poetry · quotations · textiles in literature

Texts & Textiles: Eavan Boland

these are the Middle Ages, sweet
and savage era of the saving grace; indulgences
are two a penny; under the stonesmith’s hand

stone turns into lace. I need his hand now.
Outside my window October soaks the stone;
you can hear it; you’d almost think
the brick was drinking it; the rowan drips

and history waits. Let it wait. I want
no elsewheres: the clover-smelling, stove-warm
air of Autumn catches cold; the year turns;
the leaves fall; the poem hesitates:

If we could see ourselves, not as we do—
in mirrors, self-deceptions, self-regardings—
but as we ought to be and as we have been:
poets, lute-stringers, makyres and abettors

of our necessary art, soothsayers of the ailment
and disease of our times, sweet singers,
truth tellers, intercessors for self-knowledge—
what would we think of these fin-de-siecle

half-hearted penitents we have become
at the sick bed of the century: hand-wringing
elegists with an ill-concealed greed
for the inheritance?

from Eavan Bold, “The Glass King.” Outside History: Selected Poems, 1980-1990. New York: Norton, 2001. 82-85.

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