Thursday Poem

A Mayfly
Paul Muldoon

A mayfly taking off from a spike of mullein
would blunder into Deichtine’s mouth to become Cú Chulainn,
Cú Chulainn who had it within him to steer clear
of a battlefield on the shaft of his own spear,
his own spear from which he managed to augur
the fate of that part-time cataloguer,
that cataloguer who might yet transcend the crush
as its own tumult transcends the thrush,
the thrush that’s known to have tipped off avalanches
from the larch’s lowest branches,
the lowest branches of the larch
that model themselves after a triumphal arch,
a triumphal arch made of the femora
of a woman who’s even now filed under Ephemera.

In Irish mythology, Deichtine was the sister of Conchobar mac Nessa
and the mother of Cúchulainn, a hero of ancient Ulster and the Old Irish
literary saga An Táin.