has to have the final say

The cloves with which she studs it
After peeling are not mere cloves
(But the helmets of the Seven Against Thebes)

Tears come to her eyes
This is what she likes about onions –
At no cost, they can make you cry

*I cannot, for the life of me, remember what this line is about. There is an Antaeus in Greek mythology, but what, if anything, he had to do with onions, and in what circumstances he scorned a dead leaf, I have no idea. If anyone can enlighten me, I would be grateful.

The Last of Summer

The Last of Summer

…such beautiful days
i saw sheep in fields
trees on high ridges against the sky
horses in a field with sheep
i saw water rippling under low bridges
churches of flint down dead-end lanes
old cottages with tiny window panes
long-horned cows that stopped chewing until I had passed –
chickens!

And yet I need my medicines and drugs
and long sleeps and dreams
of things that never happened
and will not happen now

if I could only stay here with the horses
the horses and the healing sheep