'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, January 31, 2008


Summer Scenes

She paints sunlit scenes in the fields all around her.
Sunlight on leaves never fails to astound her.
He can't understand her delight in the stones
She finds in the stream where they mock all the clones

Who say the same things and wear the same clothes,
Always confined by the style of their pose.
Each stone is unique. They speak to her soul,
Reciting their lines in a well-written role

That's part of life's play. She loves their performance.
She senses the romance they feel in a storm dance
When they remain still while the grass, flowers and trees
Keep dancing for hours to the beat of the breeze

She loves hearing moths at the window at night,
Tapping the glass to get in to the light.
She'd listen for hours to the moths' soothing noise.
She thinks that they're ghosts of deceased butterflies,

And that bees are just flies wearing dreamcoats to dream,
Lazily buzzing through life's gentle stream.
Dream-filled stream water speaks shimmering prose.
It trickles and tickles the rocks as they doze.

He thinks that a lot of her theories are flawed.
Despite his misgivings he'll gladly applaud
All her ideas and her warm works of art,
And all the expressions of her sun-filled heart.

He smiles when she talks to her neighbour's two beagles.
He once knew a woman who painted dead seagulls.
He was surprised when he found out this fact.
He said it was odd. He tried to use tact.

But she was quite right in responding like this:
"In painting dead seagulls there's nothing amiss.
If I painted live ones they surely would die,
Just like in an oil slick. They'd struggle to fly."

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Ice Cream Van

Time will always play its chords.
People say to look towards
The future with its dazzling light
And leave the past slip into night.

This sounds like useful counsel but
I'm yet to feel the future's foot
On my back, unlike the past
With its director, crew and cast.

The past defines the present more
Than future days. What came before
Weighs heavy on my mind each day.
The future's light is dull and grey.

Yesterday I climbed a tree
And there I found a golden key.
When I descended to the ground
I searched the land until I found

The glimmer of a golden lock,
A door of oak, a wall of rock.
I took a narrow, twisting path.
It led me through a forest that

Became so dark it seemed like night,
And then I saw the lock's gold light.
The golden key had found its home.
Inside, a room beneath a dome

Was lit by dancing candlelight.
I fail to feign or plan delight,
But yesterday I did my best
To show delight and look impressed

With the sight of this cold room
Where only deep despair could bloom.
A bearded man began to speak.
He made the place seem much less bleak.

His words brought warmth to fight the cold.
I felt delight at what he told.
He gave me fundamental truths
That felt a lot like weightless boots

Which I could use to walk through life
And take a path through fear and strife,
And never stumble or look back
And never feel the slightest lack

Of truth or meaning in my days.
His words were like an inner blaze.
I left there with a lighter mind,
Dazed and dazzled by this find.

I left the woods, and night was near.
I'd never felt as far from fear.
In my mind I saw the door
And stepped inside the room once more.

I saw the old man's friendly grin
As he began to speak again.
But then I had my sudden fall.
The only words I could recall

Were 'ice cream van'. I felt bereft.
This was all that I had left
Of the fundamental truth.
I'd left behind the priceless loot.

That little piece had little use.
Mental screws might well come loose
If I thought too much about
The lost words from the old man's mouth.

I'd fallen from a pedestal
And hit the ground. My head is still
Spinning from my rise and fall.
I've been served like a tennis ball.

Today I woke and lay in bed.
I searched the room inside my head.
I said out loud the words I'd found.
"Ice cream van." I loved the sound.

I thought about it for an hour.
It bloomed into a mental flower,
A tiny inner candle lit,
So maybe there's some truth in it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Samantha and Joe

They first met at a party
  And they got on very well.
She laughed at his impression
  Of a drunken William Tell.

They both did poor impressions
  Of a person who could dance
While remaining unaffected
  By the alcohol's advance.

The alcohol kept dancing
  In their heads for many hours,
Eliminating any need
  For dinner dates and flowers.

They woke up with each other.
  He still felt passion's flame,
Even as he struggled
  To remember her first name.

He knew that getting names wrong
  Was a certain path to harm.
But then he read 'Samantha'.
  It was tattooed on his arm.

He laughed and shook his head,
  But she said 'Oh God no!'
When she looked at her left arm
  And she read the short word 'Joe'.

"Alan will be angry
  When he sees this new tattoo."
This is what she said to Joe
  And he said, "Alan who?"

"Alan is an ex," she said.
  "He plays bass in a band.
I told him that we're finished
  But he doesn't understand.

"I told him this six months ago.
  He's still insanely jealous.
He thinks I'm playing hard to get
  To let him know what hell is.

"He's acting like a devil,
  Even more than normal.
He's never far from anger.
  His raging mental storm'll

"Result in someone suffering
  A fatal injury.
When he starts to punch a wall
  Even fearless Ninjas flee.

"Gigs descend to violence
  Near the end of their first song.
The longest song they've written
  Is just thirty seconds long.

"Most of their loyal fans
  Only go to gigs to fight.
Some are just exuberant,
  And some are not quite right.

"Alan only values things
  That can be made to bleed.
But there's no need to worry.
  I doubt if he can read.

"He might not comprehend the fact
  That he's become an ex,
But he uses X to sign his name,
  And when he's signing cheques

"Some people will object,
  So he'll write the X in blood,
Using someone else's.
  That's why his X is mud."

Joe was filled with terror.
  She could read it in his eyes.
He had formed a mental image
  Of the painful way he dies.

After going out with Alan
  She was glad to meet a man
Who was able to feel fear.
  So she came up with a plan.

Despite the night being lost within
  A foggy haze of booze.
She was able to remember
  Where they'd gotten their tattoos.

She went back to this place.
  It was on the second floor,
Above a Chinese take-away
  With dragons on the door.

She told the tattoo artist
  That she wanted something new:
A 'Billy' and an 'l'
  To surround the 'Joe' tattoo.

Alan saw her arm
  And someone told him what it said.
Thoughts of Billy Joel
  Filled him with a sense of dread.

He said, "This isn't easy,
  But I think we've reached the end.
We've no future as a couple
  But you'll always be a friend."

She sighed and said, "You might be right.
  I feared this day would come.
This news will make my Gran cry
  And will be a shock to Mum."

Joe could advertise his love
  By showing his tattoo.
He didn't need long sleeves
  Or the nametag that said 'Hugh'.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Stan, Elaine and Steve

Stan: Hello Steve. Any news?
Did you see United lose?
The ref and linesman must be blind
To say the ball was not behind
The goal line in the second half.
Ronaldo's diving made me laugh.
I know that with an untrained eye
The untrained brain that plays 'I spy'
Might think it spies Elaine and me
K  I  S  S  I  N  G.
It's just plain wrong to think like this,
To see our actions as a kiss,
When it was much more innocent.
These thoughts are just a menace sent
By Satan when he wants to make
A hapless man and woman bake
In a form of earthly hell.
I sense a faint demonic smell.
This scene is not as it may seem.
I'd sooner trust a vivid dream.
There's a simple explanation
That won't require a presentation
Or a lecture to expound
A theory that may not be sound,
With textbooks by a mad professor,
Or written by my granny, bless her.
She thinks that she can talk to birds
With her peculiar made-up words.
The reason for the scene you saw
Will not contain a glaring flaw.
A two-year-old could understand
The urgent need to place my hand
On Elaine. You'll find this reason
Simpler than a change of season.

Elaine: It's all so simple, as you'll see.
What happened was I lost my key.
I went to Jane's house, just in case
I'd see the key ring at her place.
She cut some cake and made some tea
But then she had to go to see
Her aunt Annette who was attacked
By an angry hen that lacked
The manners of her fellow fowl.
The sound was not unlike a growl.
Then on my way to see Suzanne
I stopped to have a chat with Stan.
It could have been a tiny fly
But there was something in my eye.
And then it went into my mouth,
And Stan was trying to get it out.

Steve (in an aside):
How can I explain to her
That life's been like a haze or blur
Since we met, that day in spring?
How was I to know she'd bring
Such vivid colours to my garden?
She's my sunshine and she's starred in
Every day we've been together.
That spring she brought me summer weather.
How do I express my love
And say she's been sent from above,
And that since we last met I've missed her,
And I've done something with her sister,
Something that I now regret,
A feeling that will last till death.
We let our guards down for a second.
The comfort of her bedroom beckoned.
Passion overcame my mind.
Both of us were wholly blind
To all important consequences,
And to past and future tenses.
The present was a place where we
Were lost in fog. We could not see
Anything beyond each other,
And no one knows, except her brother.

Elaine: Who are you talking to?

Steve: Talking? No one. I don't know.
I was looking at that crow,
The one who's near the old phone booth.
He's eating crisps; he's found his loot,
Despite the dog just yards away,
The one who'd chase his tail all day.
He's happy going round and round.
Covering the same old ground.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


The Duck

All of these days float away in the stream
Of life in its ceaseless inaudible scream.
Sometimes it's a torrent. These days are adored
By those who despise being hopelessly bored.

They find it abhorrent when time is a trickle.
They'd welcome a problem, a jam or a pickle,
Or even a crisis to step out of stasis.
They smile with great pleasure when most other faces

Are coloured by fear. This fear makes them run.
At night they're relieved that the day has been done.
They'll pussyfoot through a slight hissy-fit till
They smile and repress their immense urge to kill.

But people like Sarah will let it all out.
She never fell victim to feelings of doubt
In choosing her words. She says what she thinks
In straightforward terms, not nudges or winks.

And so she told Gary his number one flaw
Was that he looked down on most things that he saw.
He spent too long scowling and sneering at things.
He saw lowly pawns in the most noble kings.

He's always insulting the poor people who
Are stuck once again on life's great crossword clue.
They've never been sure how to fill in the boxes.
They're very like chickens and not much like foxes.

They'll fill in the crossword in pencil at first.
When faced with success they will still fear the worst.
But he's like a fox. He pounces on chickens.
If he was just fiction, created by Dickens,

He'd own his own factory, with only child labour.
The kids would eat cardboard devoid of all flavour
And sometimes dead pigeons he'd shot from his office.
He'd pay them a pittance and make obscene profits.

The kids would be covered in soot every day.
They'd stand in the rain to wash it away.
When Sarah met Gary one day at the lake,
She said the above and she called him a fake.

He didn't react. She failed to surprise him
When she pointed out that most people despise him,
Even the Christians who love everything
From unpleasant smells to merciless Ming

And strange deformed demons who try to repent,
Who give up all chocolate and arson for lent.
He said he can't care that these losers don't love him.
He then aimed and shot at a duck right above him.

The bullet just narrowly missed the poor duck.
The fear that he felt made him blind to his luck.
He emptied his bowels, without inhibition.
They watched as this little duck's quite large emission

Landed on Gary, with most on his head.
Beneath his new mask his face had gone red.
Sarah thought this was revenge for the things
That he had done wrong. Fate's arrows and slings

Were there in the duck who had just done his best
To bring about justice, and this she expressed
By saying the word 'ha!'. She pointed as well,
And then left in triumph, escaping the smell.

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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