Et In Arcadia Ego

Oh, that’s it, Keko. Pass through. Go ahead.
Just walk across my books without a glance,
with all that arrogant insousiance
of yours, encoded in that languid tread.

No, never mind that I’ve been up all night
engrossed in them. What now? So why the pause?
Ah, now I see. You might retract your claws
in expectation of a fondle-fight.

What must it be, to live a life by whim,
to eat, to sleep, to gambol, amble, bask
as humour takes you, never think to ask
of costs or consequences, to never trim

or balance, need to tack, or double back.
There’s no-one holding you to strict account.
You waste your time guilt-free, don’t have to mount
defence or mitigation. If you lack

the cares and burdens of my tedious chores,
perhaps there’s something else you’ll never own
—a subtle thing called purpose, which alone
gives point to my percentages and scores.

Don’t look so smug for landing on all fours!
This ledger’s done. I know I have to die,
and that’s my tragedy. You, pumpkin pie,
don’t have a clue what’s coming. And that’s yours.


Before I Saw Your Face

Before I knew your name, you spoke to me.
Before I learned the contours of your face,
or came to know your talents, or the place
you call your home, you’d touched me lastingly.

Before I understood your shifting moods,
or pressed against your skin, or heard you weep,
you were already in me, buried deep.
This never was some shallow interlude.

I loved you though I’d never heard your voice
or stroked your hair. It was just meant to be.
In some unknowable realm we made our choice,
without recourse to hand, or heart, or eye,
for these are carnal things, which fade and die.
And I have loved you for eternity.



Barrister, teacher and journalist, Michael Coy is an Irish poet who has settled permanently in the south of Spain. He readily admits to a serious rhyme-and-rhythm habit. Winner of various poetry prizes in Britain and Ireland, Michael has been published fairly regularly in the British poetry journal, ”Orbis.”

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6 Responses

  1. William Glyn-Jones

    Good poem. Nice. Jealous of a pet who doesn’t have to do its accounts. I like it. Oscar Wilde reference at the end. Ultimately a reflection of human emotions and projections – trying to find some reason to feel better than your pet! (-:

  2. Paul Oratofsky

    Both of these are well done and interesting. “Fondle-fight” is adorable. I would have, in the last line of stanza 3 of your first poem, written “of cost or consequence” instead of using the plural, for the meter’s sake, but this is a minor nitpicking. Jolly good show.

    • William Glyn- Jones

      Good idea – I was think drop the “to” from that line for the same reason – but your suggestion is better

  3. C.B. Anderson


    These poems were subtle, and I appreciate that. They crept up and attacked me from behind. Scat! In regard to the second poem, I wondered whether the paramour was the same person I’ve been dating for all these many years. If so, I apologize, and I hope you will not challenge me to a duel.

  4. William Glyn-Jones

    Et in Arcadia because of the reminder of death, although giving it that title makes it all seem a little serious, whereas the Wilde reference is actually the light touch. After all: “Is that clever?”
    “It is perfectly phrased! and quite as true as any observation in civilized life should be.” Great poem though.


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