John Ridland



I nap on my back in the afternoon.
If I do so at night, I gargle, and croon
A phlegmatic and most unmelodious tune,
So I nap on my back in the afternoon,

And I wake from it fresh as a bird in flight.
God’s in Her Heaven, and everything’s right
with the world and the world is a beautiful sight.
If only it looked that way at night!

But at night I sleep on my side and groan
An ugly, unmusical, elderly moan,
And I wake in the middle and go take a piddle,
And all that I see I would like to disown,

Except for that woman who keeps putting up
With this drivel I constantly pour in her cup.

Compensations of Aging

Memory and Balance
No longer my best talents,
I’m generous at Tipping,
Forgetfulness, and Slipping.


John Ridland has published three books in the past year: Happy in an Ordinary Thing from Truman State University Press; a verse translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from Taller Martín Pescador, Mexico (distributed in the US through Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts; and another translation, with Peter Czipott, of selected poems by Sándor Márai, The Withering World, from Alma Books in London. The New American Press will be issuing All That Still Matters at All, selected poems of Miklós Radnóti, translated again with Czipott, by the coming Summer. Along with that, he has turned 80, as of the Fourth of July, and will have something to say about that, perhaps in a future issue of Light.