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  • By Martin McCarthy

Erato & Other Poetry


Sunset


I am travelling towards you,

and the night,

like a brown-skinned girl

ablaze with emotion,

is stepping boldly out of her clothes.


I am travelling towards you,

and the light,

like a bare-skinned girl

in a cool blue ocean,

is diving to depths she barely knows.


No Matter


You sleep here always in my bed,

Your soul is never far from me,

No matter what the gods have said.


Long ago, you packed and fled,

But how can you be happy?

You sleep here always in my bed.


To another, you are safely wed,

Yet ever restless like the sea,

No matter what the gods have said.


The sky around you glows bright red,

But there’s no fire to embody.

You sleep here always in my bed.


My passion for you won’t stay dead,

And you know this to some degree,

No matter what the gods have said.


So what tomorrow lies ahead?

What lovers do we dare to be?

You sleep here always in my bed,

No matter what the gods have said.


Erato


White word-sheets are being filled,

like mirrors of the muse,

as a woman is reflected

in leg-revealing dresses.


Sometimes I desire her,

sometimes she eludes me,

but mostly – we climb stone stairs

together, to gently clasp the stars.


Martin McCarthy lives in Cork City, Ireland, where he studied English at UCC. He has published two collections: Lockdown Diary (2020) and Lockdown (2021). His most recent poems appear in the pandemic anthology, Poems from My 5k, and in the journals: Drawn to the Light, Seventh Quarry Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, The Orchards, WestWard Quarterly, Better Than Starbucks, Blue Unicorn, and Lighten Up Online. He was shortlisted for the Red Line Poetry Prize, and is a nominee for the 2022 Pushcart prize. At present, he is working on a long sequence of love poems, titled Book of Desire, and these poems are taken from that sequence. Visit his website here.

22 Comments


David Gosselin
David Gosselin
May 02, 2023

“Sometimes I desire her,

sometimes she eludes me,

but mostly – we climb stone stairs

together, to gently clasp the stars.”


There is a quality of sublimity to these lines.

“Diving to depths she barely knows” is also pure poetic magic.


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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
May 02, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, David. Coming from you, that means a lot.

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ddouthat09
ddouthat09
May 02, 2023

Beyond the concreteness of lover's bed, love is a thing of lasting spirit -- no matter.

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ddouthat09
ddouthat09
May 02, 2023
Replying to

So, as far as you and David and I are concerned, those Materialists are people of No Matter

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jm6783685
jm6783685
May 02, 2023

I like particularly the last line of the first poem. But then I would, wouldn't I?

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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
May 02, 2023
Replying to

Oh, I do like that! I knew there was something very clever behind it.

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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
May 02, 2023

It's a great privilege to be published once again by The Chained Muse. If anybody has a comment, a question or a suggestion, I would love to hear it.

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jm6783685
jm6783685
May 02, 2023
Replying to

Increasingly Yeats is the poet I return to most often. Of the four great poets at the beginning of the twentieth century - Yeats, Eliot, Rilke and Valéry - he is the most useful because he remained true to what I call 'creative ambivalence' and also wrote in English.


What I call 'creative ambivalence' is what Keats called 'negative capability' and Coleridge 'willing suspension of disbelief' and Socrates 'aporia'. Eliot lost that necessary freedom in his espousal of Anglo-Catholicism. Valéry in his espousal of atheism. Too great a certainty in anything makes a stone of the heart, to slightly paraphrase Yeats. And poetry should melt hearts. Not deliberately. But as a side-effect of being absolutely honest with oneself. And with…


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