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Recycled poem of the day

September 6, 2010

When I started writing this website, one of my first commenters was a mysterious-sounding person named Hairy Farmer (I thought) whose ISP address revealed that she lived in England.  Since then, though we’ve never spoken, we have become weblog acquaintances of a sort, spying happily on one another’s lives from afar.  (I know, I know.  Everyone and his trained monkey has a website, and you’re all used to the idea of the Computer Friend, but I am a neophyte, and I love that all these strangers have taken an interest, written kind and helpful things, linked to me, allowed me to link to them, and so on.)  So anyway, way back then my Hairy Farmer Family friend (whose name, by the way, is not Hairy) posted this poem in my comments.  I’d never read it or even heard of Fleur Adcock.  Since I doubt anyone’s combing the archives (much less the comments) let me repost it here–it’s a good one.

Tomorrow the kids go back to school.  I’ll probably be too busy returning library books and going to the post office to do much of anything else, so I’ll leave you with this.  Thank you, Hairy Farmer Wifey. I don’t know how you found me, but I’m glad you did.

Advice to a Discarded Lover

Think, now: if you have found a dead bird,
not only dead, not only fallen,
but full of maggots: what do you feel –
more pity or more revulsion?

Pity is for the moment of death,
and the moments after. It changes
when decay comes, with the creeping stench
and the wriggling, munching scavengers.

Returning later, though, you will see
a shape of clean bone, a few feathers,
an inoffensive symbol of what
once lived. Nothing to make you shudder.

It is clear then. But perhaps you find
the analogy I have chosen
for our dead affair rather gruesome –
too unpleasant a comparison.

It is not accidental. In you
I see maggots close to the surface.
You are eaten up by self-pity,
crawling with unlovable pathos.

If I were to touch you I should feel
against my fingers fat, moist worm-skin.
Do not ask me for charity now:
go away until your bones are clean.

–Fleur Adcock

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2010 1:30 am

    Ahh, HFF wifey. One of my favorite computer-folk. Perhaps she linked to you and that is how I ended up lurking here?

    And don’t you wish you could appear in her kitchen and sample some of her baked goods?

  2. September 7, 2010 8:50 am

    Oh, yes. Wifey is extraordinarily brilliant and kind.

    You can make real friends on the web. Despite the general distrust of this medium, it can act as a shortcut to the real person, through the dross and convention. (In my un-humble opinion. And experience, come to that).

  3. September 7, 2010 6:34 pm

    I would wager that the lovely HFF found you like I did through Julia (hippogriffs) who gave you a star recommendation at the start of the year.

  4. September 11, 2010 3:47 pm

    *beams brightly*

    The wondrous Alexa!

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