Throwing Eggs

In one of brilliant Hilary Mantel’s novels, The Giant O’Brien, this: “A good poet can recite a man to death. A poet takes a person’s ear lobe between his fingers and thumb and grinds it, and straight away that person dies. With a wisp of hay and a cross word they drive a man demented. They chew flesh and set it on the threshold and when a man steps over it he drops to his knees and expires.”

The Giant dreams of what he might have been: “He might have been a poet and diviner; lying in the dark, his hands crossed over his face to shut out any beam of light: until the light dawns inwards, and the poem is cracked open. He might have bathed in the five streams of the fountain of wisdom, and kept company with the night-visiting gods.”

Clearly I’m not taking my poetry seriously enough. I could wield some big power, apparently. Barking-dog neighbors, look out. I’m coming after you. I have a trochee and I know how to use it.


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