A poem for Ireland

My Beloved Compares Herself to a Pint of Stout

When in the heat of the first night of summer

I observe with a whistle of envy

That Jackson has driven out the road for a pint of stout,

She puts her arm around my waist and scolds me:

Am I not your pint of stout? Drink me.

There is nothing except, of course, self-pity

To stop you also having your pint of stout.

Putting self-pity on a leash in the back of the car,

I drive out the road, do a U-turn,

Drive in the hall door, up the spiral staircase,

Into her bedroom. I park at the foot of her bed,

Nonchalantly step out leaving the car unlocked,

Stroll over to the chest of drawers, lean on it,

Circumspectly inspect the backs of my hands,

Modestly request from her a pint of stout.

She turns her back, undresses, pours herself into bed,

Adjusts the pillows, slaps her hand on the coverlet:

Here I am – at the very least

Look at my new cotton nightdress before you shred it

And do not complain that I have not got a head on me.

I look around to see her foaming out of the bedclothes

Not laughing but gazing at me out of four-legged eyes.

She says: Close your eyes, put your hands around me.

I am the blackest, coldest pint you will ever drink,

So sip me slowly, let me linger on your lips,

Ooze through your teeth, dawdle down your throat,

Before swooping down into your guts.

While you drink me I will deposit my scum

On your rim and when you get to the bottom of me,

No matter how hard you try to drink my dregs –

And being a man, you will, no harm in that –

I will keep bubbling up back at you.

For there is no escaping my aftermath.

Tonight – being the first night of summer –

You may drink as many pints of me as you like.

There are barrels of me in the taproom.

In thin daylight at nightfall,

You will fall asleep drunk on love.

When you wake early in the early morning

You will have a hangover,

All chaste, astringent, aflame with affirmation,

Straining at the bit to get to first mass

And holy communion and work – the good life.

Paul Durcan

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4 thoughts on “A poem for Ireland

  1. Pingback: Tagging along: A year in blog | tenderness on the block

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