Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

CreationEarth Nature Photos

Best Famous Paul Muldoon Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Paul Muldoon poems. This is a select list of the best famous Paul Muldoon poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Paul Muldoon poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Paul Muldoon poems.

Search for the best famous Paul Muldoon poems, articles about Paul Muldoon poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Paul Muldoon poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also:

Famous poems below this ad
Written by Paul Muldoon |


 Even as we speak, there's a smoker's cough
from behind the whitethorn hedge: we stop dead in our tracks;
a distant tingle of water into a trough.
In the past half-hour—since a cattle truck all but sent us shuffling off this mortal coil— we've consoled ourselves with the dregs of a bottle of Redbreast.
Had Hawthorne been a Gael, I insist, the scarlet A on Hester Prynne would have stood for "Alcohol.
" This must be the same truck whose taillights burn so dimly, as if caked with dirt, three or four hundred yards along the boreen (a diminutive form of the Gaelic bóthar, "a road," from bó, "a cow," and thar meaning, in this case, something like "athwart," "boreen" has entered English "through the air" despite the protestations of the O.
): why, though, should one taillight flash and flare then flicker-fade to an afterimage of tourmaline set in a dark part-jet, part-jasper or -jade? That smoker's cough again: it triggers off from drumlin to drumlin an emphysemantiphon of cows.
They hoist themselves onto their trampoline and steady themselves and straight away divine water in some far-flung spot to which they then gravely incline.
This is no Devon cow-coterie, by the way, whey-faced, with Spode hooves and horns: nor are they the metaphysicattle of Japan that have merely to anticipate scoring a bull's-eye and, lo, it happens; these are earth-flesh, earth-blood, salt of the earth, whose talismans are their own jawbones buried under threshold and hearth.
For though they trace themselves to the kith and kine that presided over the birth of Christ (so carry their calves a full nine months and boast liquorice cachous on their tongues), they belong more to the line that's tramped these cwms and corries since Cuchulainn tramped Aoife.
Again the flash.
Again the fade.
However I might allegorize some oscaraboscarabinary bevy of cattle there's no getting round this cattle truck, one light on the blink, laden with what? Microwaves? Hi-fis? Oscaraboscarabinary: a twin, entwined, a tree, a Tuareg; a double dung-beetle; a plain and simple hi-firing party; an off-the-back-of-a-lorry drogue? Enough of Colette and Céline, Céline and Paul Celan: enough of whether Nabokov taught at Wellesley or Wesleyan.
Now let us talk of slaughter and the slain, the helicopter gunship, the mighty Kalashnikov: let's rest for a while in a place where a cow has lain.

Written by Paul Muldoon |

Promises Promises

 I am stretched out under the lean-to
Of an old tobacco-shed
On a farm in North Carolina.
A cardinal sings from the dogwood For the love of marijuana.
His song goes over my head.
There is such splendour in the grass I might be the picture of happiness.
Yet I am utterly bereft Of the low hills, the open-ended sky, The wave upon wave of pasture Rolling in, and just as surely Falling short of my bare feet.
Whatever is passing is passing me by.
I am with Raleigh, near the Atlantic, Where we have built a stockade Around our little colony.
Give him his scallop-shell of quiet, His staff of faith to walk upon, His scrip of joy, immortal diet— We are some eighty souls On whom Raleigh will hoist his sails.
He will return, years afterwards, To wonder where and why We might have altogether disappeared, Only to glimpse us here and there As one fair strand in her braid, The blue in an Indian girl's dead eye.
I am stretched out under the lean-to Of an old tobacco-shed On a farm in North Carolina, When someone or other, warm, naked, Stirs within my own skeleton And stands on tip-toe to look out Over the horizon, Through the zones, across the Ocean.
The cardinal sings from a redbud For the love of one slender and shy, The flight after flight of stairs To her room in Bayswater, The damson freckle on her throat That I kissed when we kissed Goodbye.

Written by Paul Muldoon |


 I was making my way home late one night
this summer, when I staggered
into a snow drift.
Her eyes spoke of a sloe-year, her mouth a year of haws.
Was she Aurora, or the goddess Flora, Artemidora, or Venus bright, or Anorexia, who left a lemon stain on my flannel sheet? It's all much of a muchness.
In Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital a kidney machine supports the latest hunger-striker to have called off his fast, a saline drip into his bag of brine.
A lick and a promise.
Cuckoo spittle.
I hand my sample to Doctor Maw.
She gives me back a confident All Clear.

More great poems below...

Written by Paul Muldoon |

Holy Thursday

 They're kindly here, to let us linger so late,
Long after the shutters are up.
A waiter glides from the kitchen with a plate Of stew, or some thick soup, And settles himself at the next table but one.
We know, you and I, that it's over, That something or other has come between Us, whatever we are, or were.
The waiter swabs his plate with bread And drains what's left of his wine, Then rearranges, one by one, The knife, the fork, the spoon, the napkin, The table itself, the chair he's simply borrowed, And smiles, and bows to his own absence.

Written by Paul Muldoon |

Pineapples And Pomegranates

 To think that, as a boy of thirteen, I would grapple 
with my first pineapple, 
its exposed breast 
setting itself as another test 
of my will-power, knowing in my bones 
that it stood for something other than itself alone 
while having absolutely no sense 
of its being a world-wide symbol of munificence.
Munificence—right? Not munitions, if you understand where I'm coming from.
As if the open hand might, for once, put paid to the hand-grenade in one corner of the planet.
I'm talking about pineapples—right?—not pomegranates.

Written by Paul Muldoon |

The Frog

 Comes to mind as another small 
amongst the rubble.
His eye matches exactly the bubble in my spirit-level.
I set aside hammer and chisel and take him on the trowel.
The entire population of Ireland springs from a pair left to stand overnight in a pond in the gardens of Trinity College, two bottle of wine left there to chill after the Act of Union.
There is, surely, in this story a moral.
A moral for our times.
What if I put him to my head and squeezed it out of him, like the juice of freshly squeezed limes, or a lemon sorbet?

Written by Paul Muldoon |


 Two Workmen were carrying a sheet of asbestos
down the main street of Dingle;
it must have been nailed, at a slight angle,
to the same-sized gap between Brandon

and whichever's the next mountain.
Nine o'clock.
We watched the village dogs take turns to spritz the hotel's refuse-sacks.
I remembered Tralee's unbiodegradable flags from the time of the hunger-strikes.
We drove all day past mounds of sugar-beet, hay-stacks, silage-pits, building-sites, a thatched cottage even— all of them draped in black polythene and weighted against the north-east wind by concrete blocks, old tyres; bags of sand at a makeshift army post across the border.
By the time we got to Belfast the whole of Ireland would be under wraps like, as I said, 'one of your man's landscapes'.
'Your man's? You don't mean Christo's?'

Written by Paul Muldoon |


 When the master was calling the roll
At the primary school in Collegelands,
You were meant to call back Anseo
And raise your hand 
As your name occurred.
Anseo, meaning here, here and now, All present and correct, Was the first word of Irish I spoke.
The last name on the ledger Belonged to Joseph Mary Plunkett Ward And was followed, as often as not, By silence, knowing looks, A nod and a wink, the master's droll 'And where's our little Ward-of-court?' I remember the first time he came back The master had sent him out Along the hedges To weigh up for himself and cut A stick with which he would be beaten.
After a while, nothing was spoken; He would arrive as a matter of course With an ash-plant, a salley-rod.
Or, finally, the hazel-wand He had whittled down to a whip-lash, Its twist of red and yellow lacquers Sanded and polished, And altogether so delicately wrought That he had engraved his initials on it.
I last met Joseph Mary Plunkett Ward In a pub just over the Irish border.
He was living in the open, in a secret camp On the other side of the mountain.
He was fighting for Ireland, Making things happen.
And he told me, Joe Ward, Of how he had risen through the ranks To Quartermaster, Commandant: How every morning at parade His volunteers would call back Anseo And raise their hands As their names occurred.

Written by Paul Muldoon |


 It begins with one or two soldiers
And one or two following
With hampers over their shoulders.
They might be off wildfowling As they would another Christmas Day, So gingerly they pick their steps.
No one seems sure of what to do.
All stop when one stops.
A fire gets lit.
Some spread Their greatcoats on the frozen ground.
Polish vodka, fruit and bread Are broken out and passed round.
The air of an old German song, The rules of Patience, are the secrets They'll share before long.
They draw on their last cigarettes As Friday-night lovers, when it's over, Might get up from their mattresses To congratulate each other And exchange names and addresses.

Written by Paul Muldoon |

The Coney

 Although I have never learned to mow
I suddenly found myself half-way through
last year's pea-sticks
and cauliflower stalks
in our half-acre of garden.
My father had always left the whetstone safely wrapped in his old, tweed cap and balanced on one particular plank beside the septic tank.
This past winter he had been too ill to work.
The scythe would dull so much more quickly in my hands than his, and was so often honed, that while the blade grew less and less a blade the whetstone had entirely disappeared and a lop-eared coney was now curled inside the cap.
He whistled to me through the gap in his front teeth; 'I was wondering, chief, if you happen to know the name of the cauliflowers in your cold-frame that you still hope to dibble in this unenviable bit of ground?' 'They would be All the Year Round.
' 'I guessed as much'; with that he swaggered along the diving-board and jumped.
The moment he hit the water he lost his tattered bathing-togs to the swimming pool's pack of dogs.
'Come in'; this flayed coney would parade and pirouette like honey on a spoon: 'Come on in; Paddy Muldoon.
' And although I have never learned to swim I would willingly have followed him.

Written by Paul Muldoon |


 He opens the scullery door, and a sudden rush
of wind, as raw as raw,
brushes past him as he himself will brush
past the stacks of straw

that stood in earlier for Crow
or Comanche tepees hung with scalps
but tonight past muster, row upon row,
for the foothills of the Alps.
He opens the door of the peeling-shed just as one of the apple-peelers (one of almost a score of red-cheeked men who pare and core the red-cheeked apples for a few spare shillings) mutters something about "bloodshed" and the "peelers.
" The red-cheeked men put down their knives at one and the same moment.
All but his father, who somehow connives to close one eye as if taking aim or holding back a tear, and shoots him a glance he might take, as it whizzes past his ear, for a Crow, or a Comanche, lance hurled through the Tilley-lit gloom of the peeling-shed, when he hears what must be an apple split above his head.

Written by Paul Muldoon |

Why Brownlee Left

 Why Brownlee left, and where he went,
Is a mystery even now.
For if a man should have been content It was him; two acres of barley, One of potatoes, four bullocks, A milker, a slated farmhouse.
He was last seen going out to plough On a March morning, bright and early.
By noon Brownlee was famous; They had found all abandoned, with The last rig unbroken, his pair of black Horses, like man and wife, Shifting their weight from foot to Foot, and gazing into the future.

Written by Paul Muldoon |

The Sightseers

 My father and mother, my brother and sister
and I, with uncle Pat, our dour best-loved uncle,
had set out that Sunday afternoon in July
in his broken-down Ford

not to visit some graveyard—one died of shingles,
one of fever, another's knees turned to jelly—
but the brand-new roundabout at Ballygawley,
the first in mid-Ulster.
Uncle Pat was telling us how the B-Specials had stopped him one night somewhere near Ballygawley and smashed his bicycle and made him sing the Sash and curse the Pope of Rome.
They held a pistol so hard against his forehead there was still the mark of an O when he got home.

Written by Paul Muldoon |


 I, too, have trailed my father's spirit
From the mud-walled cabin behind the mountain
Where he was born and bred,
TB and scarletina, 

The farm where he was first hired out,
To Wigan, to Crewe junction,
A building-site from which he disappeared
And took passage, almost, for Argentina.
The mountain is coming down with hazel, The building-site a slum, While he has gone no further than Brazil.
That's him on the verandah, drinking rum With a man who might be a Nazi, His children asleep under their mosquito-nets.

Written by Paul Muldoon |

The Birth

 Seven o'clock.
The seventh day of the seventh month of the year.
No sooner have I got myself up in lime-green scrubs, a sterile cap and mask, and taken my place at the head of the table than the windlass-woman ply their shears and gralloch-grub for a footling foot, then, warming to their task, haul into the inestimable realm of apple-blossoms and chanterelles and damsons and eel-spears and foxes and the general hubbub of inkies and jennets and Kickapoos with their lemniscs or peekaboo-quiffs of Russian sable and tallow-unctuous vernix, into the realm of the widgeon— the 'whew' or 'yellow-poll', not the 'zuizin'— Dorothy Aoife Korelitz Muldoon: I watch through floods of tears as they give her a quick rub-a-dub and whisk her off to the nursery, then check their staple-guns for staples