Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lists, Part Five: "A Quilt Of Quilt Names To Keep You Warm In The Dark"

As I have mentioned previously, Michael Longley is a master of lists.  His collection The Weather in Japan contains several poems that have quilts as their subject.  (An aside:  Longley is fond of transposing Homeric scenes into the modern world.  Thus, Longley's lists sometimes bring to mind Homer's list of Greek ships in The Iliad.)

                         The Yellow Teapot

When those who had eaten at our table and drunk
From the yellow teapot into the night, betrayed you
And told lies about you, I cried out for a curse
And wrote a curse, then stitched together this spell,
A quilt of quilt names to keep you warm in the dark:

Snake's Trail, Shoo Fly, Flying Bats, Spider Web,
Broken Handle, Tumbling Blocks, Hole in the Barn
Door, Dove at the Window, Doors and Windows,
Grandmother's Flower Garden, Sun Dial, Mariner's
Compass, Delectable Mountains, World without End.

Michael Longley, The Weather in Japan (2000).

                             J. E. H. MacDonald, "Rowanberries" (1922)

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