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PETER DENMAN

 

 

 

 

Peter Denman poetry in Southword 18

 

Peter Denman’s  poems have appeared in periodicals in Ireland and the UK, and his poems and translations have been collected in The Poet’s Manual. He has been a recipient of an Eric Gregory Award and the Birmingham Post Poetry Prize. He has edited various poetry publications, including Poetry Ireland Review. He is a member of the Department of English at NUI Maynooth. 

 

 

 

From 'Little Myths'

 

Orpheus

 

“Don’t look round” was the decree, but look he must,

And sent Eurydice hurtling back to hell.

Was it love that turned his head, or lack of trust?

The question rose even as she fell.

 

 

Daedalus

 

Great paintings show, and many verses tell

How Icarus flew too high, and burned, and fell;

But Daedalus merits only this poor rhyme:

He stayed on course, and landed safe, on time.

 

 

Sisyphus

 

I saw him lean against the rock and roll

It up the hill once more. And though that boulder,

Slipping and sliding, bruised his very soul

I think he loved its weight upon his shoulder.

 

 

Charon

 

His budget airline flies across the Styx

With us, close-packed, seated in rows of six.

The flights are cheap; we get our money’s worth;

He undertakes to bring us down to earth.

 

 

Echo

 

From break of day to slow nightfall

He does not once return her call.

Condemned to hear herself, not him,

She dwindles to her eponym.

 

 

Atlas

 

His day job is to hoist the sky.

At night he rests and lays it by.

Then stars and galaxies are seen.

And space. And more space in between.

 

 

Phaeton

 

They all admired his energy and dash

Until he lost control and had that crash.

The climate changed; he lay there in the sun

Surrounded by the wreck of what he’d done.

 

 

Philemon and Baucis

 

The grateful god gave what they had in mind:

Two trees above their graves grew intertwined.

So love endured. The trees stood deeply rooted

And year on year the meshing branches fruited.

 

 

©2010 Peter Denman

 

 

Author Links

 

The Poet's Manual by Peter Denman

'Ways of Saying: Boland, Carson, McGuckian'-- essay by Denman

Denman at the University of Maynooth

 

 

 

 

 

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