Tara Bergin

Ode to the Microphone

Tara Bergin

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Violence is such a lovely word.

I think you’ll find I used it first –

I think you’ll find I heard it first.

It wasn’t what they wanted.

They wanted me – the fools – to wear a hat

but I fought them on that,

and won, of course.

Can you imagine?

Afterwards, I went home and did chores.

I wasn’t a poet then.

Only a poet in rest.

So I say, don’t I?

Again and again, if they should so wish.

It’s the vowels I suppose.

(into the microphone)

O Vowels – how I miss you!

And I see I’ve made the news –

again and again, if they should so wish.

But it’s still me on one side,

and the fanatics on the other –

Lords of the Manor!

O how I envy them:

9 a.m. –

cigarette in one hand,

pen in the other,

surrounded by all their heroes and heroines.

On Fridays the bin men come

and pick up all their crumbs!

They hear the racket from their rooms.

I hear the roots of wild arum: growing down.

Lords-and-ladies of the manor!

And my oh my, they say now

that my speaking voice is sublime.

It improved when I crossed the Atlantic,

and spent a little time in the studio.


I went home and did chores.

Because I wasn’t really a poet then.

Only a poet-in-waiting.

Tara Bergin

Tara Bergin was born and grew up in Dublin. Her first collection of poems, This is Yarrow, was published by Carcanet in 2013, and was awarded the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize, and the Shine/Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish author. In 2014 she was named a Poetry Book Society “Next Generation” poet. Her work has appeared in Poetry ReviewPN ReviewModern Poetry in TranslationPoetry Ireland ReviewTrumpet, and the TLS. She is currently lecturing part-time at Newcastle University.