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By Terry McDonagh

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Additional info for A World Without Stone: New and Selected Poems

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Thoughts seem to lie there like little touches: your new dress and the stink of unwanted beer behind closed curtains. Cheers! I smile at the Corkman who had wanted to throw me over the edge of the city, before he slipped. A Hamburg woman, on a peace mission, died among bullets last week; 51 the headline said she had a lovely face. And what of the old man who used to scrub his scars and talk faintly of his first wife? My loved one, he’d say. Now I’m just tired and long to speak as my father used to.

She considered putting her final draft on ice. 33 Other Demons The best gifts one could give a boy – it was felt – were: how to profit from a fighting cock, silence a virgin’s lament, or walk to the city with the ease of a great dancer. It would never be his duty to unstrap a brace of poems near a marketplace, or preach freedom from high sand dunes. Women and children on foot were to remain soundless in place, walking to one side with tattered baskets. On his death bed, black sloe seeds could fall from his heart into the lap of his faithful mistress.

I often talked to myself as a child, found words in fields and furrows, made sense of croaking ponds and answered back. I never had to learn. Words came, wild as weeds would or little threatened trees do, all windy and quaking. When I fell into water screaming, I was understood; even our old dog raised a dog eye at my cry. I’ve also lain stranded between lips with nothing to say. It’s true! 53 The Best Wells Are Deep For my brothers and sisters The diviner cycled easily, mostly away from rivers with rods lashed to his crossbar – a quiet man who never asked, but did get paid in cash and kind and by the sight of forty fresh pumps on the landscape.

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