'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
Click here to buy the paperback or download the ebook for free.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Art of Seduction

Alan is a student
Of seduction's subtle art.
He's intelligent and prudent
And he's never short of heart.

But he always seems to stumble
When the theories come to practise.
Each pass becomes a fumble
And he's treated like a cactus.

He used his best techniques
On an architect called Grace,
But according to press leaks
Nothing news-worthy took place.

A little birdie whispered,
A homing pigeon said,
"If you want the thoughts of this bird
You should feed her bits of bread."

He didn't need that thought.
He hid it in his head.
The artistry he sought
Was displayed by Uncle Fred.

His uncle is avuncular,
Producing cheerful prose.
When he's slightly drunkular
His words wear fancy clothes.

He slurs and spells his words
With an extra syllable
Under circling stars and birds
He's still intelligilable.

Alan watches closely
At a party well advanced,
Where his uncle's words are mostly
Alcoholically enhanced.

Standing tall and angular
Above the lovely Deb.
His well-dressed words entangle her
In his charm's fine web.

Deb has left her 'orah'
With her overcoat tonight.
He can only say 'hoorah'
At the way her words dress light.

The aura she is elegantly
Wearing all around her
Would make car lovers sell a Bentley
Just so they could hound her

With the most expensive gifts,
Like a trip to Monte Carlo,
Or a string quartet in lifts,
Or a poodle for her scarecrow.

But nothing they could buy her
Would distract her from the gaze
That has set her heart on fire
And has switched her head to 'daze'.

According to the pigeon
This devotion's not irregular.
It's almost a religion
But he says it's strictly secular.

They're parted for a minute
When he goes to get more booze,
An eternity, and in it
Alan gets his uncle's views

On how to be a weaver
Of a web that is enveloping
And not sound like a cleaver
On a violin or cello string.

His uncle is emphatic:
"Leave your studying behind.
Put your textbooks in the attic.
Say whatever comes to mind.

"If you have to think you'll err.
Let instinct be your God.
Let one seductive wink rule her,
The string to make her nod."

It seems like sound advice,
And he sees an opportunity
To try it and entice
Someone special into unity.

There's a woman by the window
Who he hasn't met before.
He lets his favourite grin show
As he sidles 'cross the floor.

There's a mental pool of words.
Some are in their best attire.
They've formed a line like birds
On an overhead phone wire.

Without thought interfering
They're released into the wild.
He says, "I ate a key ring
When I was just a child."

Doubt's army in his head
Is already laying siege on
His confidence's garden shed.
But she just speaks Norwegian.

Her smile defeats all doubt,
Without a death or hostage.
All his stories are let out,
Like the time he fought an ostrich.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


A Wonderful World

Jen loves life. She smiles a lot.
In every grey annoying moth
She sees a future butterfly,
And life in all she passes by.

Kids on bikes go round and round,
Making their 'I break things' sound,
About to break a window with
A stone they throw, a direct hit.

She loves the sound. She likes to think
That all the local teens will drink
To leave the glass for kids to break.
A symphony of sound they'll make.

They go to bed before it's late.
Skinheads live for love, not hate.
They're really only Buddhist monks.
The town's most famous maddest drunks

Are merely high on life's sweet scent.
They all could be the new Clark Kent,
A change of clothes away from being
A Boeing man who's floating, fleeing,

Flying through the evening sky.
It's not an alcoholic high.
Far above electric wires,
Their engines run on inner fires.

The litter is confused confetti
From the day when Al and Betty
Said 'I do' and wore the rings
And said 'no way' to pointless flings.

The heated arguments on streets
Are just debates on Yeats or Keats.
They act out scenes from Ulysses,
And fight about their favourite cheese.

The gun acquired by some known gang
Will just release a scroll with 'Bang',
Like a small dog's sudden bark,
With an exclamation mark.

And gangs will meet in their tree house.
They'll have a cat or dog called 'Mouse'.
They dress as cowboys, Indians and
As pirates sick of life on land.

Evil can be swamped by good
Within a head beneath a hood.
Hidden teens are made to flower
By country walks and nature's power,

And vandals led to right their wrongs
By men in sandals singing songs
About the joy of holding hands
And taking life-enhancing stands

Against the joys of doing more
Than dancing on a well-lit floor
And holding hands with who you've dated.
The other thing is over-rated.

The city's crime is just a fad.
The criminals aren't half as bad
As those exposed by Nancy Drew,
But sometimes Jen's rose-tinted view

Falters when she looks at Steve.
Her mind's cheerleaders always leave.
If they were real he'd have some line
To make them knee him in the groin.

He swears a lot and wears a sneer
That frightens birds and distant deer.
He'll be a bore with tales about
The things he put inside his mouth.

He's not her knight in shining armour,
Defending her from what would harm her.
He says he's up for any fight.
In truth he'd hide or run in fright.

He's a rapper, so he claims.
He says his rhymes are oral flames.
But Flipper's sounds were more like rap
Than those from Steven's oral tap.

Water flows, not words on fire.
He spits a lot. He'll quickly tire.
He'll turn the tap off for a rest.
Without his cap he'll feel undressed.

Without his clothes he'll never feel
He's somehow failed to keep it real.
He'll often feel a need to lose
His clothes while full of foreign booze.

He's never full for very long.
The tap will sing its liquid song,
Evacuating what he drinks.
It's better than his rap, she thinks.

She admits sometimes it seems
He's not the boyfriend of her dreams.
And in her dreams at night she sees
Great white sharks and killer bees.

She wonders are these scenes a sign
Telling her to un-entwine
Her future fate from that of Steve.
To put it simply: she should leave.

But other times she's in no doubt
A butterfly is breaking out.
She sees it in the smile he tries
His best to hide, and when he cries.

And she'll be there to help him through
The painless birth of someone new.
He'll leave his moth-like clothes behind
And let her decorate his mind.

'The Tree and the Horse' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
It's available in paperback or as an ebook.
Click here to read the first two chapters.
Click here to buy the book.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Opposites Attract

I like taking free kicks and heading the ball.
I tripped on a step once and headed a wall.
I didn't like that, but I was okay.
Sometimes it affects what I vampire bat say.

I once was persuaded to try a blind date
With a very attractive young woman called Kate.
We went out for dinner and then had a drink
And a very long chat and a bit of a think.

A bat of her eyelids was loaded with meaning,
Or else the rooms in my mind needed cleaning.
I leant slightly closer and said with a smile,
"I like your lightning conductor hair style."

I don't know what evil impulse had possessed me
To comment on hair. What greatly distressed me
Lay in the way my remarks had impressed her.
The strange esoteric impulses that dressed her

Were somehow consistent with lightning and thunder.
My brilliant insight had initially stunned her,
Then filled her with wonder that danced in her eyes.
Mine only froze in the grip of surprise.

She asked my opinion on things far outside
My limited dominion. I chose to provide
The vaguest of answers to questions relating
To her unique look. I stuck to just stating

My heartfelt approval for her fashion sense.
It's safer than taking a seat on the fence.
But all the time I was a prisoner to fear
That I'd say the wrong thing and make fun of her ear,

With its fancy ear-rings, like radio aerials.
She could have been hearing some ads for new cereals.
The other ear lacked its companion's apparel,
Like Scrooge from her version of 'A Christmas Carol'.

We went back to her place where questions and answers
Continued to tango like two ill-matched dancers.
Her questions were graceful like birds, and I hate those.
My answers were more like a sack of potatoes.

And this seemed to represent our inner workings,
An idea confirmed by a quick glance at her things:
A bookcase with books about modern composers,
And novels read by the well-read or dumb posers;

Walls that held paintings that mean things to those
Who'll outline their theories in elegant prose.
But I just saw paint left untrained to run wild,
Like a dog who won't sit or an unruly child

Who'll form an unholy, unhealthy alliance
With some endearing domestic appliance,
A food blender blending blackcurrants with cash,
And then blend this currency with Daddy's stash.

The paintings in my house will not need explaining.
They're guaranteed not to leave retinal staining.
They do what they say on the tin, with some free.
They come with their own money-back guarantee.

The one in the hall shows a tree on a hill,
A suitable setting for Jack and his Jill
To go for spring water to bring to a waiter.
She'll kiss his head better and he'll gladly date her.

He'll take her to dinner. Desires will be fought.
They'll pay through the roof for the water they brought.
They'll go back to her place for coffee or tea.
They'll sit by the fireplace to chat and then she

Will show him her paintings and talk about art
And novels before playing horsey and cart.
I started to think that we might have a chance.
Opposites sometimes as couples advance

Far beyond meeting and swiftly deciding
They'll only be opposite forces colliding.
They'll often unite and they'll make their friends shudder.
They're cheddar and chalk but they're made for each other.

I listened intently to her as she spoke
About paintings piercing reality's cloak.
It felt just like listening to ceiling paint dry,
But I got the impression that I should reply.

I tried to look thoughtful and cool. I stood tall.
But I just said, "I hit my head off a wall."
To which she responded with silence at first,
A language in which I was very well-versed.

I'd read countless female expressions before me.
They said 'You're worse than a wasp' or 'You bore me'.
Her's said 'He's telling the truth. Dear God'.
She forced a faint smile and she managed a nod.

She said she'd enjoyed the few hours of our date.
She'd hate it to end but it's getting quite late.
I took my cue, got my coat, said goodnight,
Erasing my portrait for good from her sight.

An unforeseen fall and a blow to the head
Might bring Jack and Jill to the point where they wed.
But I lack the luck of a Jack in my falls.
I purposely loudly exclaim the word 'balls'.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


My Head Looks Flat

My head looks flat
when my hair gets wet
in the rain.

The top is wetter than the sides,
so the sides stay out
while the top comes down.

People would call me 'flathead'
if I knew people who'd call me names.
And I'd tell them to F off.
That's why I don't know people
who'd call me names.

We drove past two cyclists in yellow coats.
They looked like tourists.
They'll get flattened in this weather,
like the ice cream man I made
and left out in the rain.
I told him to F off too.

We stopped in a town by the sea.
I love the smell of food
from the seafood restaurants.
We had dinner in one of them
and I heard someone say,
"This salad is very, very nice.
I mean, it's very, very nice."
And I said, "What sort of a smell
would you get from a salad?
Not much of a smell,

We walked around the town in the rain,
past the fast food places and shops.
I could hear the sound of snooker balls
from the snooker hall.
I said,

"Remember in the afternoon
When we were on the lawn
Under sky unscarred by cloud
Since the lights came on at dawn.

"We were visited by neighbours,
Mr. Clancy and his wife.
Neighbours aren't for Christmas;
They're for nearly all your life.

"There's nothing wrong with them
But they can bore a boring hole
Through an August afternoon.
I miss the hours they stole.

"They both had their umbrellas
And they told us of their woes
In a never-ending river of
Expletive-ridden prose,

"Which they read aloud from diaries
As dreary and as dull
As a stony, rainy, much-regretted
Honeymoon in Hull,

"Which featured in their stories.
She was eager to relate
The doubts that shout in honeymoons
About their choice of mate.

"It was either Hull or Cavan
And her husband, Kevin, said
He'd refuse to go to Cavan
Till he's sure he's safely dead.

"So they left here on a ferry
On a very cloudy day.
They offered little chatter
To alleviate the grey.

"They walked around in torrents
Of relentless summer rain.
Some memories are hidden
In the basement of her brain.

"But she dearly loved the weather.
It's her ladder out of life.
The streets of Hull were beautiful
And happy ducks were rife.

"While in Hull they argued
But it beat the silent staring,
Or the crafted acid insults
And selective loss of hearing.

"I wish I had the skill to close
The side doors at my ears.
Or a way to throw their words out
Like my eyes evicting tears.

"My eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the gloaming
And the corresponding going
Of the light and then the foaming

"At the mouths of all the werewolves
As a bright full moon appeared.
The man who hunts the werewolves
Has a long and tangled beard.

"He lives up on the mountainside
Within an eerie cave.
He has been known by many names
But to his friends he's 'Dave'.

"Witches then descended
From the hills and mountainsides,
Sent with hate by Satan,
Dressed in black to be his brides.

"Death arrived in silence.
He refused to say a word.
The sound of Mrs. Clancy's voice
Was all that could be heard.

"I longed for Death's dark company.
I couldn't get away
As she told me that her husband
Could make night of any day.

"Her husband stood beside her
And ignored her very well.
He must have built defences
Stronger than a diving bell.

"The sky above wore clothes designed
To quickly scatter crowds,
Putting on its blackest suit
Of terrifying clouds,

"Like it's going to a funeral,
But it's waiting to decide
Whose funeral it'll be.
It was time to hide inside.

"The clouds crept by, and lightning
Tried to make a day of night.
Nature sent its forces out
To take part in a fight.

"Mrs. Clancy smiled because
The rain was coming soon.
She loved the drum machine of rain
That drowned the so-called tune

"That the birds were always singing.
The thought that she might dance
Made me want to take a step away
To Cavan, Hull or France.

"The man who hunts the werewolves
Had a manic looking face.
Panic was in waiting
To erupt around the place.

"Countless little grasshoppers
Joined forces on the ground.
None of us could see them
But we heard their eerie sound.

"There was more of a smell off that
Than you'd get from a salad."

The car was parked near the harbour.
We looked out over the water for a while.
I looked at my hair in the rear-view mirror.
Some people think I'd be better off
wearing a hat or carrying an umbrella,
but they can definitely F off.

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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