Thursday, May 30, 2013

Haiku with a number or two

     Recently Irish poet and New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon read at the Folger Shakespeare Library -- and, sadly, I missed the event.  To note the occasion, however, I turned to a Muldoon collection on my shelf, purchased a dozen years ago when I heard him read -- a lively and enjoyable performance, with wit and gusto -- at Bucknell University's Stadler Poetry Center.  
     I have not found significant mathematical imagery in Muldoon's work -- but here are several stanzas from his "Hopewell Haiku" that include numbers.

     XLI        by Paul Muldoon

          Jean paints one toenail.
          In a fork of the white ash,
          quick, a cardinal.    

          In a slow puddle
          two dragonflies, Oxford blues,
          rest on their paddles.


         I've upset the pail
         in which my daughter had kept
         her five -- "No, six" -- snails.

Also, a stanza from Muldoon's "Long Finish" that gives us several numbers:

     The wonder is that we somehow have withstood
     the soars and slumps in the Dow
     of ten years of marriage and parenthood,
     its summits and its sloughs--
     that we've somehow
     managed to withstand an almond-blossomy
     five years of bitter rapture, five of blissful rows
     (and then some

     if we count the one or two to spare
     when we've been firmly on cloud nine).
          . . .

These stanzas are from Muldoon's 1998 collection, Hay -- and I found them in my bookshelf copy of Paul Muldoon Poems 1969-1998 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001).
And don't forget to write your own Haiku to send to Mars -- see contest details in my 25 May 2013 post.

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