Sartre’s Crabs and other poems by Ron Carey
Ron Carey lives in Dublin. He started to write poetry seriously in his sixties. He has been a prize winner and finalist in many international poetry competitions. He received Special Commendation in the Patrick Kavanagh Awards 2015 and was awarded a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of South Wales. His poetry collection ‘DISTANCE,’ was a shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection UK and Ireland 2016. His next collection, ‘Racing Down the Sun,’ will be published by Revival Press in November 2018.
Jean-Paul Sartre: Yeah! after I took mescaline,
I started seeing crabs around me all the time.
The New York Times – The Week in Review: 2009-11-15
There are four in the bed, traversing the dark
Scuttle-bucket of his sleep. Submerged
In ultraviolet light, they have never seen
The ocean or licked the salty skin of the dead.
Beyond this quilted reality, they wait
For the gunfire and smoke of his awakening.
Down cobbled Paris, their armoured clicks
Follow him to École Normale Supérieure,
Where their rare bodies glow furious-red
In the swampy wastes of human certainty.
As you predicted, hair, especially greasy hair,
Smelling to high heaven of frankincense,
Is not allowed through Customs, breaking all
Sorts of environmental and common laws.
So here I am, stuck in Benidorm with a bag
Full of explanations that no one will take.
Oh! Judith, why didn’t I listen to you?
You, who took the whole head, cut-off all
Connection to Holofernes once and forever.
But he was my Samson, and I had to rescue
Something, some memento from the ruins
Of our love and they would not give me his eyes.
Today, who can remember the relief
Of those first, sidelong blessings;
Splashes from a silver aspersorium
Of light, fizzling our satanic skins.
Then the joy of rain and all the dead
Muscling their way out of graveyards
Of clay to breathe and bring a green
Blushing to the face of the Earth.
Even the abandoned mountains turned
To the sky and smiled their rocky smiles.
But then, the streams jumped their ruts
And ran away to join the army of rivers.
The sun lost direction, and no one saw
It rise or set behind gun-grey sheets.
Yesterday, the man building an ark,
Drowned in Pery Square, blonde curls
Of wood inside his wellington-boots.
The Mistle Thrush Discovering
The Mistle Thrush discovering the anvil-stone,
Leaves aside its ring of minor keys and sets
To the work of housebreaking in the narrow
Laneways of the snail. Within the danger
Of the Magpie’s beak, it places its weight,
One hollow step, then another – wrinkly toes
Light on the light-frosted ground aroused.
I wait for the Mistle Thrush to sing; the pure
Mathematics of its phrasing sound human
In its strains of melancholy and sacredness.
Now the shyster sun, so unreliable, has startled
The chocolate rooster from his glorious sleep.
And all my ghosts begin to leave, filing through
The orchard, the last one closing the gate.
© Ron Carey