By Macdara Woods

Music From The Big Tent

Music From The Big Tent is Macdara Woods’ first volume of new poems since Collected Poems (2012)

From the opening poem in which a bird falls dead at the feet of the strolling poet and his son, to the closing which references the well-known song ‘The Night Before Larry Was Stretched’, in this latest collection of his poems Macdara Woods looks, with un inching eye, beyond the certainties and consolations of the here and now.

Description

Music From The Big Tent is Macdara Woods’ first volume of new poems since Collected Poems (2012)

From the opening poem in which a bird falls dead at the feet of the strolling poet and his son, to the closing which references the well-known song ‘The Night Before Larry Was Stretched’, in this latest collection of his poems Macdara Woods looks, with unflinching eye, beyond the certainties and consolations of the here and now.

In a book which charts his own recent ill health and recovery, he celebrates “the courage and / The wonder / Of the naked body”, not least at a time “when the financiers / have poisoned all the blood banks / and the drug companies / have rendered us venomous”.

Though his subjects may be illness,frailty and dissolution, the insistence on witness and clear-eyed expression animates these poems with a defiant and by times exuberant energy. Poems such as ‘Big-Top Music’ and ‘A May-Day Aisling Skazka’ (“Here’s where the rhythm in the rhyme / Turns slower (as will yours in time)” tap in to a long tradition of playful music imparting dark visions, and add a new and captivating dimension to Woods’ ongoing dance in words and ‘In the open space between / The words”.

 

Big-Top Music

I’ve been drunk and I’ve been clear
I’ve been straight and I’ve been queer
I’ve been young and I’ve been old
I’ve been hot and I’ve been cold

I’ve been black and I’ve been white
I’ve been wrong and I’ve been right
I’ve travelled far and I’ve travelled back
I’ve been tight and I’ve been slack

I’ve been living I’ve been dead
I’ve been a mind without a head
I’ve been false and I’ve been true
I’ve been me and I’ve been you

I’ve been good and I’ve been bad
I’ve been haven’t and I’ve been had
I’ve been sharp and I’ve been blind
I’ve been cruel and I’ve been kind

I’ve been deaf and I’ve had ears
Had good days and had bad years
I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor
I’ve had doubts and I’ve been sure

I’ve been mad and I’ve been sane
I’ve been marked with the mark of Cain
I’ve been can’t and I’ve been could
I’ve been water and I’ve been blood

I’ve been lymph and I’ve been bone
I’ve been paper and I’ve been stone
I’ve been lost and I’ve been found
I’ve been a fox that’s gone to ground

I’ve been ancient and I’ve been young
I’ve been a song that never was sung
I’ve been here and I’ve been there
I’ve been him and I’ve been her

I have come and I have gone
I’ve been off and I’ve been on
I’ve been over and I’ve been under
Been the taker and the plundered

Been the vanquished been the hero
Patient X and Madame Zero
Been the loved one been the lover
This circus act that’s not yet over

Aetat LXX
July 2012

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Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 978 1 910251 1 71
  • Size: :
  • Pages: : 120
  • Published: : May 2016

About The Author

Author

Macdara Woods was born in Dublin 1942. One of the senior figures in contemporary Irish poetry, he published his first collection Decimal D. Sec. Drinks In A Bar In Marrakesh with New Writers’ Press in 1970) while his second, Early Morning Matins, was published by The Gallery Press in 1973. Since then he has published many collections, and a number of selections with the Dedalus Press, including Stopping The Lights In Ranelagh (1987), Miz Moon (1988), The Hanged Man Was Not Surrendering (1990), Notes From The Countries Of Blood-Red Flowers (1994), Selected Poems (1996), Knowledge In The Blood: New and Selected Poems (2000), The Nightingale Water (2001), Artichoke Wine (2006), The Cotard Dimension (2011), Collected Poems (2012) and Music From the Big Tent (2016). His books in Italian include: Biglietto di Sola Andata (Moby Dick Editrice Faenza 1998) and Con Pesaro ai Miei Piedi (Volumnia Editrice Perugia, 1999). He translated The King of The Dead and other Libyan Tales by Redwan Abushwesha, with the author and Orla Woods Abushwesha (Martin Brian and O’Keefe, London, 1978). He was a co-founder and co-editor of Cyphers, the long-running literary journal, since 1975. He also edited The Kilkenny Anthology (Kilkenny Co Council, 1991) and Present Tense: Words and Pictures, with Jim Vaughan (Mayo Co Council, 2006). His Clare Island Sequence was commissioned for and included in 'this time, this place' (Mayo Co Council, 2007). Macdara Woods was a member of Aosdána. He died in June 2018.