Ode to Bjork by Derek Mahon


Derek Mahon

Ode to Bjork


Dark bird of ice, dark swan

of snow, your bright gamine

teardrop Inuit eyes

peep from a magazine


as if to say ‘Fuck off

and get my new release;

you don’t know me, I am

the dark swan of ice


and secrecy, the seagull,

the unringed plover, not

something to take and stroke.’

Ever since Spit & Snot,


‘Aeroplane’ and ‘Anchor Song’

your aim has been to knock

aside the expectations

of corporate brainwash rock.


‘Headphones’ and ‘Cover Me’,

I listen to your voice,

a lonely bird that pipes

from quickly thawing ice,


a bad child acting out

behind the electronics,

a mad flirt and shout

beyond the audio mix.


No doubt you’d like to get

an open car, a megaphone

and tell the wold like Garbo,

‘I want to be alone!’


Here in the confused stink

of global warming, what

you really want, I think,

is not spit ‘n’ snot


but mystery and mystique,

the hidden places where

the wild things are and no one

can track you to your lair.


(Sea levels rising annually,

glaciers sliding fast,

species extinct, the far north

negotiable at last…)


Anyhow you’re not playing

to us, are you, but to the white

light and corrugated iron

roofs of the Arctic night.


Up there where silence falls

and there is no more land

your scared, scary voice calls

to the great waste beyond.


Derek Mahon


3 thoughts on “Ode to Bjork by Derek Mahon

  1. Pingback: 87. (Derek Mahon) | Critical Provisions

  2. Pingback: 87. (Derek Mahon) – Critical Provisions

    • That’s what I love about Derek Mahon – his knowledge and allusions are wide-ranging, but he allows the reader in, and he’s open to influences from everywhere. The best kind of poet.

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