'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007
The hood of her rain coat is full of her head.
Her head is full of a plan to get thinner.
Her handbag is full of some rhubarb and bread
And a very small dog who is eating his dinner.
The dog is happy with Jenny's new scheme.
He'll get more food when she's eating less.
A handbag with rhubarb has been in his dream,
Along with a wolfhound who lives in Loch Ness.
It's just one of many new schemes she has planned,
Like building a glasshouse with bottles and tins.
The blueprints are there on the back of her hand.
The palm has a drawing of bulletproof bins.
On clear summer nights she looks up at the stars
Through a small telescope, outside her back door.
She pictures herself in a small house on Mars,
Her dog chasing small Martian mice 'round the floor.
When her next-door neighbour sees her he asks
If she's seen a Klingon through her telescope.
She tells him she's seen people wear Klingon masks.
These Klingons were with a man dressed as the Pope.
She's never been sure if his question's a joke.
Is he really weird, his brain badly wired?
Are there no fires in his head he could stoke?
She spoke to the young French au pair that he hired
To feed, bathe and clothe his numerous chickens.
She says that sometimes he wears odd socks for luck.
She dresses the chickens like characters from Dickens.
He talks in Dickensian ways, but they cluck.
Jenny's friend Judith is always in trouble.
She'll go to see Jenny, who'll think of a plan
To help sweep away metaphorical rubble
That often surrounds some unfortunate man.
And even though Jenny's well-meant interventions
Often go wrong and they both have to flee,
And normally involve outside funds and inventions,
They're more entertaining than watching TV.
When Jenny gets home with her dog, who's asleep,
Judith is waiting. She's nearly in tears.
She's stepped into trouble and this time it's deep.
She might have to claim to be German, she fears,
And wear a blond wig, and change her name,
Or hide in her house, spend all day in bed.
Earlier today in a basketball game,
With her tennis racket she hit someone's head.
The man that she hit has a minor concussion.
He plays the cello in a string quartet.
Jokingly she said that she plays percussion.
He heard her but he hasn't got that joke yet.
The quartet are scheduled to play in an hour,
But without a cellist they'll have to pull out.
The glare of the other three made Judith cower.
They said they'll sue her, and she's in no doubt
That they weren't joking. They obviously hate her.
Normally this is when Jenny would say,
"We'll need copper wire and a small detonator."
But sadly for her she can't say it today.
She hears a cello's beautiful rich tone.
She sighs and gives in to the obvious plan.
She goes to her neighbour and asks for a loan
Of his chickens' cellist. He says that she can.
So everything's sorted in just a few minutes,
With no entertainment, no chases till dawn.
For any over-dressed chicken or hen it's
Like any Dickensian day on the lawn.
But she gets to see scenes from Great Expectations
Performed by the chickens. The star is called Bess.
She lacks the real Mrs. Havisham's patience.
She's constantly pecking at her wedding dress.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
The Antelope Near Bantry Bay
There may be some collective word
But let's assume I saw a 'herd'
Of antelope near Bantry Bay.
They can't elope or sneak away.
They're stuck in fields with cows and sheep
To count until they fall asleep.
A simple life on someone's farm,
Enjoying West Cork's rural charm.
They tell the cows and sheep tall tales
Of sailing seas in fearsome gales,
Of killing lions, and tigers too.
They'd scare the sheep by saying 'boo'.
Their new owner's name is Ned.
He always keeps them warm and fed.
Each antelope is just a pet.
He bought them on the internet.
A man who lives a mile away,
Who owns some fields around the bay,
Bought fifteen monkeys months ago.
Each monkey's name, he doesn't know.
His neighbour, Ned, then felt a need
To buy some strange exotic breed
Of cattle or endangered sheep,
Too few to count to go to sleep.
He settled for the antelope.
His neighbour, Ron, can barely cope
With the way his monkeys act.
Once or twice he nearly cracked.
He wonders if they're all okay.
They do each other's hair each day,
And try each other's dresses on.
Their behaviour baffles Ron.
He doesn't know what tune they hum
Or where they got their dresses from.
Ned looks on with some delight.
The monkeys never drink or fight.
His manly antelope have brought
A sense of pride. He's glad he bought
These pets who never bark or moo.
And people pay to see them too.
He takes tour parties 'round his farm.
His comments always hint at harm.
"Those cows would kill, with half a chance.
At the very least they'd ruin your pants."
But people come to marvel at
The antelope, not cow nor cat.
Ron would rather hide his pets.
He wonders are there mental vets.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Henry and Joan
He goes to the shop to buy paper clips,
Past the fast-food place, the smell of the chips.
He gets a new pencil and staples as well,
And meets someone buying a bicycle bell.
She looks in his eyes and he looks in hers.
The slight condensation on their glasses blurs
Their view of each other. They both see a smile.
A warm conversation goes on for a while.
They become friends and they meet every day
To talk about books or to walk 'round the bay.
With others they mumble and stumble when speaking.
Together they find all the words they've been seeking.
Beautiful words flow in soft steady streams.
He tells her about all his well-thought-out dreams
Of owning a large tract of land on the moon,
And making his very own hot air balloon.
And she talks about an invention she's planned
That writes on a blackboard with a fake hand.
But they remain silent on feelings inside them,
Choosing instead to ignore them and hide them.
In fresh country air they walk, trek and hike.
With great self-control they're behaving just like
Their forebears before them before their forbearance
Gave way to desire that made their grandparents.
Desire keeps whispering softly in ears.
Sometimes it shouts or makes threats or just dares.
They play chess to forget, but that makes things worse.
He buys his own punch bag. He's started to curse.
Emotions can take control and then fade.
He launches a long and foul-mouthed tirade
Against his young sister's pet cactus called Matt.
It's wearing its waistcoat and small cowboy hat.
He doesn't know how he should make the first move.
The women he meets are like those in the Louvre.
They're faces in paintings protected by glass.
He fears his arrest if he just made a pass.
They're all Mona Lisas, remaining enigmas.
Some paintings show more; a tiny fig leaf has
The job of protecting some places from view.
He's still in the dark about what he should do.
One bright summer night outside her front gate,
They look at each other and patiently wait
For something to happen, and with some surprise
He takes off her glasses and looks in her eyes.
He feels he's alone late at night in a gallery,
Having left a respectable life with a salary
To be a cat burglar. He thinks that he's just
Removed the security glass on a bust
Or a beautiful painting. He feels full of daring,
But still in his mind he's constantly fearing
That one slight false move will set off the alarm.
All moves could be false when they're untouched by charm.
He looks in her eyes. They're switched to 'inviting'.
He sees all the signs but he can't read the writing.
A voice in his head says 'kiss her, you fool'.
He normally ignores its advice, as a rule.
It once said that he should wear a head band,
A look that the local style critics all panned.
But the latest advice seems to be sane.
They finally kiss and he thanks his own brain
For guiding him to this most welcome conclusion
Through all sorts of obstacles, traps and confusion.
He talks to the cactus later that night.
He says he is sorry; his words weren't right.
The cactus is wearing its favourite beret,
And it looks as if it's saying 'hooray!'
To Henry's good news, its arms in the air.
The voice in his head gives advice on his hair.
Friday, January 05, 2007
She lives in a picturesque house by the coast.
She sings a sweet song to the world when she wakes,
But the thing Mrs. Plantisglove loves doing most
Is trying out various ways to make cakes.
She's writing a recipe book and she hopes
That one day she'll look in a bookshop and see,
Amongst new releases on leaders and Popes,
A book she can point at and say, "That's by me."
And Mrs. O'Mara will see it there too
And say 'well done' or 'I'm pleased' or just 'yeah'.
She won't really mean it, but still it'll do.
Mrs. P's thanks will mean 'up yours' or 'ha!'.
A few years ago, on a weekend in June,
Mrs. P made her best cakes for a fete
In a village nearby on a bright afternoon,
But she just associates dark with the date.
She hoped to have sold all her cakes within minutes
To hungry young kids and to jaded old ladies
Who need something perfectly sweet till the gin hits.
They'd finish her cakes, unlike Mrs. O'Grady's.
But Mrs. O'Mara stepped over a line,
With marketing ploys that were certainly fake.
Over her stall she assembled a sign,
In big bright red letters, the words 'Crack Co-cake'.
She sold carrot cake and the odd apple pie.
They weren't that great, everyone agreed.
It was like at the flower show where no one knew why
Her flowers won a prize when her sign just said 'Weed'.
Her stall was emptied of cakes straightaway,
But she had some more in the back of a van.
She brought out more cakes throughout that June day.
Her marketing ploy was one part of a plan.
Everyone knew there was nothing illegal
Contained in the cakes, just flour, eggs and stuff,
But people became like a blood-thirsty beagle
Pursuing a fox with a tally-ho woof.
Poor Mrs. Plantisglove just sold a few.
Her customers were all extremely impressed.
One was a well-known TV chef who
Said that with cake-making talent she's blessed.
As she was preparing to leave for her house
A little Jack Russell got sick near her stall.
He'd probably eaten an out-of-date mouse,
Or eaten too much before chasing a ball.
But Mrs. P's image took a slight beating.
She made her own sign on the following year,
Depicting a smiling small dog who was eating
A beautiful cake which she painted with care.
But Mrs. O'Mara out-did her again
With her 'Birthday Suit Cake', as displayed on a sign
That showed a young woman wearing a grin.
If she wore clothes they were thinner than twine.