Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Paul Muldoon

The Misfits


If and when I did look up, the sky over the Moy was the very same
as the slow lift
of steam-smoke over the seam
of manure on a midwinter morning. I noticed the splash of red lead
on my left boot as again and again I would bend
my knee and bury my head in the rich

black earth the way an ostrich
was rumoured to bury its head. My hands were blue
with cold. Again and again I would bend
to my left and lift
by one handle a creel of potatoes⎯King Edwards, gray as lead⎯
mined from what would surely seem

to any nine- or ten-year-old an inexhaustible seam.
My father wore a bag-apron that read, in capital letters, RICH.
My own capital idea, meanwhile, had sunk like a lead
balloon. “Blow all you like,” my father turned on me. “Talk till you’re blue
in the face. I won’t let you take a lift
from the Monk. Blow all you like. I won’t bend.”

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