Michael Donaghy, ‘The Present’

April 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

I don’t really want to make this blog a list of poems that I admire but, for now and whilst university work is all I care about, here is another. We’ve been warned not to use adjectives in our writing but, still, this is beautiful:

For the present there is just one moon,
though every level pond gives back another.

But the bright disc shining in the black lagoon,
perceived by astrophysicist and lover,

is milliseconds old. And even that light’s
seven minutes older than its source.

And the stars we think we see on moonless nights
are long extinguished. And, of course,

this very moment, as you read this line,
is literally gone before you know it.

Forget the here-and-now. We have no time
but this device of wantonness and wit.

Make me this present then: your hand in mine,
and we’ll live out our lives in it.


Also, for some reason, the black lagoon reminds of me Ezra Pound’s fourteen word poem, ‘In a Station of the Metro’. It’s probably the word ‘black’…:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

Petals on a wet, black bough.


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