A poem for Monday

It's raining outside. I just had a shower to warm up and I'm wearing three layers and drinking whiskey. My hair is wet and beginning to curl, but it doesn't matter. And I'm wondering what I've got to give you today, trying to find something to summon up and share.

I can hear my neighbour in his kitchen, running water, doing washing up. Higher up in the building I can hear a piano. It seems there's always a piano playing here and I think often of Gould's ghost, restless and roaming.

There's something about a night like this, the swoosh of cars in the rain outside that makes me reach for Yeats, that lyrical bastard. But on nights like this with whiskey warming my throat, I can't resist giving voice to "the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves".

And I think of his grave and how I've known his epitaph since I was very young and stood there under Ben Bulben half grasping who he was but forming a connection because of the word "horseman"... feeling then, as you do when you're very young, that it was a singular connection. I remember too what I was wearing that day, but maybe because there's a photo of it somewhere, my sister and I standing either side of his limestone headstone.

The Sorrow of Love
The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earth's old and weary cry.

And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the world's tears,
And all the sorrows of her labouring ships,
And all the burden of her myriad years.

And now the sparrows warring in the eaves,
The curd-pale moon, the white stars in the sky,
And the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves
Are shaken with earth's old and weary cry.
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