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Irish Poetry

Ciaran Carson - Opera Et Cetera (clothbound)

"In Irish traditional music, very much a part of Carson's life, the same tune should never be played the same way twice. [T]his use of performance and variation reflects on how people might exist only in the telling, in language, and how all experience might be a matter of language shuffling its cards. There is great joy in the resources of language, and great wit and humor." Mark Roper, Irish Literary Supplement


The Words

Yes — someone lived here once. You know it by the pungent
The way a zephyr blows a ghostly music from those conches,
like the hieroglyph

Of where we are. The dog-rough breath that slabbered here
is now a mere miasma,
Baffled that the structure of the universe should be
corpuscled in its plasma.

Hear? The deep vast stratum of a limestone sea still
broadcasts sound-waves, and
The guardian angels of its threshold are connected to
us by an ampersand

When we talk in our sleep. There have been other revenants,
of course: whole asylums
Of escaped lunatics, diatribes of Vandals reared on horse-
shit, Crusaders and credendums.

Here, consonants have been eclipsed, and vowels carry
umlauts, like the moan
Of lovers who repaired here to strip off their shadows
before swoon-
Ing into one another's arms. Now, it is a reservoir of
silence, or a Twilight Zone…


1996   96 pages
ISBN 978-0-916390-76-1

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