poem index

The Dancers Inherit the Party

Ian Hamilton Finlay
When I have talked for an hour I feel lousy—
Not so when I have danced for an hour:
The dancers inherit the party
While the talkers wear themselves out and
          sit in corners alone, and glower.

From Ian Hamilton Finlay: Selections by Ian Finlay. Copyright © 2012 by Ian Finlay. Reprinted with permission of University of California Press. All rights reserved.

Ian Hamilton Finlay

by this poet

Doing what the moon says, he shifts his chair
Closer to the stove and stokes it up
With the very best fuel, a mixture of dried fish
And tobacco he keeps in a bucket with crabs

Too small to eat. One raises its pincer
As if to seize hold of the crescent moon
On the calendar which is almost like a zodiac