The Twelfth of Never
by Ciaran Carson
The Twelfth of Never, which comprises seventy-seven sonnets written in alexandrines, floats on (or submerges in) the ideal republic or the Otherworld promised in fairy stories, aislings, the land of Cockaigne, lines of cocaine, drunkenness, "the land of the green rose," poppy-day imperialism, Loyalist and Fenian ballads, and the rhetoric of July 12th all realms of or tickets to Utopia. The combination of pleasant, even rollicking, conveyance iambs and anapests, disguised rhymes, lilting lines and sinister endings evokes certain kinds of fairy stories.
"Ciaran Carson is one of that rare breed: poets who really matter in an age full of words that matter very little." Sean Dunne, Cork Examiner
Now you've travelled through the Land of Nod and Wink,
And sucked the pap of papaver somniferum,
In fields abounding in high cockelorum,
You'll find that everything is slightly out of synch.
These words the ink is written in is not indelible
And every fairy story has its variorum;
For there are many shades of pigment in the spectrum,
And the printed news is always unreliable.
Of maidens, soldiers, presidents and plants I've sung;
Of fairies, fishes, horses, and of headless men;
Of beings from the lowest to the highest rung
With their long ladder propped against the gates of Heaven,
They're queued up to be rewarded for their grand endeavor,
And receive their campaign haloes on the Twelfth of Never.
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