Two Poems

Paul Muldoon

The Brownlows

Were loyal and steadfast, like granite against the sea:

‘The only thing that ran in our family was the greyhound.’

The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife

I might as well be another guest
at the wedding-feast
of Strongbow and Aoife Mac Murrough
as watch you, Mary,

try to get to grips
with a spider-crab’s
crossbow and cuirass.
A creative pause before the second course

of Ireland’s whole ox on a spit;
the invisible waitress
brings us each a Calvados and water-ice.

It is as if someone had slipped
a double-edged knife between my ribs
and hit the spot exactly.