Friday, 22 March 2013

My Beloved Compares Herself to a Pint of Stout by Paul Durcan

You will be told that an Irish homosexual is a man who prefers women to beer. There is a man who has squared that circle and presents it with a little dribble scrollwork of a shamrock on the top.

Paul Durcan:

My Beloved Compares Herself to a Pint of Stout.

When in the heat of the first night of summer
I observe with a whistle of envy
That Jackson has driven out the road for a pint of stout,
She puts her arm around my waist and scolds me:
Am I not your pint of stout? Drink me.
There is nothing except, of course, self-pity
To stop you having your pint of stout.

Putting self-pity on a leash in the back of the car,
I drive out the road, do a U-turn,
Drive in the hall door, up the spiral staircase,
Into her bedroom. I park at the food of her bed,
Nonchalantly step out leaving the car unlocked,
Stroll over to the chest of drawers, lean on it,
Circumspectly inspect the backs of my hands,
Modestly request from her a pint of stout.
She turns her back, undresses, pours herself into bed,
Adjusts the pillows, slaps her hand on the coverlet:
Here I am - at the very least
Look at my new cotton nightdress before you shred it
And do not complain that I have not got a head on me.

I look around to see her foaming out of the bedclothes
Not laughing but gazing at me out of four-legged eyes.
She says: Close your eyes, put your hands around me.
I am the blackest, coldest pint you will ever drink
So sip me slowly, let me linger on your lips,
Ooze through your teeth, dawdle down your throat,
Before swooping down your guts.

When you drink me I will deposit my scum
On your rim and when you get to the bottom of me,
No matter how hard you try to drink my dregs -
And being a man, you will, no harm in that -
I will keep bubbling up back at you.
For there is no escaping my aftermath.

Tonight being the first night of summer -
You may drink as many pints of me as you like.
There are barrels of me in the tap room.
In thin daylight at nightfall,
You will fall asleep drunk on love.
When you wake early in the early morning,
All chaste, astringent, aflame with affirmation,
Straining at the bit to get to First Mass
And Holy Communion and work - the good life.

((From Life is a Dream: 40 years of reading poems 1967 - 2007/ originally published in A Snail in my Prime (1993) ))


skholiast said...

Lovely. Damn. Not easy these days to write a good eroto-poem without getting silly. This one walks the line.

ombhurbhuva said...

To paraphrase Molly Bloom - yes.
There are still devotees of the old religion who crept out of their beehives of an evening to sup the soma juice of the Gael, the pint of Plain (porter). In the immortal words of Jem Casey as interpreted by Eamon Morrissey with the help of Myles na Gopaleen, A Pint of Plain is your Only Man.

skholiast said...

Speaking of pints, Michael, there is a chance that I and my beloved will be in your fair island this coming June/July. If so, I'd be delighted to stand you a pint. Should that appeal, feel free to get in touch via gmail. I think you know my moniker.