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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.

Poem by Paul Muldoon
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