Three Poems by Eithne Wilkins
Three Poems by Eithne Wilkins stories
  0 likes
  •   0 comments
Share

anon
anonAnonymously Published Stories
Autoplay OFF  •  7 months ago
These poems were published in the premiere issue of Joseph F. McCrindle's Transatlantic Review in the summer of 1959. I assume they're meant to be regarded as a unified sequence, as they've been numbered I through III, while a fourth poem not included here, [Auto Da Fe,](http://www.jstor.
Source: MilkbottleF https://www.reddit.com/r/...

Three Poems by Eithne Wilkins

by MilkbottleF

These poems were published in the premiere issue of Joseph F. McCrindle's Transatlantic Review in the summer of 1959.

I assume they're meant to be regarded as a unified sequence, as they've been numbered I through III, while a fourth poem not included here, [Auto Da Fe,](http://www.jstor.

org/stable/41511693) has no number. The first is dedicated to "E.H.W.", which I'm almost certain refers to her father, Edgar Henry Wilkins, an Irish physician who died in 1946.

Any formatting errors and inconsistencies are my own; I've linked to the poems' pages on JSTOR for those who may wish to check my transcriptions against the originals.

[I. - ELEGY FOR THE MELANCHOLY AND TERRIBLE POTATO](http://www.jstor.org/stable/41511690)

> (in memory of E.H.W.)

>

> Now in this autumn since at last the rain began,

> the slow rain in the night too late to save

> the nightshade dim potato,

> clop-hopping slow potato,

> from his end,

> there is no room but taking thought.

>

> The slow rain falls by night, a shroud upon who lived here in

> [this field,

> nor summer did him good;

> who did not call a doctor, did not keep a dog,

> but often stood at evening

> remembering how he worked his passage, remembering the

> [Chimu urn.

>

> The fast rain falls by day,

> a clatter in the leaves above the roof,

> a mutter in the ground for grief that comes too late.

> Now in this autumn since at last the rain began too late to save

> [the crop

> a small food it will be for men who've lost the habit of their hope,

> small men who've hung their coat in fields

> where now the starling bounces, runs between the banded lines

> [of seed.

>

> Even the dying lolling on the market tumbril and

> the rollings apples, clouded under flies,

> and trailing leaves of vegetables that once were vast, imperial,

> all close their eyes in dust.

> They close their eyes, remembering the hardship that he had

> to make his way across the world, the spadework in the tumbling stones,

> the shores of Chile and Peru, the fields of Meath,

> the famine, and the fame,

> the man he was.

>

> Who did not call a doctor, did not keep a dog,

> who heard the slow rain in the autumn and the fast rain sweep

> across the starlings' field by day,

> all food for thought.

> and not for other men his gaunt, clod-hopping fame:

> the slow potato, the not-talkative, the pale wan man with death,

> with folded arms at the half-door,

> in shirt-sleeves,

> still.

>

> * * *

>

> And this our brother we commit to earth.

>

> The times there are of terror and of change

> are blankets slipping, this green shroud.

> What we are face to face with is no stranger but this good of

> [our own grubbing

> this good scrubbed and skinned and sacrificed, this good broth,

> [this white boy, this mandrake,

> one and many, mild and terrible,

> this one man's poison making well.

[II. - PORE LIL OLE FREAK: RABBIT-AND-ONION PIE](http://www.jstor.org/stable/41511691)

> Here with the orphan and preposterous onion each is left alone,

> peeling the problem clean,

> till, stripping skirt and skin between the teeth away,

> what could be left, it seems, for bone?

>

> Suppose the thing he lives with, hours he breathes

> and cannot catch the salt of,

> salting almost all away,

> should for the philosopher in seeming, for the sage, have --

> at the far end of the scale, all shaled away --

> but none?

> Hence mopping that he does at wet wierd eyes,

> who moans: The slop of it!

> Spent-savour, oh, the sell!

>

> What, round-faced, proud and pale, poor onion, only child,

> poor child of malice and the cost of tears,

> what should he make of peeling off for ever, it appears?

> For that it does appear, that is his only bone,

> who picks his fret with it through worlds of interleaving round

> [upon it

> and, cleaned out (what mopes?),

> limps on,

> lop-eared,

> alone.

[III. - THERE'S FENNEL FOR YOU (PRAY LOVE REMEMBER)](http://www.jstor.org/stable/41511692)

> Hand of air rejects the other fingers' sweat,

> takes only the original:

> not laurel, but the leave, unclasping;

> not basil, but the king.

> Even its salad of a sparing life

> is green of solitude.

>

> Last supperless the staying awake

> for this poor kitchen, this too much of light,

> the very marrow, balsam, thyme on the exhausted altar

> out of mind!

> The wasting on a ghost?

>

> For airy hand goes out of reach, to pick and choose.

> Takes only fennel comfort,

> and with salt.

Stories We Think You'll Love