As

As

By Paul Muldoon b. 1951 Paul Muldoon
As naught gives way to aught
and oxhide gives way to chain mail
and byrnie gives way to battle-ax
and Cavalier gives way to Roundhead
and Cromwell Road gives way to the Connaught
and I Am Curious (Yellow) gives way to I Am Curious (Blue)
and barrelhouse gives way to Frank’N’Stein
and a pint of Shelley plain to a pint of India Pale Ale   
I give way to you.

As bass gives way to baritone
and hammock gives way to hummock
and Hoboken gives way to Hackensack
and bread gives way to reed bed
and bald eagle gives way to Theobald Wolfe Tone   
and the Undertones give way to Siouxsie Sioux   
and DeLorean, John, gives way to Deloria, Vine,   
and Pierced Nose to Big Stomach
I give way to you.

As vent gives way to Ventry
and the King of the World gives way to Finn MacCool   
and phone gives way to fax
and send gives way to sned
and Dagenham gives way to Coventry
and Covenanter gives way to caribou
and the caribou gives way to the carbine
and Boulud’s cackamamie to the cock-a-leekie of Boole   
I give way to you.

As transhumance gives way to trance
and shaman gives way to Santa
and butcher’s string gives way to vacuum pack   
and the ineffable gives way to the unsaid   
and pyx gives way to monstrance
and treasure aisle gives way to need-blind pew   
and Calvin gives way to Calvin Klein
and Town and Country Mice to Hanta   
I give way to you.

As Hopi gives way to Navaho
and rug gives way to rag
and Pax Vobiscum gives way to Tampax
and Tampa gives way to the water bed
and The Water Babies gives way to Worstward Ho
and crapper gives way to loo
and spruce gives way to pine
and the carpet of pine needles to the carpetbag   
I give way to you.

As gombeen-man gives way to not-for-profit   
and soft soap gives way to Lynn C. Doyle   
and tick gives way to tack
and Balaam’s Ass gives way to Mister Ed
and Songs of Innocence gives way to The Prophet
and single-prop Bar-B-Q gives way to twin-screw   
and the Salt Lick gives way to the County Line   
and “Mending Wall” gives way to “Build Soil”   
I give way to you.

As your hummus gives way to your foul madams   
and your coy mistress gives way to “The Flea”
and flax gives way to W. D. Flackes   
and the living give way to the dead
and John Hume gives way to Gerry Adams   
and Television gives way to U2
and Lake Constance gives way to the Rhine   
and the Rhine to the Zuider Zee   
I give way to you.

As dutch treat gives way to french leave   
and spanish fly gives way to Viagra   
and slick gives way to slack
and the local fuzz give way to the Feds   
and Machiavelli gives way to make-believe
and Howards End gives way to A Room with a View
and Wordsworth gives way to “Woodbine
Willie” and stereo Nagra to quad Niagara   
I give way to you.

As cathedral gives way to cavern
and cookie cutter gives way to cookie
and the rookies give way to the All-Blacks   
and the shad give way to the smoke shed
and the roughshod give way to the Black Horse avern
that still rings true
despite that T being missing from its sign   
where a little nook gives way to a little nookie   
when I give way to you.

That Nanook of the North should give way to Man of Aran
as ling gives way to cod
and cod gives way to kayak
and Camp Moosilauke gives way to Club Med   
and catamite gives way to catamaran
and catamaran to aluminum canoe
is symptomatic of a more general decline   
whereby a cloud succumbs to a clod
and I give way to you.

For as Monet gives way to Juan Gris
and Juan Gris gives way to Joan Miró
and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gives way to Miramax
and the Volta gives way to Travolta, swinging the red-hot lead,   
and Saturday Night Fever gives way to Grease
and the Greeks give way to you know who
and the Roman IX gives way to the Arabic 9
and nine gives way, as ever, to zero
I give way to you.

Paul Muldoon, “As” from Moy Sand and Gravel. Copyright © 2002 by Paul Muldoon. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Source: Moy Sand and Gravel (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2002)

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Poet Paul Muldoon b. 1951

POET’S REGION Ireland

Subjects Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Living, Men & Women

Occasions Anniversary

Poetic Terms Refrain

 Paul  Muldoon

Biography

Paul Muldoon is one of Ireland's leading contemporary poets. He was born in Portadown, County Armagh and raised near The Moy, in Northern Ireland. Muldoon’s work is full of paradox: playful but serious, elusive but direct, innovative but traditional. He uses traditional verse forms such as the sonnet, ballad, and dramatic monologue, but alters their length and basic structure, and uses rhyme and meter in new ways. His work is . . .

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SUBJECT Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Living, Men & Women

POET’S REGION Ireland

Poetic Terms Refrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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