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Promises, Promises Analysis



Author: poem of Paul Muldoon Type: poem Views: 8

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I am stretched out under the lean-to

Of an old tobacco-shed

On a farm in North Carolina.

A cardinal sings from the dogwood

For the love of marijuana.

His song goes over my head.

There is such splendour in the grass

I might be the picture of happiness.

Yet I am utterly bereft

Of the low hills, the open-ended sky,

The wave upon wave of pasture

Rolling in, and just as surely

Falling short of my bare feet.

Whatever is passing is passing me by.



I am with Raleigh, near the Atlantic,

Where we have built a stockade

Around our little colony.

Give him his scallop-shell of quiet,

His staff of faith to walk upon,

His scrip of joy, immortal diet—

We are some eighty souls

On whom Raleigh will hoist his sails.

He will return, years afterwards,

To wonder where and why

We might have altogether disappeared,

Only to glimpse us here and there

As one fair strand in her braid,

The blue in an Indian girl's dead eye.



I am stretched out under the lean-to

Of an old tobacco-shed

On a farm in North Carolina,

When someone or other, warm, naked,

Stirs within my own skeleton

And stands on tip-toe to look out

Over the horizon,

Through the zones, across the Ocean.

The cardinal sings from a redbud

For the love of one slender and shy,

The flight after flight of stairs

To her room in Bayswater,

The damson freckle on her throat

That I kissed when we kissed Goodbye.





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