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Maggot, By Paul Muldoon

With sounds like these, who needs understanding?

In Paul Muldoon's poems, as in John Donne's, the thought can be difficult but the language is not.

Their philosophical meaning may be hard for casual readers to discern, but one is tempted almost not to care when there are lines such as these, from "The Watercooler", about a couple splitting up: "and the mistletoe puts up its mitts/ to vie for the sweet-throated throstle/ where the black oaks jostle ..." It's sound that Muldoon revels in ("a fluster and a fuss and a fidget/ in the fuchsia bells"), and the modern world vies with the ancient, as "the Poet", pinioned like the albatross, seeks to fly and too often finds that he cannot.