April in New Hope
Ascribe it though we may to the McCormick clan
The technology of the mechanical reaper and hay tedder
Had been developed by the Celts
Only to be lost with Rome. A Cambridge man
Might be done for by a “bedder”
But Princeton men kept slaves. In 1849, the Corn Belt
Still stretched to the Delaware.
We few, we happy few, are still so newfangled
With our own Henriad
We forget New Hope is where
Each generation is doomed to wrangle
The shad roe from the shad
Only to pair them once again, fried in bacon fat
And served on a white platter
With capers and lime.
By 1949, Richard Feynman was already plugging away at
The idea of antimatter being matter
That merely goes backwards in time.
Paul Muldoon’s new collection, One Thousand Things Worth Knowing, is due in January. This poem is from Berryman’s Fate: A Centenary Celebration in Verse (Arlen House), a new anthology to mark John Berryman's centenary.