'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, December 27, 2007
Jimmy met his friend, The Brain.
For this fine day they had no plan.
They walked along a country lane
And came across a frightening man.
The man they met was twice as tall
As any man they'd seen before.
Their only hope was that he'd fall
Before he sent them to hell's door.
His fiery eyes were big enough
To serve as cannon balls in battle.
His weathered skin was twice as tough
As leather from the devil's cattle.
His rotting fence-post teeth let out
A shout to make men drop their shields
And run from their impending rout,
A tearful blood-filled bath in fields.
Jack the Hopper ambled by
In his happy bumbling way.
He whistled to the summer sky.
His tousled hair was full of hay.
He walked into the giant's left leg.
He might as well have met a tree.
He fell and rolled back like an egg
That made a bid at breaking free.
And then he stood with jumps and skips.
He whistled and he said 'yahoo!',
But then a word escaped his lips.
It rhymes with 'luck'. He meant it too.
His luck was clearly in the lack.
He trembled as the giant turned round.
With fearsome eyes that glared at Jack,
The giant unleashed a thunderous sound.
Brain and co could make their exit.
In situations of this kind
Jimmy nearly always legs it,
But on this day they stayed behind
To see what Jack would say or do,
Or what the giant would do to him.
Jack's sad face showed that he knew
The light of hope was growing dim.
But then they heard The Countess sing.
They saw her dance along the road.
Everywhere she went she'd bring
A stream of song that softly flowed.
She saw the giant and had to stop.
The ball gown that she wore stopped too.
Jack, when nervous, has to hop.
The Countess just surveyed the view.
On her way she'd passed a house.
She'd seen a sandwich on its own.
As silently as any mouse
She took the sandwich out on loan.
She didn't think this minor sin
Would mean she'd meet the devil soon.
She saw the giant and thought again,
But still she sang her happy tune,
And then she said, "Good day, young man.
I'm The Countess, as you know.
I hope I've found another fan.
I meet them everywhere I go.
"Many men have died before me.
I've always nursed them back to health,
Even those who slowly bore me
With endless stories of their wealth.
"I dance with style and perfect grace.
I'm like a leaf upon the breeze.
The briefest sighting of my face
Can make the coldest hearts un-freeze.
"There's subtle music in my voice.
My words are little butterflies.
They carry tunes and sound advice
To distant lands. They fight off noise.
"My words will travel round the world.
I set them free into the wild
With gentle shoves. They're never hurled.
The words I set free as a child
"Have recently been coming back.
They've travelled far away from here.
They've filled the voids, erased the black,
And sung themselves in every ear.
"You're standing in my way, it seems,
Unless I'm very much mistaken.
But life may well be made of dreams
From which we very rarely waken."
She asked the giant to stand aside,
But he refused to do this deed
Until he saw the devil's bride
Moving towards his head at speed.
The witch clung on to her broomstick
And tried her best to hold her hat.
She thought this journey was a trick
Because she kicked her sister's cat.
The giant began a well-timed dive.
All the others ran away.
Jack was glad to be alive.
He sang and skipped and hopped all day.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
A Drink-Free Christmas
The silent night was perfect
For a spirit or a mouse
Till Harry started singing
As he walked towards his house.
Another Christmas party
Left him in a festive mood.
His soul had been replenished
By fine alcohol and food.
As he passed the neighbours' house
He stopped to see their lights.
They'd done their best to beat the dark
Of long mid-winter nights.
The house just made him laugh.
In Harry's drink-swept mind
It looked like Liberace.
The lights would leave him blind
If he looked at them too long
So he went to his front door
And tried to get the key in
For half an hour or more.
A very blurry berry
On the holly bough was proving
To be a bad distraction.
He suspected it of moving.
He finally made it in
And he found his way to bed.
The force resisting sleep
Soon surrendered in his head.
Some time as he slept that night
An incident occurred.
He had a sparkling vision
That was crystal clear, not blurred.
He saw a glowing woman
And she told him not to worry,
And not to blame this vivid dream
On alcohol or curry.
She said that he should give up drink
On Christmas's twelve days,
That he didn't need the glasses
Of a golden drunken haze
To make the world seem warmer
And a better place to be.
It blinds him to the many
Simple treasures that are free.
When he woke the room was filled
With a strong unearthly smell,
But that was just the curry
As it made its way to hell.
The woman's clear instruction
Had just filled an inner hole.
The thought of drinking tea
Brought him joy and thrilled his soul.
He ate his Christmas dinner
Without any glass of wine.
He declined a glass of port
And insisted he felt fine.
The afternoon passed slowly
As he tried his best to find
A way to pass the time.
He didn't really mind
The stony wall of silence
From the nieces and the nephews.
The aunties and the uncles
Only spoke to let out 'eff you's.
He looked out through the window.
This Christmas wasn't white,
So they couldn't build a snowman,
Or have a snowball fight.
They could always make a rainman,
A minor Dustin Hoffmann.
The kids were into building
A disgusting sneeze- or cough-man.
Saint Stephen's Day was slower.
It dragged its muddy feet.
The rain was interrupted
By a heavy shower of sleet.
The voices were lack-lustre
In his jaded inner choir.
The only brief excitement
Was a minor kitchen fire.
Part of him felt sorry
He was able to extinguish it.
Another little anguish.
He couldn't quite distinguish it
From all the other anguishes,
The weather and the boredom,
The tasteless turkey sandwiches.
The uncles all adore them.
Harry nearly reached the point
Of giving in to drink,
But temptation was averted
By a sight that made him think.
His niece, Eileen, was playing with
A present from her gran.
She was putting gems on clothes
Without any aim or plan.
She put them on some towels as well,
And table cloths and hats,
And also on the curtains
And the cusions and the mats.
They looked like Liberace
After she had altered them.
She'd be perfectly content
Till she reached her final gem.
This reminded Harry
Of a present he'd received,
His own clock-making kit.
At first he had believed
That his present was as useful
As a sweater for a ghost,
But when he started using it
He soon became engrossed.
He worked on his first clock
And the time just slipped away.
His time machine made minutes
Of the slow hours in the day.
At keeping out reality
It's better than the drink,
Without the bad hangovers
And encounters with the sink.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The Woman in the Park
Justin likes to walk
In the park and there he sees
A woman whose mere presence
Makes the world around him freeze.
He looks at her and feels as if
He's floating to the sky,
Enveloped by the acres
Of inviting blue up high,
Or drifting in the ocean
Like a steamship or a tanker.
He holds a bag of bottles
That will function as an anchor.
On one fine day he talks to her.
He marvels at the way
Her voice contains the music
Of a sunlit summer day.
She talks about the weather
And its ever-changing hues,
And a little dog she saw
Who stole another doggie's shoes.
She tells him there are times
When she feels a need for walking,
And at times she feels a fear
That if she suddenly stopped talking
She'd fall into a river,
Be united with the water,
The Atlantic's latest daughter.
And she often has a fear
Of growing hair on both her hands
When the moon above is full
And her three gold wedding bands
Seem to have gone missing
While she spent an evening musing
On the vagaries of life
And the problems she has choosing
Which of her three husbands
She would like to marry most
In a night-time woodland wedding
When the bridegroom makes a toast
To all the woodland creatures
And the semi-human beings
Who read the minds of mortals,
And the butterflies with bee wings.
While she thinks about these things
And the full moon winks an eye,
She notices her hair
And her scream becomes a sigh,
Which then becomes a howl
And an owl lets out a hoot.
And though she thinks the little
Furry bunnies are so cute
She still will bite their heads off
And spit out all the teeth,
But she'll gladly eat the noses
And the eyes, but not the feet.
Her husbands buy her roses
To show how much they care.
The one who looks like Elvis
Bought a smiling teddy bear.
She bit the head off that,
But she had to spit it out.
She sewed it back but now the smile
Has faded from its mouth.
She'd hate to hurt their feelings.
She'd like to be a wife
Who isn't just for Christmas.
She'd stick around for life.
But she tried to sleep with Santa.
She thought he'd really want to.
She got her neighbour's ladder
And she made her way up onto
The roof that held the reindeer
And the presents in the sleigh.
She kept the reindeer occupied
With Guinness, cake and hay.
The kids saw Mom kiss Santa.
It looked a lot like love.
Daddy Number Three
Was sleeping soundly up above.
She's far too good at lying
To neglect this well-honed skill,
And this, combined with crying,
Means she rarely pays a bill.
Her intricate sob stories
Could affect the hardest heart.
It works on most policemen.
She's refined it to an art.
She'd really like to do good
But she can't help doing bad.
Sometimes she's fairly happy
When she knows she should be sad.
At times she cries for real
When she thinks of all the trouble
That she's caused for other people.
She's left a trail of rubble.
At other times she can't keep out
The smile that lights her face
When she thinks about the torment
Of a frenzied midnight chase,
Or a fight within a fountain
That resulted from her lies,
Or a food fight at a wedding
With the cake and custard pies.
She lies about her background
Just because it's so much fun.
She likes to say she spent ten years
In Asia as a nun,
Confined within a convent,
With her spare time spent inventing
After much experimenting
She invented a machine
That predicted next week's weather,
She had the help of God
Who she walked with in the heather.
He often bought her roses
And he wrote her poetry,
Recited by the moon
Or a humble bumble bee.
She often told the story
That she grew up in a forest,
Brought up by the wolves,
Watched over by the Florist,
The one up high in heaven,
Growing flowers and blowing bubbles.
But she's given up this story.
It reminds her of her troubles.
The occasional were-wolfism
Was a source of some annoyance,
So she joined a witches' coven
And she forged a strong alliance
With other local witches.
They began a reign of terror,
But sadly she was forced
To admit she was in error
In thinking that mere witchcraft
Could prevent the growth of hair.
The full moon overpowers her
And her fur coat will appear.
She talks at length to Justin
And she tells him all these things.
Tears well in her eyes
When she shows him her three rings.
But he isn't really listening.
He smiles and thinks about
A dog who runs away
With four dog shoes in his mouth.
He asks her if she'd like to go
To see a film or play.
At first she is surprised,
Then she smiles and says, "Okay."
Thursday, December 06, 2007
My Doctor Thinks I'm Stupid
My doctor thinks I'm stupid.
He says I'm just a plank,
And that where my brain should be
God has left a blank,
With a note in God's handwriting
That says 'Insert brain here'.
He says I feel a need to fill
The void with foreign beer.
I can't read God's handwriting,
And the doctor's writing seems
As if his pen's in pain.
The letters are its screams.
He's like a sterile needle
In the purple vein of life.
He's needed, but unpleasant.
That's according to his wife.
She told me all about him,
And more than once she cried.
At times she thinks she shouldn't have
Agreed to be his bride.
He's bad at spending money.
He doesn't get much practise.
Her thirtieth birthday present
Was a half-price plastic cactus.
People call him Scrooge
But it's not a compliment.
Yet still his self-impression
Is without a scratch or dent.
He takes pride in his nick-name
And his penny-pinching ways.
He retrieves used tea bags
And he makes them last for days.
He'll gladly take the insults
When he turns down charities.
Retaining all his money
More than compensates for these.
He's little time for children,
For pets or shop assistants.
If he didn't have to buy things
He would gladly keep his distance.
And he believes that people
Who like fun are reprobates.
Utility should be your guide
When choosing cars or mates.
When you enter bars on dates
You should first state your intention
To leave unless this candidate
For marriage has a pension.
His wife described last Christmas
With their ten-inch Christmas tree.
He uses faulty lights
To make the carol singers flee.
I listened to her tale of woe.
The facts were stark and bare,
And so were we soon after
At the start of our affair.
Our many secret meetings
Were concealed behind the curtain.
I don't think he suspected
But I cannot say for certain.
He gave me a prescription
Which I've struggled to decipher.
I wonder is his wife
Really someone who I'd die for.
At times I can't help thinking
That I'm reading 'Cyanide'.
To ensure a healthy lifestyle
Should I run away and hide?
And reading God's handwriting
Isn't easy, but I try.
My actions would displease him
And with him I couldn't lie.
I'm looking out for anvils
Or pianos that could fall.
I fear that open doors
Could be painted on the wall.