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’s poems have appeared in the London Review of Books, Poetry (Chicago), Poetry Review, the Honest Ulsterman & elsewhere. He is a recipient of the Keats-Shelly Poetry Prize. Sonic White Poise, his third full collection was published in 2021 by Dedalus, Dublin. More at

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