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A Dead Mole -- Andrew Young

(Poem #168) A Dead Mole
Strong-shouldered mole,
That so much lived below the ground,
Dug, fought and loved, hunted and fed,
For you to raise a mound
Was as for us to make a hole;
What wonder now that being dead
Your body lies here stout and square
Buried within the blue vault of the air?
-- Andrew Young

You know how it is when you're looking at one of those trick photos
which have two interpretations (like the silhouetted profiles / flower
vase thingy), and suddenly the image resolves itself into a whole new
picture? Well, sometimes poetry is like that. Sometimes (not often, but
sometimes) poems have a way of jolting the reader into a whole new
appreciation of reality - seeing the extraordinary in the mundane,
reversing commonly held perceptions, finding new truths in unlikely

I love the inversion of perspective in the last line of today's poem.
Suddenly, what seemed to be an ordinary-enough poem about an
ordinary-enough event is given the force of a revelation. Powerful, and


[Followup / Links]

For another take on how poets bring out the unfamiliar in the everyday,
read the Martian poetry of Craig Raine (and Vikram Doctor's excellent
commentary on it) at poem #131

All our previous poems can also be read on the Web, at


A completely anonymous poet... several web-searches revealed no
background information about Andrew Young, apart from the fact that he
was presumably alive in 1939, when this poem was written. I'd appreciate
mail from anyone who knows who the guy is/was.

41 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Paul Jenkins said...

Finding Andrew Young on the web quite makes me forget I'm not finding
what i'm actually looking for....Paul Jenkins, Basel Mission.

Liz Garman said...

I just came across a website with your email address on it while I was
looking for some information on Andrew Young. You obviously know a bit
about him - perhaps you could help me...

Years ago, when I was doing a landscape archaeology course, I came
across a book about tracks and roads. I can't remember title or author
or publisher or anything but I do remember a poem at the beginning about
how a track developed from a small animal breaking a few twigs, then a
larger (deer?) using the trail until 'man' started to walk it and
eventually became a road.

I work in a library now and I was sorting out the reference section
today and found a book which mentioned Andrew Young's poem The Track
which was in a book/compliation of his work called 'Quiet as Moss'.

Do you know this poem?
Can you point me in the right direction?
Have I got the right link?

Thanks if you can help...

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Flowers in the spring,
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I wrote this poem a few months ago, but I would like to know what you think about it.

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Bac Pham said...

The concept which climaxes in the closing line pulls one up sharply. The style of the poem is typical of Young: the irregular rhyme scheme with long and short lines relieves the poem of any monotony, and sharpens the emphasis.
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