Paul Muldoon, Quail

QUAIL

Forty years in the wilderness
of Antrim and Fermanagh
where the rime would deliquesce
like tamarisk-borne manna

and the small-shot of hail
was de-somethinged. Defrosted.
This is to say nothing of the flocks of quail
now completely exhausted

from having so long entertained an
inordinately soft spot for the hard man
like Redmond O’Hanlon or Roaring Hanna

who delivers himself up only under duress
after forty years in the wilderness
of Antrim and Fermanagh.

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