Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 27 May 2013

  • It Won’t Be Anytime Soon

    I need a man with enough sagacity
    To wear a coonskin cap
    And escort me and my party
    Through the Cumberland Gap
    A man sufficiently rough hewn
    Not to see shooting a racoon
    As serious crime
    You need a man with enough powder and ball
    To see that what lies behind a waterfall’s
    The American sublime
    Though you may one day track down your Daniel Boone
    It won’t be anytime soon

    I need a man with just enough gravity
    To see how a dripping tap
    Will bend the back of a levee
    Until you hear it snap
    A man sufficiently immune
    To the broad strokes of the Times-Picayune
    As might turn on a dime
    You need a man with enough native wit to call
    It like it is from the flood wall
    Even as the waters climb
    Though he may rise one day with the harvest moon
    It won’t be anytime soon

    I need a man with enough lucidity
    To read a contour map
    Of Zion or Monument Valley
    Without the appropriate app
    A man sufficiently attuned
    To looking beyond buttes and dunes
    Of sandstone and shale and lime
    You need a man with enough old-fashioned gall
    To tell you you look small
    In geological time
    Though that may one day strike you as opportune
    It won’t be anytime soon

    by Paul Muldoon

    Poetry news! The inaugural Reading Poetry Festival runs from 5-9 June and promises to be a fantastic event. Speakers include Iain Sinclair, Bernard O'Donoghue, Leontia Flynn, Kei Miller, Zoe Skoulding, Peter Robinson, and Steven Matthews. There are also two exhibitions curated by Peter Robinson and Natalie Pollard. Many events are free but require you to book. Click here for the full programme and details about how you can book tickets.

    'It Won't Be Anytime Soon' is copyright © Paul Muldoon, 2012, and reprinted from his book Songs and Sonnets, published by Enitharmon Books in 2012.

    Notes from Enitharmon:

    Paul Muldoon was born in 1951 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. From 1973 to 1986 he worked in Belfast as a radio and television producer for the BBC. Since 1987 he has lived in the USA, where he is now Howard G.B. Clark '21 Professor at Princeton University and Founding Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. Between 1999 and 2004 he was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. Apart from Songs and Sonnets, Muldoon's most recent collections of poetry are Plan B (also published by Enitharmon in 2009), Maggot (2010), and The Word on the Street (2013). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Muldoon was elected a Member of the American Academy in Arts and Letters in 2008. Among his awards are the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Irish Times Poetry Prize, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the International Griffin Prize, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, and the Shakespeare Prize.

    Writing in The Guardian about Songs and Sonnets, Maria Johnston commented that 'perhaps th[e] hyphenated category "poem-songs" best describes these songs and sonnets. They are complex, charged performances that vibrate in the interim between one thing and the other. They'll rock your world.' You can read more about Songs and Sonnets on Enitharmon's site here, and more about Muldoon from his own website here.

    Enitharmon Press takes its name from a William Blake character who represents spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration. Founded in 1967 with an emphasis on independence and quality, Enitharmon has been associated with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned collaborations between artists, including Gilbert & George, and poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint. You can sign up to the publisher's mailing list here to receive a newsletter with special offers, details of readings & events and new titles and Enitharmon's Poem of the Month.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.