Himalayan Balsam for a Soldier

They don’t see me but I walk
into Fitzgeralds with them the half-wounded,
I sit in there at the high table with my pint,
half-wounded, thinking, I will drag my
wounds in here.
I drag myself in and up to the high stool
among the guys with one arm and they
don’t see me.
Here is your talisman I say, I whisper
hold it in your good hand and sing one
of your songs for me.
How does it go? Oh how does it go again?
There is blood on my hand, la la,
there is blood on my hand, la, la.
Your talisman, I say, a foul flower.
Hold it in your hand and how full your good
hand will be with the
exploding.


from This is Yarrow (Carcanet, 2013), © Tara Bergin 2013, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1Looking at Lucy's Painting of the Thames at Low Tide Without Lucy Present

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2Acting School

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3Water is Difficult

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4All Fool's Day - An Academic Farewell

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5Questions

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6You Could Show a Horse

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7Himalayan Balsam for a Soldier

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8Sonnets for Tracy

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9Sonnet for Catherine Who Never Turned Up

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10Military School

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11White Crow

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12The Undertaker's Tale of the Notebook Measuring 1 x 2 cm

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13Rapeseed

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14Red Flag

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15The Passion Flower

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16Restriction

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17Bridal Song

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18The Confession

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19Swiss Station Room

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20St Patrick's Day Address, 1920

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21Photograph of Therese of Lisieux Holding Lillies

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22Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon

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23Portrait of the Artist's Wife as a Younger Woman

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24The Ballad of Tom Gun

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26Stag-Boy

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27If Painting Isn't Over

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28Queen of the Rodeo

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29Feverfew

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30In Memory of My Lack of Feelings

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31Dying

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32The Workmen

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33The Hairdresser

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43Rosenberg's Self Portrait in a Steel Helmet, 1916

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35My Friend the Tailor

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36Sample Arm

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37Ode to the Microphone

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38This is Yarrow

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39At the Lakes with Roberta

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40At the Garage

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Books by Tara Bergin