On

by Paul Muldoon

copyright ©Paul Muldoon, 2002

Absalom was riding his mule and the mule passed under the thick branches of a great oak. Absalom’s head got caught in the oak and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule he was riding went on.

– II SAMUEL 18:9

I make my way alone through the hand-to-hand fighting
to A3 and A5. Red velvet. Brass and oak.
The special effects will include strobe lighting
and artificial smoke.

A glance to A5. Patrons are reminded, mar bheadh,
that the management accepts no responsibility in the case of theft.
Even as the twenty-five-piece orchestra
that’s masked offstage left

strikes up, there’s still a chance, I suppose, that the gainsayers
might themselves be gainsaid
as you rush, breathless, into my field of vision.

Understudies and standbys never substitute for listed players,
however, unless a specific announcement is made.
There will be no intermission.

Notes on the Poem

For our 50th Poem of the Week, we're asking you to provide the notes on what you find intriguing, provocative, well executed, or even mystifying or lacking in this week's selected poem. Express those notes thoughtfully in 250 words or less, and please send them to us by 12 noon ET (17:00 GMT) on Friday, January 25th, 2013. Send your notes to webmaster@griffinpoetryprize.com with the subject line "Poem of the Week notes". Our favourite analysis of Paul Muldoon's On from Moy sand and gravel will appear here on the Griffin Poetry Prize web site for a week starting January 27th. In the spirit of how we've presented notes on the poems thus far, the guest author will remain anonymous. We will also show our gratitude for his or her contribution with a free copy of the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology. We look forward to seeing your ideas and notes on this Poem of the Week.

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