Wednesday, March 20, 2013

TUESDAY POEM | TOAST by Thomas McCarthy



                          No lovelier city than all of this.
                          Cork city, your early morning kiss:
                          peeled oranges and white porcelain,
                          midsummer Sunday mists
                          that scatter before breakfast.

                          Mass bells are pealing in every district,
                          in the Latin quarter of St Lukes,
                          the butter quartier of Blackpool.
                          Each brass appeal calls to prayer
                          our scattered books and utensils,

                          the newly blessed who've put on clothes.
                          Why have I been as lucky as this?
                          to have one so meticulous
                          in love, so diffident yet close
                          that the house is charged with kinetic peace.

                          Like a secret lover, I should bring
                          you bowls of fresh roses, knowing
                          that you would show them how to thrive.
                          Lucky it's Sunday, or I'd have
                          to raid the meter for spare shillings!

                          Or, maybe I should wash my filthy socks,
                          fret at the curtains, iron clothes,
                          like you after Sunday breakfast.
                          Normal things run deep, God knows,
                          like love in flat-land, eggs on toast.

                          Thomas McCarthy
                                    Page 416 - The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry

I've had this poem sitting in my Draft folder for many months. I love the line Normal things run deep, God knows and the idea of a house charged with kinetic peace. Thomas McCarthy's poem The Phenomenology of Stones is one I return to often.

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Canberra-based poet P.S. Cottier
with Someone forgot to tell the fish - 'a 'slippery little thing that evades easy categorization'
by fellow Australian Hal Judge

"Someone forgot courtesy and politeness. Someone forgot to rinse off the weed killer. Someone forgot to turn off the billing software. Someone forgot to rent the crowd. Someone forgot to tell the owners of the 4 million cars sold in China. Someone forgot to bring the Zombie-Killing Manual. Someone forgot to tighten the sidestay shackle. Someone forgot to tell Rocky. Someone forgot to strap down the ammo case. Someone forgot to install it. Someone forgot to tell the Arabs it’s our oil under their sand.  Someone forgot to use lube. Someone forgot to tell me about labour pain. Someone forgot to declare 60 share transactions. Someone forgot to plug my biohazard suit. . . " 

To read more and for links to other Tuesday Poets, please click on the quill! 


  1. Yes, the "kinetic peace" phrase struck me too. The two words play against each other, but it still makes perfect sense.

    1. . . . in the wonderful way paradox tends to! Thanks for coming by, Andrew ; )

  2. I like that whole verse -- 'to have one so meticulous in love' is also very nice. I love poems that capture place so well and transport me...

    1. Hi Michelle -

      to have one so meticulous
      in love

      is wonderful, isn't it! Meticulous love sounds like love of a high order to me - generous, atttentive and particular in its details ; )

      L, C

    2. Yes the details make all the difference in the world, almost always. Stopped in again today, and have re-read this. Lovely lovely.

  3. Why have I been as lucky as this?
    to have one so meticulous
    in love, so diffident yet close . . .

    My favorite, too.


    1. Dear Mim

      This poem (spec. the lines you chose as favourites) brought you, Susan and your two Js to mind. I'm happy to find you here. The day I posted this I was thinking of you and how much I would like to publish one of your poems from 'The Dark Opens' here for Tuesday Poem. I will drop you a note saying so!

      Love to you, too
      Claire xo