'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, August 31, 2006
King Kong and Chess
Silence now from Bob and Kay.
Their game of chess gets underway.
In her hand, beside her head,
A crystal glass of something red
To dance within her brain and sing,
And bring a fondness for her king,
To ease into an August night
In disappearing evening light.
Playing chess with king and Kong,
And bishops drunk in swinging song.
And Kay's away with little pawns,
Sought by knights on endless lawns.
A chance to make the daisy chains
And break away from God-like brains.
Little birds will fly around
The dazy heads in song-like sound.
Kong will try to climb a rook.
He only wants to have a look,
And see all that there is to see.
A tourist who loves heights, is he.
The pawns like Kong because he's big,
And strong and brave, and they can dig
A man or thing who's not afraid
Of flirting with Death's frightening maid.
And though his flirting with Fay Wray
Suggests that Kong is not au fait
With the modern woman's scheme
Of boats that go to make a dream,
His heart is where his heart should be.
His artless words conceal a plea
For love to fill his empty life,
And someone tall to be his wife.
Another glass of wine for Kay,
Which brings a smile and makes her say,
"The thing about him, the Hong about Kong
Can't be said in poem or song.
"If Kong had lived long, long ago,
A time when we knew how to grow,
When Ireland was the home of giants,
When men were tall and lakes were pints,
"Fionn and co, and Cuchulainn.
Instead of crisps a large sea gull an'
At dinner time a single deer
For each of them, and tanks of beer.
"An Irish Wolfhound for a pet,
No need for fancy food or vet.
Kong would blend in with the crowd.
He wouldn't seem so tall or loud.
"Nowadays we're so much smaller.
Men will worry should they call her
On their phone, or should they wait,
And why does her Chihuahua hate
"The way he smells. His aftershave
Should suggest he's strong and brave.
Wolfhounds never minded smells.
They'd hate red collars with chrome bells.
"Their ancient owners never worried
About their nails. They never hurried
To a summer sale of shoes.
They didn't cry at every bruise.
"It's when Kong should have been alive.
In those ancient days he'd thrive.
More so than us. We'd never last
If we lived in our own past.
"Maybe Shakespeare would have found
A way to say in fine-tuned sound
What Kong attempts to say in noise,
With the aid of fiery eyes.
"They'd get on as well, I'm sure.
They'd talk in words as raw and pure
As any music of the heart.
The Bard could shape it into art,
"A message for King Kong's adherents,
To make sense of his incoherence.
He'd tell a tale of cruellest fate
For Mr. Shakespeare to translate.
"By the Bard, a tragic play,
An ill-starred love for Kong and Fay.
The future days in store for them
Hold tragedy that may well stem
"From families on either side
Who see an ill-matched groom and bride.
Her family will say he's too
Like his cousins in the zoo.
"And his will say or shout that she's
Not fit to reach above his knees.
But love will triumph in the end,
And then they'll die, which may well lend
"An added air of poignancy
To former scenes of hide-and-seek,
When Kong would hide behind the shed,
Which hid one side of his great head.
"But they've departed through time's drain.
Echoes in the mind remain
Of those happy days when they
Could paint deep blue on darkest grey,
"And fill the fields and dales with life,
The hills and vales with Kong and wife.
But it was never meant to be,
Though he was always meant for she.
"Shakespeare might decide to write
A comedy, something light.
There'd be drama if he kissed her.
There'd be trouble playing Twister.
"Her friends might say he needs to shave
His feet and change his name to Dave,
Or something less intimidating.
In him a timid husband's waiting
"To be shaped by subtle hints,
By sculpting hands and common sense.
On dates he'll wear his natural hat
With matching coat, just like a cat.
"He has a bath to wash his ears.
Shampoo only causes tears.
The breeze blow-dries his hair in hours.
He smells of trees and tiny flowers.
"Killing dinosaurs on dates
Could be amongst a girl's pet hates
If she's opposed to eating meat,
And men who fail to wash their feet.
"A restaurant on Friday night,
A table there in candle light.
His hand well might reach out to hers
A sudden smile at what occurs,
"An electric tingle at their touch,
Dismissing thoughts of going Dutch.
It turns the lights on in their brains
Illuminating dreams of lanes,
"And walking hand-in-hand away.
A smile is all they have to say.
He doesn't understand the world,
The concrete wall that's somehow curled
"All around his mighty frame,
A world of staring eyes and fame.
Every step's a chance to fall,
But she's a window in the wall,
"The one remaining patch of light,
The day within eternal night.
Without her he'd be lost today.
At least she'll help him find his way,
"Avoiding ends in falling down.
They've built a pole in Dublin town,
Too slippery for Kong to climb.
These days he couldn't spare the time.
"New estates are built in months,
Houses with mock Tudor fronts.
While Kong would love our ancient days,
We've assumed today the ways
"Of Tudor England at its best.
The Bard would be a welcome guest.
Shakespeare would have liked it here.
He'd fit in without King King's fear.
"His name is Kong. It's not too long.
With the King it's almost song.
And he could sing and find great fame
If only he could say his name.
"So sing a song or king a Kong,
Or knight a pawn and right a wrong,
To recognise the ones who give
Their lives so kings and queens can live."
She stops and takes another drink,
A time to pause and smile and think.
He wonders what she's trying to prove.
He just says, "It's your bloody move."
She looks across towards his side.
No battles yet, no pawns have died.
They're doing push-ups while they wait,
Building biceps, storing hate.
His bishops even look quite mean.
Keane and Quinn are king and queen.
She knows too well it's just an act.
They'd run away if she attacked,
Which she does, and Bob retreats
To get some beer and crisps and sweets.
He's not quite Kong, but that's okay.
She likes his presence anyway.
(If you're not familiar with soccer at this side of the world, Keane and Quinn are Roy Keane and Niall Quinn. Keane is one of our greatest ever players. He recently retired from playing. During his career he was famous, or infamous, for his temper. Quinn is another former Irish player. His do-gooder image led to the nickname 'Mother Theresa'. Keane and Quinn had a falling-out just before the 2002 World Cup, when Keane had the mother of all fallings-out with the manager, Mick McCarthy. Quinn recently became the chairman of Sunderland Football Club, and within the past few days he appointed Keane as his manager. They're the oddest couple since the owl and the pussycat, as someone once said about Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller).
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Trouble Follows Me
I always seem to cause
A quite unnecessary fuss,
Whether in an empty restaurant
Or on a crowded bus.
I do my best to stay away
From any aggravation,
But I find myself in trouble
And in need of extrication
From awkward situations,
When I need a subtle mind
In prolonged negotiations
To resolve a troubling bind.
Last week in a restaurant
I'd heard a lot about
From people whose opinions
I've never had to doubt.
I had some female company.
I met her by a river.
She's an underwater diver.
I was there to give her
Some good advice and crisps
When she came out of the water.
We seemed to hit it off,
And dinner then I bought her.
The advice was to say yes
When I asked her out to dinner.
I assured her that my loser look
Concealed within a winner.
Without reluctance she accepted
This advice I offered to her,
Which made me very happy
Even though my crisps were fewer.
The meal was going well until
The main course, when I found
Some cardboard in my salmon.
The potatoes were too round.
I called the waiter over
And I pointed out politely
The cardboard on my plate.
An accident, it might be.
I suggested, in a patient voice,
Both jovial and noble,
That someone with a shovel
Find potatoes that were oval.
The waiter took my plate away
With much apologies.
The arrival of the chef
Triggered shaking in my knees.
He held his favourite knife
In a hand that bore a scar
That spoke of minor wars
Within the confines of a bar.
The woman I was with
Didn't help to ease the tension.
She may well disagree,
But she didn't have to mention
That she could see his underpants.
Everyone could hear.
His anger only grew
And I felt the end was near.
He said to me we'd settle this
On the street outside,
Which held the possibility
To run away and hide.
But my date would hate to see me run
When somebody says 'boo'.
So I slowly drank my drink
And tried to think of what to do.
I'm not a heavy drinker,
And I've never been a fighter.
I'm always a light thinker,
And when I drink I'm lighter.
Since I'd ruled out taking flight
My options became limited.
I bought another drink,
Even though to him it'd
Seem like I'm delaying
The delight he'll get from fighting.
Violence is his forté.
Avoiding it is my thing.
I found myself espousing views
On literature of little note.
And boozing makes me talk about
The time I bought a boat.
One day on a lake,
Between half-three and four,
I was looking at a pigeon
Who was standing on the shore.
He was hiding from a vet,
Underneath a towel he stole.
My feet were getting wet.
In the boat there was a hole.
A thimble full of alcohol
Was all I had to drink.
A row-boat full of water
Was enough to make me sink.
I told the chef about the vet
I met when I got out.
He didn't catch the pigeon
But I found a silver trout.
I told him too about a tip
From the vet, a horse who'd win.
A dedicated betting man,
The chef could only grin.
He wrote it on a napkin
And then he shook my hand.
He promised two free dinners
If he won close to a grand.
The way I dealt with danger,
With dignity and style,
Impressed my lady friend no end
And she could only smile.
The horse refused to fall
On his merry way around.
He merely fell asleep
On the soft forgiving ground.
The ground is there for grazing
And for sleeping, not for running.
It can be used for rolling too
And sometimes it's for sunning.
I was there to see it.
We all stayed very quiet.
The jockey carefully got off
And whispered a 'good night'
To his soundly sleeping horse
In his wooly sleeping cap.
The announcer sang a lullaby
Throughout the horse's nap.
The horse was nearly woken
By a very angry chef,
Whose shout would wake the dead
And agitate the deaf.
I couldn't get away.
I was rescued by the crowd
Who insisted to the chef
That he shouldn't be so loud.
Left with little choice
He just had to wait a while
Till the horse and his dreamy head
Ran the final mile.
I suggested that a drink or two
Would make the time go quicker,
Hoping that I'd stumble on
An answer in the liquor.
I bought us both a drink.
In silence there we sat.
I pulled a metaphorical
Rabbit from my hat.
The rabbit was a greyhound
Who couldn't lose a race.
The mechanical hare
Could barely match his pace.
I told the chef about him
And he shook my hand again.
He left and I relaxed
But in the middle of my gin
I remembered that my last tip,
Which I said could never lose,
Resulted in him losing on
A horse who liked a snooze.
And the tip was the advice
Of a vet who couldn't find
A bird who hid beneath a towel.
I wondered was he blind.
Somewhere in my mind I found
A thought that brought distress,
That the lightning-quick greyhound
Was a monkey in a dress.
But I didn't need to worry.
He hurried to the line.
He clearly won the race,
And victory was mine.
Compared to all the other dogs
It seemed he had a mission.
His choice of wedding dress
Must have scared the competition.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Bill and Ted can bill and coo
To Sue and co, or softly say
What they intend tonight to do
On ending their Nintendo day.
After driving cars for hours
With their thumbs, or shooting things.
They'll acquire romantic powers,
Exuding charm that hums and sings.
Sue and all her friends will purr,
Or so Bill and Ted believe.
Sue's been known to only stir
When insects occupy her sleeve.
She folds her arms and stares ahead
In heavy rain or when it's dry.
Yesterday she only said
'I don't know' and 'no' and 'bye'.
Her best friend Jenny rarely stops
After she begins to speak.
She keeps on talking till she drops,
Which happens nearly every week.
Neither Bill nor Ted have said
A word or two to Ted or Bill
Since late last year when Bill's foot bled.
Ted said 'shoe' and Bill said 'ill'.
Neither knows if Sue or Jen
Would be a better bet for love.
And who would get to choose, and when,
If push came all the way to shove.
And shove gave way to trading blows,
Fighting over which one gets
The right to choose what neither knows.
They know as much when placing bets.
They both decide to take a chance,
And risk a very painful hit.
Let fate in its relentless dance
Decide which one they'll end up with.
They meet outside a corner shop.
A perfect walk and stop from Ted.
Bill walks with a limp and hop.
He hurt again the foot that bled.
Jenny asks about his limp.
He says he simply tripped and fell
While looking at a passing blimp.
He found himself half-way to hell.
He fell head-first into a hole
That should be in some other place.
When he falls he'll always roll,
But the shock of landing on his face
Slowed his brain's reaction time.
What to do remained in doubt.
His clothes were full of dirt and grime.
He hurt his foot while getting out.
Jenny has a lot to say
On hurting feet and what to do.
His foot is fate's peculiar way
Of saying 'She's the one for you'.
And Sue's the one for Ted, it seems.
She hasn't fainted, screamed or fled.
Fate and Bill's foot picked these teams,
A better method than Bill's head.
Sue and Ted both stand and stare.
The silence goes on much too long.
He'd like to ask about her hair.
He knows his questions would sound wrong.
'Can I touch your hair?' would be
A very bad ice-breaker, but
To Jenny's heart Bill's found a key
With 'Do you want to see my foot?'.
She sees his foot and nods at it.
She asks if she can touch it too.
Ted feels like he's being hit
By fate, and kicked a bit by Sue.
"Do you want to see my car?"
Is what he finally says to her.
"It's parked nearby, not too far.
From here you'd hear the engine purr."
She declines, applies the brakes.
His car is old and things fall off
On almost every trip he takes.
From here you'd hear the engine cough.
He gives the dice one final throw.
"Do you want to see my painting?"
I painted it a week ago
From an image in my brain thing."
"Paint?" she says with some surprise.
He says, "There isn't much to see.
It's little more than someone's eyes.
It's on a rock beneath a tree."
She thinks a while and says 'okay'.
He fights a sudden need to faint.
Ted had never heard her say
Any more than 'no' and 'paint'.
He takes her to the tree and rock,
Where insects in the shadows lurk,
Expecting her to laugh and mock
His only real artistic work.
The painting's mostly coloured dots.
He says, "The dots are eyes, I think.
They aren't bees or flies or moths.
It all goes blank when these eyes blink."
"Penguins," she says, and she points too
Towards Ted's attempt at art.
He says, "Yes, that's very true.
They're there at least in some small part."
Still her right hand's index finger
Remains extended, motionless.
An eerie silence seems to linger,
Returning Ted to fear and stress,
Followed by a sudden shock
When she screams and runs away.
He never dreamed his coloured rock
Could make her flee in twilight's grey.
Ted goes back to Bill and Jen.
He tells them all about Sue's pause
Before her run. He nods yes when
Jen asks if penguins were the cause.
She explains that Sue's afraid
Of penguins and their steady stare.
Sue insists a penguin played
On her soccer team last year.
The penguin was their final sub,
The glowing icing on their cake.
Opposing teams they often drub.
Add skill to work then lightly bake.
The icing is the insult that
They unveil before the end.
Sometimes it's just an ailing cat
On a 'get well' card they send
To their opponents on the field
Before the final whistle blows,
And hope their wounds will soon be healed,
And their recurring nightmare goes.
Near the end while nine-nil up
The penguin was supposed to play
In goal until they won the cup.
Between the posts he wouldn't stay.
He just ran after Sue instead.
A fireman had to rescue her.
"Bad doggie," the fireman said
To the penguin, who didn't stir.
He stared and there he stayed a while,
Without a frown or smile or grin.
Sue admired the penguin's style.
Black with white is always in.
But she feared his glaring gaze,
Suggesting thoughts of his attack,
And on the field the way he plays
Reminded her of their full-back,
Who brings an air of fear and menace.
Her tackles leave opponents lame.
She loves beating people at tennis,
Although she's never played the game.
Ted decides it's time to change
His artistic work on rock.
And though the altered eyes look strange
There's more surprise within Bill's sock.
Jen convinces Sue to see
The new and much improved creation,
Both penguin- and admission-free,
Despite expenses and inflation.
With caution Sue approaches now
The place from where she ran away.
The fading light will just allow
A view to make her point and say,
"Penguins," but without the fear
She had before, the time she fled.
"It looks to me like this one here
Is wearing glasses on his head."
Sue explains that recently
The penguin's had another role.
They used him as a referee.
The real ref fell into a hole.
They gave him glasses and a whistle,
And the authority of a constable,
In the sincere hope that this'll
Make him more responsible.
But with the glasses he kept looking
At his feet from where he sat.
The game went by without a booking.
Their full-back had a baseball bat.
Sue just stares ahead again.
Jenny talks to Bill about
A boat she once was briefly in
Before she and her friends fell out.
Ted can't think of what to say,
Except to talk about his hair.
He searches through it once a day.
He sometimes keeps his keys in there.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Carol and Graham
They met in a pub
And they said their goodbyes
Before their 'hello's
Or their smiles and their 'hi's.
It made things much quicker.
It cut out the tears,
And the fights on the streets
That everyone hears.
The stress of divorce
Are all set aside,
And a mortgage, of course.
They missed out on meeting
Their future in-laws,
Fearing that some would
Have fangs and four paws.
She won't need to tell him
About Uncle Alan
Who never wears socks
And he drinks by the gallon.
Because his flies
Are so often undone,
He's stopped wearing trousers
And has much more fun.
She won't need to know
About his family too,
His cousins' alternative
Uses for glue.
She'll never find out
About all that he's done,
The havoc ensuing
His plans to have fun.
Like when he trained whippets
To sit when he said
A word that he shouldn't
Use outside his head.
The dogs obediently
Sat when he said it.
And stayed until further advice,
To their credit.
The dogs' owner stayed
When she heard this command.
From her own head
This word had been banned.
She looked on in horror.
Her dogs looked at her.
Last Christmas they carried
The gold and the myrrh
As part of a local
Along with a poodle
They walked through the hay.
The poodle kept dropping
The frankincense bucket.
A shepherd Dalmatian
Eventually took it.
Her two household pets
Were the stars of the show,
Like the star overhead
Under tinsel and snow.
Their acting careers
Were unfortunately over.
The wise men would be
Uncouth terriers called Rover.
Knowing that word
Might well make them wiser.
The absence of gifts
Could make each one a miser.
But the Lord's company
Was no place for two dogs
With a word in their heads
That's more suited to blogs.
They learnt one more word.
She got her own back.
Each time they hear 'Graham'
They growl and attack.
He secretly hoped
She'd agree to go out
For a meal or a drink,
But because of his mouth
And its need to let out
Certain words in his head,
From her front garden
He recently fled.
Carol has also done
Things she regrets.
She's fearless in dares
And ambitious in bets.
There's a librarian
She secretly likes,
Despite his love for
The hills where he hikes.
He doesn't like noise
And avoids alcohol.
He'd hide at the sight
Of a fight or a brawl.
When he's in her presence
His patience is tested.
Because of her efforts
He once got arrested
For something he certainly
Wouldn't have done:
Steal a policeman's
Sandwich and run.
He was the one who
Advised her against it.
Despite his advice
She chanced it and hence it
Caused him to be
In police custody.
She ran and she left him
In their company.
Faced with the choice
Of an easy arrest,
Or a chase through the streets
And a pain in the chest,
They chose the course
That was lacking in running,
Planning and cunning.
He might have escaped.
They've no way of knowing.
Just to be safe
They stopped him from going.
He might not be great
At evading arrest.
At avoiding poor Carol
He's surely the best.
She's now given up
On a future with him.
The chances of that
Were always near slim.
And when she met Graham
That night in the pub.
She saw a good chance
That they'd form a small club.
And then start to hate
The club's other member.
A marriage in May
And divorce in December.
They saw what would happen.
Affairs could be fun.
For efficiency's sake
They left it undone.
Plans and thoughts
Of revenge are unthunk.
It lets them get on with
Their lives and get drunk.
But each of them still
Sees a glimmer of hope,
A dream of being able
To live and elope
With a man whose words
Paint a beautiful view,
Or the woman whose dogs
Only know one or two.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
He's clearly become and extremely rich man
Through following his father's approved career plan:
Acquiring a crowbar, accruing his money
In various crimes and a sideline in honey.
Over the years he's improved at his work.
He's spotted where pitfalls and dangers may lurk.
His non-bee employees can move like a mouse.
Tonight he's invited them 'round to his house.
Thieves who think and hoodwink and plan,
Hoodlums manhandle and crush what they can,
Goodlums who beat people up and say sorry,
Burglars who bury the loot in a quarry,
All gathered together tonight in the garden.
Some make the trip to the den and the bar then
Return to their seat in the last of the sun,
With a glass in their hand and a plate for the bun.
Their boss asked them 'round on his daughter's advice.
He could have said no. He does have a choice,
But he loves Emma dearly, the reason he breathes.
She always gets more than she wants or she needs.
Sooner than later he'll buy her a band.
He caters for all of her needs to own land.
When no one will date her he'll threaten her friends
With imminent permanent concrete-shoe ends.
Now she's sixteen and she's starting to wonder
Should she buy shoes on the proceeds of plunder.
Her father will fund every whim and desire.
She's bored of her life as consumer and buyer.
And she'd like to do good. It sounds more exciting
Than boating and yachting and choosing the right thing
To go with the shoes or the clothes or the car,
Just to be seen in some trendy new bar.
She thought up a plan and she had so much fun
In fiendishly plotting and scheming with none
Of the criminal intent her granddad passed on,
Drained by her father until it was gone.
She told him she'd thought of a devious scheme,
A ghostbusting service -- this is her dream.
People trust anything when they're gripped by fright.
You'd get easy access to houses at night.
He couldn't be prouder of his only daughter.
She's more than re-paid him for all that he bought her.
He called up his colleagues and asked them to visit,
To unveil their new business, and ghostbusting is it.
He lets Emma tell them the ins and the outs.
They listen intently but some have their doubts
When Emma brings out the uniforms they'll wear.
She designed them herself with attention and care.
With mittens and socks, one for each foot.
The mittens might look very like the socks but
If their feet should get wet late at night in a storm
They can use the mittens as socks and stay warm.
There's one for the man with the metal hook hand.
She knitted this mitten just for his hook and
He'll get three socks, subject to checks,
But the mitten won't fit on his foot, she suspects.
The ghostbusters logo adorns every shirt,
A dangerous weapon when used while you flirt
With women who fall for authority figures.
It'll be a nice change from the queue of gold-diggers.
And Emma points out that some women will fall
For a man who's good-looking, dark-haired and tall,
But many more women will fall for the charms
Of a man with a spare pair of socks on his arms.
None of the crooks are too keen on the clothes,
But no one complains because everyone knows
That the chances for theft make it worth wearing pants
That make them assume an unusual stance.
The first night of business was carefully planned
By Emma and friends. The phone lines are manned
By Jim and Michelle, from her class in school.
But they get to spend all their time in the pool.
Emma's already arranged all the calls:
Reports of unexplained knocking on walls,
Faint ghostly voices, maniacal laughter,
The ghost of a cat who won't move from a rafter.
When one of the burglars arrives at the door
Of a house with strange footprints along the hall floor,
He's greeted by name, his real name at that.
The words are embroidered in red on his hat.
He sees that his chances for stealing have vanished.
It seems that the ghost has already been banished.
He stays for a drink with his hostess, Diane,
Who regales him with tales of acquiring her tan.
The ghost on the rafter is really a cat,
And she's stuck in a tree, too scared or too fat
To move from her branch and return to her kittens.
The ghostbuster's glad of his warm sock-like mittens.
He climbs up the tree to retrieve this trapped pet.
Terrified of heights, he faces his death.
But he rescues the cat, who scratches his face.
He remembers he should have been robbing the place.
His colleagues in crime don't fare any better.
One has to shampoo and groom a Red Setter.
Another has biscuits and sandwiches to choose,
And three cups of tea that he just can't refuse.
But one call is real. Kevin is sent
To an old country house. He's sorry he went.
The house is in darkness. While climbing the stairs,
A sad ghostly voice and this sentence he hears:
"I'm still not entirely sure where my shoes are."
Kevin turns 'round and heads straight for his car.
He vows to quit, a job he won't miss.
He never believed in ghosts before this.
Emma is happy the thieves spent their time
Devoted to things unrelated to crime.
With their new set of clothes their feet will be dryer.
And Kevin's been scared into joining a choir.