'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, December 27, 2007


The Giant

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,
Eventually becoming
  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
Solar-powered machines.
  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.

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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