A Collegelands Catechism by Paul Muldoon


Blondin Cooking an Omelette on the Tightrope. Photo by S.S. Campbell. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Which is known as the ‘Orchard County’?
Which as the ‘Garden State’?
Which captain of the Bounty
was set adrift by his mate?

Who cooked and ate an omelette
midway across Niagara Falls?
Where did Setanta get
those magical hurley balls

he ram-stammed down the throat
of the blacksmith’s hound?
Why would a Greek philosopher of note
refuse to be bound

by convention but live in a tub
from which he might overhear,
as he went to rub
an apple on his sleeve, the mutineers

plotting to seize the Maid of the Mist
while it was still half able to forge
ahead and make half a fist
of crossing the Niagara gorge,

the tub in which he might light a stove
and fold in the beaten
eggs into themselves? Who unearthed the egg-trove?
And who, having eaten

the omelette, would marvel at how the Mounties
had so quickly closed in on him, late
of the ‘Orchard County’
by way of the ‘Garden State’?

Source: http://www.princeton.edu/almagest/courseware/public/catechism/poemstart.html

About Paul Muldoon


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