Music From The Big Tent

By Macdara Woods

12.50

Music From The Big Tent is Macdara Woods’ first volume of new poems since Collected Poems (2012)

From the opening poem in which a bird falls dead at the feet of the strolling poet and his son, to the closing which references the well-known song ‘The Night Before Larry Was Stretched’, in this latest collection of his poems Macdara Woods looks, with un inching eye, beyond the certainties and consolations of the here and now.

SKU: 9781910251171
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Music From The Big Tent is Macdara Woods’ first volume of new poems since Collected Poems (2012)

From the opening poem in which a bird falls dead at the feet of the strolling poet and his son, to the closing which references the well-known song ‘The Night Before Larry Was Stretched’, in this latest collection of his poems Macdara Woods looks, with unflinching eye, beyond the certainties and consolations of the here and now.

In a book which charts his own recent ill health and recovery, he celebrates “the courage and / The wonder / Of the naked body”, not least at a time “when the financiers / have poisoned all the blood banks / and the drug companies / have rendered us venomous”.

Though his subjects may be illness,frailty and dissolution, the insistence on witness and clear-eyed expression animates these poems with a defiant and by times exuberant energy. Poems such as ‘Big-Top Music’ and ‘A May-Day Aisling Skazka’ (“Here’s where the rhythm in the rhyme / Turns slower (as will yours in time)” tap in to a long tradition of playful music imparting dark visions, and add a new and captivating dimension to Woods’ ongoing dance in words and ‘In the open space between / The words”.

 

Big-Top Music

I’ve been drunk and I’ve been clear
I’ve been straight and I’ve been queer
I’ve been young and I’ve been old
I’ve been hot and I’ve been cold

I’ve been black and I’ve been white
I’ve been wrong and I’ve been right
I’ve travelled far and I’ve travelled back
I’ve been tight and I’ve been slack

I’ve been living I’ve been dead
I’ve been a mind without a head
I’ve been false and I’ve been true
I’ve been me and I’ve been you

I’ve been good and I’ve been bad
I’ve been haven’t and I’ve been had
I’ve been sharp and I’ve been blind
I’ve been cruel and I’ve been kind

I’ve been deaf and I’ve had ears
Had good days and had bad years
I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor
I’ve had doubts and I’ve been sure

I’ve been mad and I’ve been sane
I’ve been marked with the mark of Cain
I’ve been can’t and I’ve been could
I’ve been water and I’ve been blood

I’ve been lymph and I’ve been bone
I’ve been paper and I’ve been stone
I’ve been lost and I’ve been found
I’ve been a fox that’s gone to ground

I’ve been ancient and I’ve been young
I’ve been a song that never was sung
I’ve been here and I’ve been there
I’ve been him and I’ve been her

I have come and I have gone
I’ve been off and I’ve been on
I’ve been over and I’ve been under
Been the taker and the plundered

Been the vanquished been the hero
Patient X and Madame Zero
Been the loved one been the lover
This circus act that’s not yet over

Aetat LXX
July 2012

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