'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, March 29, 2007



Jack and Michelle tried to stay in the shade,
Except to play tennis. They sipped lemonade.
They followed the flight of a blue butterfly.
They spoke to Jemima. She filled her reply

With words and with tears all composed in her head.
They flowed to the ground as she broke up some bread
To feed to the ducks with their waterproof backs,
Something that she unmistakably lacks.

Salt water flows from her sad pale blue eyes
Whenever she speaks. Her words all wear sighs.
This time the cause of her tears was the man
Who had to make fun of her uneven tan.

This 'man' was called Malcolm, a species of louse.
Jack and Michelle went to visit his house
To call him some sort of a sod and a cad,
A coward full of crud and a pitiful ad

For a new modern man full of manners and grace.
With placards and banners they'd picket his base.
But Malcolm invited them in for a drink,
Locating, entirely by chance, the one chink

In the great armour they wore for this meeting
And cordial greeting and subsequent beating.
The beating was sadly delayed until after
The drinks and the cheerful remarks and the laughter.

He happened to mention a woman he knows
Who gets through the long summer days without clothes.
Instead she wears sheets and her feet live in sandals.
She brings smiles to faces of nihilist vandals.

Malcolm took Jack and Michelle to see her.
Clad in her bed clothes, she caused quite a stir.
She had on her head an abundance of hair,
Filled with wild flowers and sweet-scented air.

A warm, happy crowd gathered 'round her as she
Stood on a hill-side, content just to be.
Malcolm was happy to look at her smile,
Admiring her looks and impeccable style,

Until he saw someone approaching the hill,
A man with a beard who was itching to kill.
A ditch was the best place for Malcolm to hide,
Or else it's a grave with the date that he died.

He lives life with passion and pays little heed
To personal well-being. It's part of his creed.
A personal hell being a day doing nothing,
Just humming and hawing and if-ing and but-ing,

And endlessly beating about the thorn bush.
Dead engine days need a jump start or push.
Malcolm is happy to charge straight ahead
As soon as he wakes and he exits his bed.

Without exception, he says what he means.
It's not read from scripts for pre-prepared scenes.
He says it as soon as it enters his mind.
He can't press a button for 'pause' or 'rewind'.

His comments go straight to the heart of the nub.
He once told a farmer he met in a pub
That all of his cattle were terribly ugly.
The look in the eyes of his cows said 'please drug me'.

He once told a nun that his Nan could defeat her.
In wrestling, karate or judo she'd beat her.
And later he met her again and he said,
"Look out for a red laser beam on your head."

And all because this poor unfortunate nun
Looked at him sternly the time he made fun
Of a little dog's hat and its owner's new hair,
Comments which triggered the nun's icy glare.

He makes fun of people who wear fancy clothes.
He thinks that they're basically magpies or crows
Dressed up as parrots or paradise birds,
Though he can express this in far fewer words.

And often with people who out-stay their welcome,
Malcolm will happily hurriedly help them
Off to the exit by saying his brain
Needs the embrace of a gin bottle's rain

To ease the discomfort of their endless chatter.
He says their mind's scenery must surely be flatter
Than landscapes in Holland, without the windmills,
No items of interest to give their mind thrills.

He once met a woman as she played her part
In a mass protest. With all of her heart
She told him her reasons for being anti-war.
Malcolm responded with 'You shot JR'.

To which she reacted by hitting him with
The placard she carried. She called him a 'git'.
But she used a word with a similar effect.
You won't find it in a good dictionary -- I checked.

He often regrets these unthought interjections,
Like harmful political gaffes at elections,
Especially the ones that will do him more harm.
His skill to insult isn't balanced by charm.

His mouth often leads him to imminent fighting.
It can't lead him out. It won't say the right thing
After the wrong thing it said with such glee.
He has to rely on his fleet feet to flee.

They temporarily took him away
From the man with the beard at the end of a day,
Right after Malcolm had called him a 'ding'
For singing along to a love song by Sting.

The man with the beard stood up from his chair.
He was much taller and fiercer up there.
He relished a fight, and so Malcolm ran.
His policy to hide behind ditches began.

Both Jack and Michelle were well able to guess
The reason for Malcolm's despair and distress.
When his bearded enemy came to the hill,
Michelle told him Malcolm was seen at the mill.

He thanked her and left with a smile on his face.
Malcolm emerged from his safe hiding place.
He thanked her and told her he owed her a favour.
She cast his mind back to the drink that he gave her.

So they called it quits. They put it to bed.
With her tennis racket she hit him and said,
"That's for Jemima. You shouldn't have told her
Her tan had retreated to camp on her shoulder."

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Fred's Film

A film crew hid in a shed with no light.
They hoped to find birds they could shoot before night,
But not with their shotguns, machine guns or tanks.
Instead it's like film cameras shooting Tom Hanks.

They stared at a tree and they tried to stay still.
Hours of inaction eroded their will
To stare at a tree that refuses to act.
They'd rather see Beckett or Brecht, so they backed

Out of their plans to film the birds.
They'd try to shoot something with action and words.
Fred, the director, led them away
Through fields outside town where they'd wander and stray

In search of some incident worthy of shooting,
Some interesting people or curious new thing.
They came across people who stood in a field,
Content to just wait for what fate or God dealed.

One or two people mistook them for statues.
A woman nearby, who makes and sells cat shoes,
Thought they were mimes who need an idea,
Awaiting assembly like shelves from Ikea.

A bird came to perch on the shoulder of one.
She smiled at first. Then a man with a gun
Aimed for the bird who stood next to her head.
Before the first shot she was rescued by Fred,

Who frightened away the man who was armed.
Smiles were restored. No creatures were harmed
During the making of this simple verse.
No humans or animals left in a hearse.

No limbs, claws or paws were put in a sling.
No pets were prevented from playing with string,
Apart from the cat who believed her new shoes
Did more than protect her four paws from a bruise.

She thought she could fly, and walk over water.
She first tried the former, and Fred would have caught her
But that's when he noticed the bird on the shoulder.
A strange 'meow' followed. The cat's owner told her

Not to believe that the shoes gave her powers.
Just Jesus and Superman jump off of towers.
But it was too late then, after the jump,
And the high-pitched 'meow' and the cat-landing thump.

The cat got a cast on her favourite paw.
Her match with the string was declared a score-draw,
Which angered spectators who'd gathered to see it.
They had to drive home in a small yellow Fiat,

Which secretly angered them more than the missing
Of cat versus string followed by post-match kissing.
That's kissing each other, not kissing the feline.
Boyfriend and girlfriend who've both made a beeline

For some sheltered place where the lighting is dim.
Fred would have filmed it, if they'd have let him.
He now had a taste for some action and drama.
He muffled the sound of his mind's Dalai Lama.

He'd rather film fighting than birds in the trees.
He'd only film birds in conjunction with bees.
He'd have to keep looking or set up a stunt.
The cat was curtailed from her tricks for a month.

So Fred and his film crew walked on again.
Fate dealt a hand that seemed certain to win.
They came across people who recreate battles.
They act out the great fatal blows and death rattles.

They wear filthy rags and they carry pitch forks.
They entered this world years ago via storks,
But now they all look like they're set to depart,
Sent back to God by hot lead in the heart.

They'd love a good fight, but there's only one side.
They can't find a suitable groom for this bride.
None of them there want to be with the Brits.
Each one denies that the uniform fits.

And so all the light bulbs in their fight club heads
Grow dim as the day leads them nearer their beds.
They act out their deaths to invisible hands,
While others enact the lacklustre last stands.

Some of them only attend for the chance
To drink or to walk through the fields without pants.
When Fred saw the battle he thought it looked odd.
It seemed there's a practical joker in God.

As he was preparing to leave with his crew,
From over the hill there appeared a crowd who
Were dressed up as cowboys and Indians and
They were intent on reclaiming their land.

They'd waited since Easter for this type of weather
To film their Western called 'They're Getting Deader'.
They asked all the men with the pitch forks to go
So they could film there, but the chance of a foe

Made the fork-armed recreationist club
Reject any plans for retreat to the pub.
They all stood their ground and a battle ensued.
Strategies were either absent or crude.

Cowboys and Indians fought side by side,
At last a fit groom for a dangerous bride.
Fred filmed it all, but it wasn't that great.
'Stick with the birds' was the message of fate.

No humans were harmed in the battle above.
The symbol of peace, the single white dove,
Felt slightly unhealthy with each fake blood spill.
They often meet up to stage fights on the hill.

Thursday, March 15, 2007



Felix and Joe
  Went to visit a friend,
A man called Jerome
  Who was still on the mend

After a jump from
  The roof of his shed.
To try to get rid of
  'The Lady in Red'

From his mind's radio.
  The DJ up there
Kept playing it under
  The roof of his hair.

They stayed for an hour.
  Gone were the moans.
The DJ was playing
  The Beatles and Stones.

They made their way home
  Down quiet country lanes.
And whistled the tunes
  Being played in their brains.

Clouds filled the sky
  And night was encroaching.
Out of the darkness
  A man was approaching.

This menacing sight
  Brought a halt their feet,
In fear that O'Leary
  And they would soon meet.

They owed him some money,
  And anyone sane
Would have paid, or delayed
  If they wanted to drain

The blood from their bodies
  Through small bullet holes,
And gain a few bullets,
  New pet metal moles.

But Felix and Joe
  Had decided against
Paying the money
  Or being past-tensed

By a man who'd act,
  Without thinking twice,
On his brain's unanimous
  'Shoot them' advice.

Their plan was to hide
  From O'Leary until
He's sent to the past
  Via Death's fearsome chill,

And maybe hell's grill.
  Then they'll be free.
They'll live with a laugh
  When he ceases to be.

So when they saw someone
  Ahead on the road,
They stopped to consider
  How well does it bode.

The sight of the shotgun
  Is what made them run.
They knew who it was
  At the sound of the gun.

The chase went on for
  Two days and a half.
Fear and O'Leary's
  Maniacal laugh

Is what drove them on
  Through a natural maze,
Chased by a man
  In the grip of a craze.

Felix and Joe sought
  The shelter of trees.
The safety of forestry
  Put them at ease.

There in the darkest
  Of all neighbourhoods
They came to a house
  In the depths of the woods,

Where a party was falling,
  Down it was going.
Drink, blood and tears
  Were constantly flowing.

No one was there for
  Some tea and a chat.
A man had the head of
  A wolf as a hat,

And a look in his eye
  That could leave a man dead
With a leak in his back
  Or a crack in his head

And a lock on his talk
  Till he gets to the gates,
The white ones where Peter
  Decides people's fates.

The revellers there
  Were all going to hell.
Their moral well-being
  Was staying unwell.

A truth that both Felix
  And Joe could perceive.
They joined in the revellery
  Rather than leave.

Two flailing legs
  Rose out of a bin.
A man had a bright red
  Balloon and a pin.

He stuck the pin into
  The side of his head.
It seemed to make sense
  That what flowed out was red.

But he looked confused
  As he thought about how
Instead of a burst
  The balloon had said 'ow'.

The floor was a carpet
  Of splinters and glass.
The carpet was out in
  The back on the grass.

A woman was dancing
  With someone on fire.
He had to sit down when
  He started to tire.

The band were hand-picked
  By a panel of judges
Infected by evil;
  They bore the world grudges,

But not quite as evil
  As those TV shows
Where judges choose music
  To torture their foes.

This band were playing
  Some old Irish songs.
No one would handle
  Their clothes without tongs.

The fire in their eyes
  Brought fear to their glare.
Something was living
  In their singer's hair,

Which partially balanced
  The strong sense of death.
They reeked of decay.
  Their insides were wet

With the moonshine contained
  In an old metal bath.
The smell of the drink
  Had just poisoned a cat.

Felix and Joe
  Had to sit down to rest
Before they fulfilled
  The role of a guest.

They drank and they fought,
  Despite feeling weary,
Until the front window
  Displayed an O'Leary.

They left through the back
  And they ran through the trees,
In fear that they'd soon have
  More holes than Swiss cheese.

Through branches above
  They could see points of light.
The stars made them feel
  All alone in their plight.

The pin points of light
  Were all so far away.
Hope seemed as distant
  As brightness of day.

But then a faint light
  Seemed to flicker ahead.
A faint spark of life
  In a night that seemed dead.

They ran to the flame
  Till they came to a clearing.
They saw a small fire
  That left them both fearing

They'd stepped from the frying pan
  Into the fire,
Sailing down straits
  That appeared to be dire.

The wolf man they'd seen
  At the party before
Was there at the fire
  Like a guard at hell's door.

The eyes of the wolf
  Were lit up by the flame.
Joe had to ask
  If the wolf had a name.

"We're both known as Conrad,"
  He said in a voice
From lungs with enough
  Attic space to house mice.

"I killed him myself
  In the stark German hills,
When I travelled there
  For the action and thrills

"Of the European Championship
  In eighty-eight,
Supporting our soccer team,
  Cursing their fate

"When a late lucky goal
  By Wim Kieft put them out.
Those great glory days
  Have dried up in a drought."

O'Leary arrived
  And he surveyed the scene.
The state of his clothes made
  Him look fierce and mean.

The look on his face
  Made the future seem grim.
The man with the wolf
  On his head said to him,

"Look in my eyes,
  Or else leave this place.
Choosing the latter
  Will trigger a chase

"Where you'll be the prey
  And we'll all place a bet.
You'll pray to your God
  For a natural Death."

O'Leary looked into
  The eyes of the man,
And saw the lost son
  Of a curious clan.

He looked at the eyes
  Of the wolf on his head.
And smiled and backed away
  Slowly and fled.

The eyes of the wolf
  Looked exactly like those
Of the man underneath
  In the wolf's fearsome clothes.

Felix and Joe and
  The wolf man returned
To the house in the woods
  Where festivities burned

For another few days
  While debauchery lorded.
They drank to erase
  What their senses recorded.

Felix and Joe met
  O'Leary next week,
Right after mass.
  He struggled to speak.

But people were looking.
  They listened to him.
In terror he thought
  He'd look cowardly and dim.

"Give me my money,"
  He said with a tremor.
Onlookers wondered
  Was this really him or

A long lost twin brother
  Afraid of the world,
Hidden away,
  Only rarely unfurled.

Felix and Joe
  Entered sympathy mode.
In pity they paid
  The five euros they owed.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Mrs. S and the Leprechaun

Mrs. S says 'hi' and 'bye'
And 'bee' and 'hive' and 'I' and 'have'
And 'They behave because of my
Endless tales of days with Gav'.

Gav is Gavin, Mr. S.
He whistles as he walks to work.
He's blessed with health, not cursed by stress.
He'd like to change his name to Dirk,

And get to jump from moving cars,
Or fight some evil nemesis,
And hang out with the movie stars.
With some he'd share a long screen kiss.

It's just a minor dream of his.
He loves his wife and all her bees,
Even those who make him diz.
She's their ruler and their knees.

With fondness she relates the tales
Of summer days outdoors with Gavin,
Of hiking in the hills and dales,
Of getting lost in Meath or Cavan.

And walking through the countryside
As the moon comes out above,
And finding some dark place to hide,
To hear the happy sounds of love.

They hid each time they heard the sound
Of skipping footsteps on the road,
Leprechauns who're westward-bound,
Tipping top hats, whistling code

To all the birds in nearby trees.
They say they're off to meet their date,
Hence the hat, new socks to knees,
Sure to charm a future mate.

One time Gav and Mrs. S
Met a leprechaun by chance.
The meeting brought him fear and stress,
Which showed itself in his short dance.

He nearly dropped the flowers he found
In a garden he had passed.
When both his feet had touched the ground
He said he's just one of the cast

Of a film that's being shot
In the countryside nearby.
He said he didn't have a pot
Of gold or even home-made rye.

Gav asked if they need someone
To jump from cars or throw grenades,
Maybe dressed up as a nun,
Concealing guns and deadly blades.

But Mrs. S saw through the ruse.
She said they had no interest in
The pot of gold or home-made booze.
She used her re-assuring grin.

The leprechaun admitted that
He's just a leprechaun about
To meet his date, hence the hat
And blue cravat and silver trout.

The flowers were for a pig she liked.
It's like a fat cat without fur.
Over many hills he'd hiked
To steal this frozen fish for her.

Mrs. S gave this suggestion:
"Give the flowers to her instead.
Even pigs get indigestion.
With the fish he'll be well fed."

This advice worked perfectly.
He didn't need his begging 'please'.
To say thanks to his teacher he
Gave her powers to talk to bees.

She believes that her bee hives
Are full of bees who love to hear
The tales of hers and Gavin's lives.
For bees it's like Macbeth or Lear.

Some would say the sudden silence
Is because they fall asleep,
A brief respite from flight and violence,
From making people scream and weep,

Things that Gav would like to do
In a film where he's a spy,
With no cliches; it's fresh and new.
The title would begin with 'Die'.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Charlie Goes to Sue's House

I went to see Sue.
Sue, I saw.
She saw me too.
I shook her dog's paw.

I meant to say, "Sue,
Jane thinks I'm thick.
So what will I do?
There must be some trick."

But we went to see John,
And John saw us.
He said Anne had gone
To the sea on a bus.

I said, "I remember
What I meant to say.
Anne thinks September
Is like a great play,

"With music and dance,
The gold wind-borne leaves.
In the choices of chance
And its dice, she believes.

"And she says that's why
It's the right time of year
To sing at the sky,
Let heads swim in beer,

"And bodies can spin
And swing to the sound,
A head-to-toe grin
Till they fall to the ground,

"And play the piano,
Each note brings a thrill,
And keep saying 'Ah no.
Alright. Yes I will'

"When someone comes round
With a bottle of something,
Or some golden sound
Invites you to hum/sing.

"Chocolates and humbugs,
Desserts from the fridges.
The scumbags have some drugs.
She'll give them ham sandwiches.

"And someone with eyes
Asks you out for a roll.
You'll hide your surprise.
Your self you'll control

"With simple commands,
Like 'down', 'sit' and 'stay',
And as for your hands
They'll be let out to play

"If they behave.
They might come in handy.
One is called Dave
And the other is Andy.

"But rolling in hay
Or in fields of wild flowers
With a woman who'll stay
To make minutes of hours

"Can make 'down' and 'sit'
Seem unwise and uncool.
She'd see that she's with
The dead eyes of a fool.

"So Dave and his brother
Are let off their leashes,
Exploring some other
World, finding their niches.

"It's love, it seems.
It's part of life's sport,
Where people form teams
And play on a court.

"They court when they play.
They meet friends and parents.
On hardcourt or clay
The family's clearance

"Is part of the path
To their dream wedding mass.
You must wear a top hat
When playing on grass.

"In just a few years
You'll be in your own house.
Hopes replace fears
In a team with your spouse.

"You sit with your wife
In the warm evening sun,
Drifting from life
Until this day is done.

"The cupboard of troubles
Is just about bare.
You're blowing speech bubbles
Through sweet evening air.

"Gentle tender words
In delicate, transparent globes,
Softer than the song of birds,
Floating on towards ear lobes,

"Whispered words to make her laugh,
Like blowing softly in her ear.
Her perfect brain's hard-working staff
Light up the eyes that fill her stare.

"Some bubbles will hold
The sharp little shards
Of her words in bold
That you won't find on cards.

"They'll burst, and between you
And her there's a border.
'Thick' and 'I think you'
And 'are' in some order

"Can kill any mood,
Divide groom and bride.
So despite the great food
I'm going to avoid

"The party that Anne
Is having next week.
She should face a ban
For being so bleak."

We went to see Jack.
He said hello.
He'd just come back
From where he meant to go.

But he forgot why
He went there at all.
He said with a sigh,
"I should give Maeve a call."

We all went as well.
Sometimes she's a bore.
When I rang the bell
Jane opened the door.

I felt I should fly
From those eyes of deep blue.
She smiled and said 'hi'.
I just said 'you',

And then 'think I'm thick',
Which she didn't hear.
The sound of a brick
Meeting glass filled the air.

The sound had its source
At the back of the house.
With the sense of a horse
And the stealth of a mouse

I walked through the hall,
With the others in tow.
My aim was the fall
Of a criminal foe.

But it was just Maeve.
She lost her house key.
A smile and a wave
And she said she'd make tea.

She said, "I forgot
That Jane was inside.
My brain is a dot
And it's happy to hide."

Jane said in my ear,
"You were so brave."
I said there's no fear
Behind Andy and Dave.

We went to Anne's party
And all I remember
Is that at the start she
Said she loved September.

We got very drunk,
So hooray. I mean boo!
I felt that I'd sunk.
But the sky is still blue.

The Autumn's enchanting.
I meet Jane each day.
It's a number-one-fan thing.
We'd roll in the hay

If we had some hay
That's suitable for rolling.
Instead we might stay
Safe inside, just extolling

Virtues and features.
Young future wives
And husbands are teachers
Of each other's lives.

We're still only courting,
The start of the set.
It's more than just sporting.
I won't place a bet.

We'll get drunk on gin,
Say 'boo' and 'hooray',
And do it again
On the following day.

She'll be a real catch,
And I should stay alive
If our personal match
Is just three sets, not five.

Very Slight Stories

Henry Seaward-Shannon

The East Cork Patents Office

The Tree and the Horse


Words are my favourite noises

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Pretty Cunning

The Dossing Times


Cruiskeen Eile
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The Chancer

Sinead Gleeson



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A Walk in the Rain

 | poetry from Ireland

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