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Two Poems

The Land Is Not Settled

The land is not yet settled
After our years of pandemonium.
This time it is almost too late
To sing with full heart a parting hymn,
Or indulge in the usual fickle
Humour of things. It is too late

To bolt the door of Ireland.
A penny candle struggles in the wind,
A corpse from the West rises
To face me. What was a house now stands
As a ghost from the assizes.
Believe me, I tried to understand

All the signals we received from Berlin.
Little did they know, in our autonomous
Region all the gold was gorse,
And all investment was storytelling.
Blackbirds in the oak trees are trembling still
Where all our demons hurriedly went in.

The Unexpected

Early April suddenly ablaze and unexpected pear blossom
As rampant as de Chardin's sudden forms of life, as
Delicate as the lacquerwork left over from a raid
Of winter that scattered so many things since autumn—
You could hardly fathom what April brought in on the breeze,
What organic matter-of-fact things, what impolite cascade
Of broken crockery in pink and green. It's like that election
Heard in the distance, beyond the fat privet hedge,
An election that has even set the traffic lights on edge
And caused this collision of ideas. From our quiet section
I can hear anxieties rolling in. But are these not the same as last
Time? Is she not the same? And he, is he not like a gardener
Gone berserk, flat cap askew, trying to make regular
What swarms. Life itself, that is, now swarming on the grass.

Thomas McCarthy


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