'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, November 30, 2006



Through memories the past is near,
A party in the open air,
A sweetly-scented summer land,
A star-lit night to proudly stand

With Charlotte in her starring role,
A stair-lift for my grounded soul,
A sight for any camera lens,
Dressed up to the nines or tens.

And I was only five at best,
Or barely four because my vest
Made its presence known in smell.
Its scent launched flares and rang a bell.

She looked beautiful at night,
Dazzling in electric light.
I looked like something gone from good.
Like darkness in her light, I stood.

An early version of a man
Who's strayed from caves that house his clan.
Somewhere in these memories
I spoke at length with growing ease.

A sparkling stream of charm began
To flow straight from this mountain man.
I spoke of playing clarinet,
And clarinettists I have met,

And playing high-pitched panic notes,
A medly of my anecdotes
That may be badly told and dull
But still my words can shock or lull.

I've trained my words to do some tricks.
They can't play dead or fetch thrown sticks.
But they can tickle minds and ears,
Bring dazzling smiles and straighten hairs.

The way I said the short word 'shed'
Made her laugh and nod her head.
My 'pleasantly' brought some surprise
And made her look deep in my eyes.

We danced in moonlight's soft white stare.
She moved with the grace of a bird in the air.
I moved with the style of a bird on the ground,
A crow who works to walk around.

I wondered what bright thoughts I'd find
If I could only read her mind.
In her smile I saw a clue.
She leaned a little closer too,

And whispered softly in my ear
In words that I could barely hear.
"Your flies are undone," is what she said.
It killed the mood within my head.

As light as day is dark and night is bright.
In other words, as dark as night.
My silent stare said all I had to say.
In other words, I ran away.

I went to drink and turn off thought.
I found the brandy that I brought,
A perfect place to slowly sink,
But just before I'd poured the drink

She found me with my bottled find.
She said she really doesn't mind
About the way I wear my clothes.
She liked my trousers' carefree pose.

She also had one small request,
Unrelated to the way I dressed.
She wanted me to say a word
That's like a brightly coloured bird

That flies and sings within her head.
The word was 'symphony', she said.
So I performed that word for her.
She made a sound quite like a purr.

When I said 'sand' she smiled at me.
She laughed a lot at 'estuary'.
'Piano' made her blush and blink.
'Penguin' made her stop and think.

With words like 'kissing' and 'elope'
I cast my fishing line and hope
A word that falls from up above
Will make her feel the warmth of love.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Viking Blood

Eugene and Emma have been going out
For over five years, without any doubt
That they'd be together for many years more,
With long and identical decades in store.

They often see bust-ups at bus stops while waiting
For the last bus. The pitfalls of dating
Are there to be seen on a typical street
Where soon-to-be-parted young couples will meet.

Eugene can laugh at romance's great whirlwind.
He's never come close to a fight with his girlfriend.
So he's shocked when she says they'll be better apart,
And moves all his furniture out of her heart.

While drowning his sorrows in dimly-lit pubs,
In clothes out of fashion since Crockett and Tubbs,
He meets a new Emma, resplendent in red.
He asks her into the house in his head.

Her name is Diane. She loves this green land.
She used to play drums in a nationalist band,
With sad songs of martyrs in Her Majesty's court.
If nationalism became an Olympic sport

She could do it for her country and win.
Or fight till defeat to the Brits once again.
Despite the political views she expresses
He loves her good looks and the way that she dresses.

He's proud to be seen in the midst of her presence.
She makes other people seem like unwashed peasants.
All of his friends seek his dating advice.
He uses two words: Miami Vice.

But then he meets Emma who's drowning in tears.
She's made a terrible error, she fears.
She asks if he'll think about taking her back.
Since he departed her days have been black.

She misses the grey that he brought to her life.
She sees a bright future with him as his wife.
Things lead to other things, unaided by thinking.
They get back together while Eugene's still blinking.

Unsure of what happened and what's to be done.
Diane would have friends who could get her a gun.
Who should he leave? He faces this bind.
Often when women appear in his mind

He likes to portray them in bright beauty pageants.
The swimsuits are gone when one day he imagines
An axis of ex's with axes and crossbows,
Gleefully making new worries and woes.

He wants to avoid all the pain and distress
That comes with a couple becoming one less.
And even though three minus one still leaves two,
He can't help believing it's just one too few.

To cut a long story to neat little pieces,
Arranging them into a moral or thesis,
He manages to keep both relationships going.
His girlfriends show little or no signs of knowing

That they have a rival, a true counterpart.
They're on different floors in the house in his heart.
But Eugene's worries and woes only grow.
Some things about Di he'd rather not know.

She has Viking blood, and just like the Hulk
Sometimes she explodes. Though lacking his bulk
She still inspires fear and instils a dark terror.
All anti-Irish remarks are an error.

To make fun of Norway would be a grave blunder.
It opens the door to her pillage and plunder.
Eugene now misses those old carefree days,
Together with Emma, shrouded in greys.

He needs to escape from Diane's Viking clutches,
To walk away quietly unaided by crutches.
His plan to achieve this particular goal
Is to say he's a pacifist deep in his soul.

She smiles when he tells her about this belief.
She says she agrees and that life is too brief
To be playing with things that would shorten its span.
All weapons should meet with a well-deserved ban.

She shares his pacifist sentiments completely,
Which seems to tie them together quite neatly.
But still she dumps him. She says that his views
Would hinder the work of her very short fuse.

She can't have him always objecting to fighting,
And saying that violence is rarely the right thing.
He's glad to be back with his Emma once more.
She has to one key to his heart's grey front door.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Playing Golf

Doing things, living life,
Going places, wearing sweaters,
Looking cool in calm or strife,
And being the 'go' type of getters.

We'll be the hardest sort of hitters
When we need to be that way.
When we're hiring baby-sitters
We're full of life, and light as day.

When we're firing those who seem
To be the bull-est of all sitters,
So full of it they'd fill a team,
Then we're snarling angry critters.

When we're playing golf we'll be
Somewhere in between those poles.
Seething anger, you won't see.
We'll never fight like drunken proles.

But sometimes tensions overflow,
Like once while on a long par five.
My playing partner blamed a crow
For blatant cheating with his drive.

He found the heavy rough in trees.
He blamed the cold I always bring.
He claimed that I had timed my sneeze
To coincide with his back swing.

With feigned surprise he found his ball
On the fairway, near the green.
The spot was nowhere near at all
To where I thought the ball had been.

He said a crow had picked it up,
And flown away, and dropped it here.
And yes, it's closer to the cup.
He'd warned the crow. He'd made it clear

That he opposed these interventions,
Even if it helped his cause.
I doubt that he'd reject intentions
Of his small black Santa Claus.

I accused him there of cheating.
He said I sneezed to great effect.
He obviously deserved a beating,
But I chose wit and intellect.

When his wife's two eyebrows wake
And find themselves upon her face,
They never hesitate to make
Their way to some less open place.

They like the safety of her hair.
It's where they seem to be at home.
She'll always find them hiding there.
She tells them that they shouldn't roam.

When they're on their merry way
From their beds above her eyes,
She could be sad or sunshine's ray,
But still her face will show surprise.

Sometimes one of them will leave
Before the other one has woken.
She looks as if she can't believe
A word of what has just been spoken.

I thought of her. I said she'd be
Surprised to hear about the crow.
He swung his pitching wedge at me.
This life-long friend became a foe.

So began our par-five fight,
Which soon descended to a brawl.
But in the pub that very night
We drank and laughed about it all.

The main thing to remember here
Is that we fought before the drink.
It lacks class to get drunk on beer
And then to fight, and then to think.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The Match-Makers

A small country church in July,
  A perfect blue dome up above,
A couple about to be married.
  They're brought together by love.

Or by robots who say 'Get together!'
  In loud and frightening voices.
They've started a match-making business.
  Their clients have limited choices.

They started their service last summer,
  Sure of their match-making skills.
They'd already practised on cats.
  They promised a match without frills.

Just to be sure they were right,
  They sent the first couple they made
Off on a caravan trip,
  Before the match-makers were paid.

They'd easily manage a marriage
  If they lasted a week in a caravan,
As long as the week didn't feel
  Like being confined with the Taliban.

Neither could speak to each other
  When they returned from their trip.
The robots saw this as success.
  One of them learnt how to skip.

After they'd made this first match
  They knew they'd always be right.
They'd choose an appropriate partner,
  And then make the couple unite.

Joe used their match-making service.
  His love-life had come to a stop.
The robots brought him together
  With a lamp that they met in a shop.

They said that she rarely falls over,
  A quality that all men admire.
She's quiet, and they said she's unlikely
  To start an electrical fire.

Joe wanted someone more human,
  A woman with ears, nose and eyes.
But he was too scared to object.
  His love-life would end if he dies.

He always aspired to look happy
  When the two robots were near.
He'd put his right arm 'round the lamp.
  His smile would say 'love' and not 'fear'.

One evening when he was out walking
  He met someone human and female.
He said her beauty is visible from space
  And by people on earth who read braille.

They went for a drink and went dancing.
  A love built in hours, unlike Rome.
But he couldn't help thinking he's cheating
  On the poor table lamp back at home.

So he assumed match-making duties.
  He bought a new lamp, a companion
For his old lamp. He brought them together.
  Their love would light up the Grand Canyon.

The love of both couples shines brightly.
  It's brighter when light bulbs are dim.
If the robots ask why they parted,
  He'll say the lamp cheated on him.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Chalk Outlines

Hugo is clever. He seamlessly blends
In with his young intellectual friends.
They meet in cafés and they talk about books.
He styles his hair to enhance his good looks,

Wears thick black-rimmed glasses,
Attracts tall, thin lasses
Who wear contact lenses and stare and look smart
And have controversial opinions on art.

His tall and thin girlfriend made drawings in chalk,
Outlines of people where more people walk.
A comment, she said, on a culture of death.
She added in glasses and shoes for a bet.

He saw in each outline an unfinished portrait.
A five-year-old child would consider them fourth-rate,
But still he could see an attempt to convey
His premature end in a sad violent way.

The glasses in each of her drawings were always
Just like his own. On pavements or hallways
He saw himself drawn and was always struck dumb
By her clear vision of what he'd become.

He started to notice a look in her eyes.
It once seemed no more than a mere mild surprise.
He saw something dangerously wild in that look,
A stare from the page of a dark true-crime book.

He tried to be nice. He took her to dinner.
At humouring killers he's still a beginner.
The unwanted thought that he'd soon be a gonner
Made him heap praise and small presents upon her.

He took her to plays that would leave an impression
Of happiness rather than death and depression.
He tried to refrain from the habits he had.
Some of the worst could be said to be bad.

Smoking, he quit. He cut down on drinking.
Bikini-clad women were banned from his thinking
In case she could read what went on in his head,
Which may well explain why she pictured him dead.

She thought that these changes were just an illusion.
Her thoughts always led her to one sad conclusion:
That he's up to something he shouldn't be doing.
Her drawings of death's aftermath kept accruing,

And so were the presents. Suspicions were growing.
She couldn't stand idly by without knowing.
One night he left her to visit a friend,
Despite the great lightning that spoke of The End.

She followed him to an old house on a street
Where only the bravest of spirits would meet.
He rang the front doorbell and then went inside.
The rising rain water resembled a tide.

She went round the back where she met a green bin.
The door was unlocked and she made her way in.
The house was in darkness, the power lines down.
Mere candles fought darkness in this part of town.

She tried to stay quiet as she went through the house.
She moved with such stealth she'd surprise a sharp mouse.
Hugo descended the stairs to the hall.
Lightning lit up a dark shape by the wall.

He stood where he was, frozen in fear.
Another bright flash and it all became clear.
He saw the dark raincoat and hat and the face.
His death-inspired girlfriend had come to this place.

He'd rather not mention his screaming and fainting.
He screamed like a man. He says that's the main thing.
When he came round, the lights were back on.
She was still there but his fear had now gone.

She seemed so deeply concerned about him.
The murderous light in her eyes became dim.
He managed to ease her suspicions about
His recent renewal, erasing all doubt.

He got to his feet. They made up and kissed.
That's when he noticed a detail he'd missed.
She'd drawn on the ground, around where he lay,
His outline in chalk. He struggled to stay

Standing upright. He needed a crutch.
She drew in the glasses, the finishing touch.
Beneath the thick glasses she added a smile,
A sudden departure from her normal style.

He smiled at this welcoming change in her art.
The smile on the ground brought warmth to his heart.
No longer afraid, he only felt love
As he looked on his faint ghostly self from above.

He went back to drinking, with immediate effect.
He stopped only thinking about Berthold Brecht.
He stayed off the smoking, a hobby he'll miss.
He's taken up swearing to make up for this.

Very Slight Stories

Henry Seaward-Shannon

The East Cork Patents Office

The Tree and the Horse


Words are my favourite noises

Previous Poems

Poems from 2004
Poems from 2005



Gizmo's (Non)sense

Pretty Cunning

The Dossing Times


Cruiskeen Eile
Kevin Myers' blog (sorry, Colonel Kevin Myers).

The Chancer

Sinead Gleeson



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A Walk in the Rain

 | poetry from Ireland

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