Paul Muldoon Reads "The Loaf"

Paul Muldoon: So, this is a poem called The Loaf. It's set somewhat in the house that I live in in New Jersey, a house built in 1750 or thereabouts in that era.

When they were building a house, they incorporated huge amounts of horse hair into the wall to bind the plaster, so that's a feature of this poem which is really, which is essentially about a hole in a wall and a range of sensations through it. Appearing in it are some of the Irish navigational canal workers who built the Delaware and Raritan canal. That's about it. There is a little nonsense and a little nonsense refrain, or something close to it.

 

The Loaf

 

When I put my finger to the hole they've cut for a dimmer switch

in a wall of plaster stiffened with horsehair

it seems I've scratched a two-hundred-year-old itch

 

with a pink and a pink and a pinkie-pick.

 

When I put my ear to the hole I'm suddenly aware

of spades and shovels turning up the gain

all the way from Raritan to the Delaware

 

with a clink and a clink and a clinkie-click.

 

When I put my nose to the hole I smell the floodplain

of the canal after a hurricane

and the spots of green grass where thousands of Irish have lain

 

with a stink and a stink and a stinkie-stick.

 

When I put my eye to the hole I see one holding horse dung to the rain

in the hope, indeed, indeed,

of washing out a few whole ears of grain

 

with a wink and a wink and a winkie-wick.

 

And when I do at last succeed

in putting my mouth to the horsehair-fringed niche

I can taste the small loaf of bread he baked from that whole seed

 

with a link and a link and a linkie-lick.

 

Recorded on: Jan 30, 2008

 

The Pulitzer Prize winning Irish poet reads his poem.

Why American history lives between the cracks

The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?

Videos
  • History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
  • In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
  • Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap
popular

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less