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Free Cheeseballs And Vodka In One Easy Step

This is different for me–usually I talk about back hickeys and singing Bette Midler in public.

But sometimes I see something pretty or quiet.  And I really want to put it here, but I don’t, for fear of becoming a colossal bore.

Well TA-DA! Every once in a while I’m going to get colossally boring on your arse.  You can skip those times.  Or memorize them so you have a few weird poetry bombs to drop at cocktail parties.

Imagine this: You’re at a party and some creepy dudes are talking your ear off about the European debt crisis.  And then BLAMMO!  You drop some Irish poetry on those jokers.  And in the confusion that follows, you grab (1) the cheese ball and (2) a bottle of vodka.  And you sneak out the front door.

In this example, one poem gets you a week’s supply of cheese and booze. That’s, like, $40-worth of stuff.  The people who say you can’t make a living off poetry are crazy.

I’ll be back soon with the cheddar cheese sauce Scott made last night.  He doesn’t remember what he did.  First he told me “3 cups of flour.”  Then he said it was 3 tablespoons of flour.  So until I figure out what the hell is going on here, you might have to melt that cheese ball down until it looks like sauce.


From “Lightenings,” by Seamus Heaney


Once, as a child, out in a field of sheep,

Thomas Hardy pretended to be dead

And lay down flat among their dainty shins.

In that sniffed-at, bleated-into grassy space

He experimented with infinity.

His small cool brow was like an anvil waiting

For sky to make it sing the perfect pitch

Of his dumb being, and that stir he caused

In the fleece-hustle was the original

Of a ripple that would travel eighty years

Outward from there, to be the same ripple

Inside him at its last circumference.

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. Now how could the man Seamus be boring? Not at all. Thank you for a lovely moment.
    (Cut this bit: it’s Heaney, with an extra e)

    May 10, 2012
    • That makes two misspellings in two days. Yesterday I got a text from Scott that said “quick! It’s WALES not WHALES.” So I’m much obliged to you.

      I do love my man Heaney. I happened to be in a field when I first read this poem, years ago. It was lovely.

      May 10, 2012
      • Yesterday, when you said “end up in Whales”….I thought maybe you were saying you may end up stuck in a whale….like when Geppetto gets stuck in Monstro while looking for Pinocchio. That can easily happen when you don’t plan your vacations properly. Just sayin’.

        May 10, 2012
  2. Amy #

    Any poem about sheep is an ok poem by me. Thanks for the tips…I dont drink but perhaps that would give me time to grab two cheeseballs instead of the vodka. Surely that would be enough for the cheese sauce.

    May 10, 2012
  3. Hell I am from Northern Ireland so Heaney was a big favorite growing up – I always enjoyed Bone Dreams…

    One morning in Devon
    I found a dead mole
    with the dew still beading it.
    I had thought the mole

    a big-boned coulter
    but there it was
    small and cold
    as the thick of a chisel.

    I was told ‘Blow,
    blow back the fur on his head.
    Those little points
    were the eyes.

    And feel the shoulders.’
    I touched small distant Pennines,
    a pelt of grass and grain
    running south.

    May 10, 2012
    • Shelley, I didn’t know this poem and I’m so glad you posted it. It reminds me that I like Richard Wilbur’s “Death of a Toad.”

      A toad the power mower caught,
      Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got
      To the garden verge, and sanctuaried him
      Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade
      Of the ashen and heartshaped leaves, in a dim,
      Low, and a final glade.

      The rare original heartsbleed goes,
      Spends in the earthen hide, in the folds and wizenings, flows
      In the gutters of the banked and staring eyes. He lies
      As still as if he would return to stone,
      And soundlessly attending, dies
      Toward some deep monotone,

      Toward misted and ebullient seas
      And cooling shores, toward lost Amphibia’s emperies.
      Day dwindles, drowning and at length is gone
      In the wide and antique eyes, which still appear
      To watch, across the castrate lawn,
      The haggard daylight steer.

      May 10, 2012
  4. Lofty poetry distraction techniques to acquire cheese balls and booze sounds like some seriously advanced feng shui-ing of life. I don’t think I’m ready. Teach me, sensei.

    May 10, 2012
    • You know what, Krisann? I haven’t tried it yet either. It just sounded like a good idea. Let me know if you find a promising party, and maybe we can tag-team our way through this together?

      May 10, 2012
      • If our paths ever cross, we shall promptly find and crash the nearest party and tag-team the hell out of this challenge (accepted).

        May 12, 2012
  5. Awesome. I guess it depends on if the European debt crisis peeps have already been tucking into the vodka… might make it easier to make a run for it. (Don’t you have to be a little drunk to talk about the European debt crisis?) Love the poetry. Love.

    May 10, 2012
  6. Poetry is good… reminds me that I should be reading some. It’s been ages. And your photos are really something. I assume they are yours because you are quite talented and i see a little blur in the background of the first that is either a little piggy or your sweet Thunder.

    May 10, 2012
  7. One time, I got drunk at a friend’s house but couldn’t fall asleep because the blasted room just kept tilting. Said friend pulled out Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, read it out loud for awhile, and the next thing I knew, it was 3am, the TV was still on, and I was parched as all get out. Hergo: Seamus Heaney cures drunkenness. 🙂

    May 10, 2012
  8. Wow! Not one but THREE poems, several tips for copping food and drink from a party, AND a proven cure for inebriation. Tell me when the boring part starts…

    May 10, 2012
  9. To think, when I woke up I had no idea I would find myself reading poetry about dainty sheep shins. I had such narrow horizons this morning…

    May 10, 2012
  10. a #

    Your photos compliment the poem so well too…

    (And your commenters are awesome!)

    May 10, 2012
  11. Loved your post as always.. and I love your commenters they are so edu-ma-cated and clever and stuff..
    So here is my poem.

    If you
    have Vodka left over
    from the bottle that you nicked

    When no one was looking,
    but me.


    It’s only fair

    Well we can’t all be Oscar Wilde! He would have taken out the comma, (then put it back) . But i am fairly sure he would agree about sharing!


    May 10, 2012
  12. I’m totally taking a Modern Irish Fiction class in the fall, so I will let you know if I run into anything excitingly boring.

    May 11, 2012
  13. So beautiful. I’m always grateful for new-to-me poets to discover. Thank you for sharing this one.

    May 11, 2012
  14. I love this, not boring at all. Sometimes I want to blog but just don’t have another recipe in me, so I turn to the simple pleasures in my life. Reading this poem and looking at your lovely photographs is definitely in the simple pleasures category.

    May 11, 2012
  15. Beautiful photos. You are never boring!

    May 11, 2012
  16. I am so glad
    I am reading
    These comments.

    Compliments to Mr. Heaney,
    Ms. Eggton
    And Celi who would nick the vodka if she got a chance.

    May 11, 2012
  17. Sigh.

    That is all.

    May 13, 2012
  18. shannon #

    i’m with movita: *sigh.*
    what gorgeous photos. you just made me a little dreamy mood right there. thank you. 🙂

    May 15, 2012
  19. These comments are oh-so-lovely and made my mom say “The people who come to eggton are so funny and so… so cool.” I rolled my eyes and was like “jeeeez Mmmmmom, DUH.” Anyway, I adore you all and can’t wait to catch up after the trip!

    May 17, 2012
  20. And I thought I didn’t like poetry.

    May 24, 2012

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