Patrick Cotter

Wrath Redux

Patrick Cotter

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A hotel of turf is what he’d build.

The walls, the ceilings all formed

from peat still seeping as if with tea;

sodden bricks which would crisp

in the sun if packed and neatly stacked.

But his would remain fully filled with fluid

flowing from the living, breathing

bog beneath. All beds he’d weave

from still sprouting sphagnum

and windows dress with rushes black.

For breakfast, guests would feast

on vintage butter centuries old

-           spread like chrism on best

soda bread - scooped from robust

baskets of blackened wicker

sunk in damp internment

for innumerable generations

where no living germ

could intrude. Chairs

would be chiseled

from millennia old oak.

and if the bronze-aged corpse

of a man ritually killed

should emerge with the butter

and the oak, he’d drink with it

the finest flavoured poteen

from water drawn near the body,

richer than any Hebridean spirit

priced as gold. And he’d sniff

the cadaver’s crown coiffured

with pine lacquer hauled three thousand

years or more ago across the Pyrenees

to decorate a prehistoric playboy

before the cuckcolds he’d made

unmade him with blows and cuts

as rhythmic as the scythes of work.   


Patrick Cotter


Patrick Cotter is the author of Perplexed Skin (Arlen House 2008) and Making Music (Three Spires 2009) among other volumes. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming from Five Dials, the Financial Times, Poetry (Chicago), Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Review, PN Review and elsewhere. I have received the Keats Shelley Prize for Poetry and have guest edited issues of Poetry (Chicago) Riddlefence (Canada) and Shanghai Writers.