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Paul Maddern was born in Bermuda and has lived in Kingston (Ontario), Denver, San Francisco and London. He now lives in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. He is currently a PhD. student with the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen's University Belfast, building an archive of public readings by Irish poets.  His work has appeared in the Belfast Festival (2004), the Caribbean Writer, Black Mountain Review, Fortnight, Poetry Ireland Review and The Shop.  In 2006 he was selected for Poetry Ireland's Introductions and was awarded the James Kilfedder Memorial Bursary. He would like to think that he's working towards a first collection.

For Bedtime Horrors

Tell them the life-giving current
has been seized by a corrupting influence.

Tell them snow is falling on the coral reef.
Into their masks, bewildered divers weep.

Tell them oil slicks combust on eroded beaches.
Foreigners panic-sell and locals stop in wonder.

Tell them we will never again see cahows.
They have surrendered their breeding grounds.

Tell them cruise ships are for memories.
Tugboats and dockers sit idle.

Tell them, even if unfamiliar with wealth,
that banks are barricading their doors.

And insurers will not pay out. And hotel rooms are empty.
Tell them, if you can, of the island’s future.

Then tell them I am here, at the bottom of the garden.
And I am coiled.

– for Nora

Yours was the face I almost lived a lie for,
that might have brought about the 2.4,
not this sterile A4 annual report
about the daughter’s aptitude for sport,
Ted’s reunion and the dress you wore.

I want to know: did the dress allow
seductive développés and port de bras,
did sling-backs reveal triumphant arches,
were accountants left unconscious
and the husband damning Terpsichore?

But should I be content if my Odette
is happy to distract suburban courts?
Nibble canapés my swan, forget
this mincing prince who hoped we might be more.

Copyright © 2007 Paul Maddern