So I’m paging through my contributor’s copy of Measure and I come across this poem titled “Arrival” by Mike Carson. Now, I know nothing about Carson–never even heard of him before this poem, though he’s been published in some fine journals–but I can tell you who he’s been influenced by, just by reading these lines.
The riot of frog song, quivering the pond
With squiggle and hop of their screamed mating,
Suds of egg-sperm, thrum of the bulged
Necks, skin-shiver, as the green sog
Of the land seeps, thawing the dark
Grave-layer from which they croak up, snatch
And navigate the craze of their slick clutch
That’s some Seamus coming through.
Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
The assonance, the clotted rhythm, even the subject matter is the same. And you know something? I like them both.
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