'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008


Poems from 2004

These poems originally appeared on an earlier version of this site.


My wife turned thirty three days ago.
Or something like thirty – I don't want to know,
And neither does she. That's where our minds meet.
I took her out for something to eat.

They brought us a menu. She ordered a water.
She thanked me again for the teapot I bought er.
We ate and drank in faint candle light.
She mostly drank, but she had a good night.

I looked at the bill, then down at the floor.
I took a deep breath and counted to four.
Then back to the bill but still my mind stalled.
It looked like a will. The waiter I called.

I showed him the bill. He told me about
How keeping afloat is always in doubt.
Their business is busy; their charges are high,
But costs and expenses are clipping the sky.

Young couples on dates will share a beer,
But the bill for their rates is rising each year.
So they have to charge more to cover the cost,
Or else they close down and jobs will be lost.

The rates are for water, or so people say,
But there's also a bill for their water to pay.
And a sewage bill too. We've money to burn.
You're paying again for what you return.

And then there's insurance. People will trip.
A tap is left on and someone will slip.
Water on tiles; a man on the floor.
A doctor and stretcher will come through the door.

It happened before. A man hit his head.
He was seen playing golf when he should be half dead.
They lost in court. They didn't have proof.
And the bill for insurance has gone through the roof.

The waiter explained that they're just a small boat.
They're sinking in bills and they just want to float.
Water everywhere, but a glass will cost more
Than the price of a chair in a second-hand store.

I paid and we left, but I still didn't know
Into whose pocket does my money go.
Water will leave us and come back in rain.
Money will run like a dog you can't train.

I pay the bill and they pay the others,
And others have friends and lovers and brothers.
Somewhere in this, someone is winning.
Someone is driving an Audi and grinning.

We walked down the street and stopped at a pool.
A leak in a pipe. I felt like a fool.
I paid for stupidity; no one will win.
The money will rest in a drain or a bin.

I looked at the pool and thought of a fall.
A slip and a slide; a 999 call.
It would cover the cost of our next evening out.
If I sued and I won to put food in my mouth.

But if everyone did it, taxes would rise.
And so would insurance – the wrong type of highs.
I'll just have to sit back and say it's not fair.
And learn how to cook by this time next year.

Hunting Leprechauns

The leprechauns are all alone.
Their rosy cheeks should get them a wife.
But they might as well have leprosy.
Their height will hold them back in life.

The little men, throught thick and thin,
Will guard their gold until they're grey.
They'll be in their grave before they let go.
They'll leave without losing a penny or stay.

The poor little leps, they slip on the ice.
They fall on their face when running from thieves.
Replacement hips and weeks of rest.
A bed of feathers and letters and leaves.

They can't afford a coat or the gas
To keep out the cold on a dark winter day.
They sit on their ass and look at their gold.
They'll freeze on a stone before looking away.

They can't afford a car or a cart
To carry their gold, to let them take naps,
To lighten their load; the leps are too proud.
That's why they look old. The poor little chaps

They'd die without cat flaps on long winter nights.
A warm hall to rest their aching backs,
Stiff from the cold, bent from the gold.
Dawn is the time to start making tracks.

Or the sight of a cat – he's after the pot.
Cats and geese they like the least.
The neck of the goose can get them in bed.
The cat wants the gold; the goose wants a feast.

We propose to work on their house.
We'll tarmac their drive, all within law.
We'll build a coal fire and not just a tyre
In a barrel with a box and a basket of straw.

We've got to go to get the geese,
To frighten the leps, to lighten their load.
We need them to leave, to work on the house.
They won't be turned out on the side of the road.

'Hunting' is such an emotive word.
One thing for sure is our mission to help.
Bunting to lure the leps to our trap.
A stereo system to drown out their yelp.

But please don't get the wrong idea,
With talk of traps and drowning and yelping.
If there's drowning at all it'll just be the cats.
With the leprechauns we'll only be helping.

The leps need our help; they need to be forced.
Of course they'll feel trapped and try to escape.
They'll shout themselves hoarse when they can't find a cat flap.
They'll kick and throw stones the size of a grape.

But the leprechauns will see our aim.
We'll chase the cat and cook the geese.
But not the cat. The thrill's in the hunt.
The cat is just a trophy piece.

Its goose is cooked and so is ours.
The leprechaun, we'll open his door.
He'll sit down to eat with a book on his seat.
His little feet two foot away from the floor.

A new day is dawning; an evening of dancing.
A night of singing and laughing and drinking.
A new life of ease with a lovely new house.
No tripping or falling or drowning or sinking.

The leprechaun, with a tear in his eye,
We'll say goodbye and send him home.
Minus his gold but he knows all he needs
Is a fire and a coat and a cap and a comb.

So it's not really hunting, unless you count cats.
We do count the cats and the bats and the geese.
And in no way it's stealing. We're strong in our feeling
Of love for the leps and wishing them peace.

Some people say that we're getting away
With a leprechaun's savings, a lifetime of woes.
But a pot of gold is a worthless wieght
If it stays in the pot and never buys clothes.

Throwing things at things.

Throwing stones at things that break,
Or things that break at things that break them.
At the lake with things that sink.
If things don't sink or break then take them.

Making fun of people's phones.
Laughing at ring tones and slim phones that break,
Or other things their owner owns,
Like clothes that look funny or shoes that look fake.

In a field with things to do.
People to talk to, bets to win.
Things to throw or drink or drop.
A stone or a can or a bottle of gin.

Sitting down in lonely fields,
Saying things about things you know.
Drink and drain the last few drops.
A tree to aim at, a bottle to throw.

Sit in silence. The stars come out.
The grass is wet with evening dew.
There's not much else to throw or see
Or say or do or know that's new.

Time to go home and get out the books.
The exams are less than a year away.
The end of school, the start of life.
Leaving the fools who'll study next May.

I'm going to be a doctor.
Or something in computers - I'll wait and see.
I'll wait for fate to make the choice.
Let chance and fate decide what I'll be.

I might decide to marry young.
I'll hurry things if things I need.
Exchange of rings and food and bed.
In that order and at that speed.

I'll buy a Merc, like the one at home.
Maybe my wife will be the doctor.
Our second son will be adopted.
Our daughter will kick the boy who mocked her.

We'll tell her it's wrong to use physical force,
But even my wife will be secretly proud.
Our sons will make fun of the kids with the horse.
When Mammy needs sleep, they'll never be loud.

I'll spend some time with my wife each day.
When she gets home I'll kiss her nose.
I'll be so proud of the work she does.
My wife the doctor; my beautiful rose.

I'll take my kids to see the match.
I'll let them talk rugby all day long.
Players kick the ball and the carp out of each other.
And I'll tell my kids what they're doing wrong.

Sometimes I'll have to say to the kids,
"I've got a headache. Leave Daddy alone."
They'll make me a card; they'll ask their Daddy
To get well so they won't have to play on their own.

My heart will melt; I'll play in goal,
Between the shed and the wheelie bin.
I'll do my best despite the pain.
And I'll hardly mention the headache again.

A house near the woods

Out in the woods with the wind and the rain,
And the tiny little birds in the trees.
They sing their little songs full of love or even pain,
But not the latter when together with the bees.

Jimmy and Susanne have just bought a home
Near the woods above a gentle stream.
Every morning they look out to where the water starts to foam.
They wake up to a brand new dream.

Jimmy loves this life with the total lack of care.
Sue would like a shower that's warm.
The song of the birds and a big deep breath of air,
And he'll walk with a smile through a storm.

A walk through the woods with a feather in his hat,
A present from his wife on his head.
A walk through the heather to the seat where he sat
When he met the deer he now calls Ted.

He takes the feather out so as not to scare the birds.
The shotgun on his shoulder is for show.
The book he read on guns is just a lot of silly words.
How not to shoot is all he needs to know.

Susanne will walk as well with a tonic and a gin.
"You need a little drink to leave the door.
"A little lack of sun so you have to plug it in.
"If you want to look as tanned as before.

"I wish it didn't rain and the wind didn't blow.
"And I didn't know I just ate an eel.
"Jimmy says he caught it and he nearly shot a crow.
"But I wonder if the gun is even real.

"I've got all I need with a stove that's really Mom's,
"And a bedroom with a mountain view.
"A sunbed with the force of ten atomic bombs,
"Like the ones they used in World War Two."

Jimmy never tires and there's always things to do.
Little things can make him high.
"The green and grey and orange of a walk with Sue,
"A little bit of blue in the sky.

"A nuclear war would be a source of endless pain,
"But at least this place will save my life.
"Walking in the woods with the wind and the rain,
"Standing right behind my wife."

The newly weds.

With a garden in the back and a shed for the bin.
A house in the middle of the trees.
Milly and Tommy and a cat called Gin.
The first few months together were a breeze.

A house and a home and a 'welcome' on the mat.
A cat on the O M E.
A knock on the door and a loud voice that
Sparks a word meaning 'oh dear me'.

The cat would sit on the U and the C,
But even Gin would recognise the word.
Its curly tail would cover the K from you and me.
The cat is more concerned about a bird.

Milly's parents at the door have heard the word before,
And they've heard the voice that said it say it too.
If their brand new son-in-law has a flaw or two or four,
Number one would be the words he says to you.

Or eight or nine or ten, and the words would be at two.
Number one would be the times they appear.
And the people there to hear – the when and the who.
When Milly's parents come to stay he tends to swear.

He opens up the door. Gin leaves to chase the bird.
They say it's such a lovely day.
He nods and says hello in the way he said the word
That you spell 'F Cat Cat K'.

The silence is more civil when there's nothing nice to say.
The bird gets on better with the cat.
Milly comes along and the tension fades away.
She brings a smile beneath the flowers in her hat.

But it wasn't always so. Things used to be much worse.
Like when Milly broke the news of their big day.
Her father said he'd go in the back seat of a hearse.
Tommy said he'd drive and learn to pray.

They never liked the language and the hair on his head.
Or the piece of metal just above his chin.
The cat would have a job to cover everything he said.
Some of the words were written on his skin.

His hair was mostly green and sometimes slightly blue.
And once or twice it wasn't there at all.
Milly's father asked him why he couldn't settle on a hue,
And did he shave his head to imitate a ball.

Tommy said inside his head he had a brain that couldn't stop.
Like his hair his life was never dull and grey.
"But the brain that makes you talk is very like the hair on top.
"Going grey and disappearing by the day."

He'd call around for Milly and bring her back at dawn.
Her Dad could only shout and lose his hair.
"You really haven't liked me since I passed out on your lawn."
Was the one thing Tommy said without a swear.

But Milly fell in love. There was nothing they could do.
He didn't come and go with fashion trends.
When she first met Tommy they both felt something new,
And she sent a thousand texts to her friends.

Each text was full of words only they could understand.
Unlike the words her parents had to say.
And all the words from Tommy and the gestures with his hand.
Every meaning was as clear as any day.

The words got worse after they became engaged.
But things began to change before too long.
An argument once ended when Tommy was paged.
The impression on the parents was strong.

They don't know what he does but he's the leader of a team.
A software job and he'll go far.
As sons-in-law go, he might not be the dream.
But he can pay for Milly's phone and the car.

So when the parents come to stay they can talk over drinks.
Tommy won't say much but that's okay.
The cat would need kittens to cover everything he thinks.
They all have thoughts on hair that they won't say.

Sun and Sunglasses.

He met her last month when he went to a match.
His friends all agreed that she could be a catch.
And catch her he did. She let herself fall.
He bought her a watch and they went to a ball.

A walk or a seat in the park by the pond.
The wind in her hair; of that sight he's quite fond.
A walk then a seat when her feet start to hurt.
She's sore in those heels and he's cold in that shirt.

He stares through his shades at the grey sky above,
And wonders is silence the first sign of love.
He talks about football and what his job pays,
And how it gets dark so early these days.

They go for a drive in his brand new two-seater.
She rolls down the window and turns up the heater.
She'd like the roof down and the wind in her hair.
"Let's wait for a while 'til the rain starts to clear."

He brings in his elbow from outside the window.
He thinks he can feel it and senses some bloodflow.
He turns on the lights. It's dark at half-five.
His arm is still numb. He feels half-alive.

He thinks of last month, the match where he met her.
She didn't say much 'til the weather got better.
While it rained all she said, apart from a call,
Was, "Look at the dirt on the man with the ball."

They talked about dirt, so he tries that again.
As they drive in the evening with night setting in.
"Look at the dirt on the side of that car."
She looks and says 'ooh'. He's one under par.

It works again when he points at a van,
A truck and a sign and some kids with a paint can.
She looks and says 'ooh' to all of these things.
He thinks of churches and flowers and rings.

He stops on a side-street and she steps out,
Near a puddle so deep it might have some trout,
When a kid on a bike goes by through the water,
And splashes her feet and the handbag he bought her.

She stares at her shoes that used to be new.
She can't seem to speak. What should he do?
Right now there's nothing but shock on her face,
But later she'll ask why he didn't give chase.

But you've got to be careful with kids at night.
Some carry cans and can't wait for a fight.
He sees a way out with the shades on his head.
He'll say he couldn't see. She should have said.

He walks 'round the car and says, "What's wrong?"
She still can't speak, but that won't last long.
He lifts up his shades; in this he won't lie:
"There's dirt on your shoes." There's a tear in her eye.

A Little Birdie.

In the garden at the back, Billy doesn't say a word,
Waiting with his little sister Jane.
They want to win a competition with a photo of a bird.
Jane is well protected from the rain.

She tied a length of thread to keep the hat upon her head.
A breeze tried to take it towards the sea.
And a tiny piece of bread on the hat beneath the thread,
So a little bird will land and stay for tea.

They tried it once before; for half an hour they sat.
They'd wait for half the day to win the prize.
Billy took a photo of a robin on the hat,
And the fear in his little sister's eyes.

Jane had to laugh when she saw the look of fright.
It was silly to be scared beneath the hat.
The bird was on her head for the bread, not a fight,
Or maybe he was hiding from the cat.

So it's time to try again with the bread and the thread,
Standing in the garden near the trees.
Jane knows straightaway when a bird lands on her head.
When Billy sees the bird he seems to freeze.

He stares above the hat. She wants to know what's there.
"It looks like a robin once again."
She says it's very heavy; the hat is on her hair.
He tells her that the other one was thin.

"Hello Mr. Robin." She waves and tries to see.
But she can't see the bird above the brim.
She looks back at Billy; he's as still as any tree.
She thinks it's just because her brother's dim.

He finally takes the photo after such a long delay.
His sister has a smile upon her face.
The bird sees a rabbit in a field and flies away.
There's only one winner in the chase.

Billy talks to Jane so she won't turn around,
To see the 'robin' and the rabbit say hi.
He talks a little louder just to drown out the sound.
The bird is with the bunny in the sky.

They walk across the lawn and meet the man who lives next door.
He says he lost his latest pet today.
He's always taken care and never lost a bird before,
But at feeding time his falcon flew away.

He won it in a bet about a fight between a hound,
And a fox who ran away – he didn't lose.
Jane says they would have noticed if a falcon was around.
Billy just looks down at his shoes.

They won the competition – the falcon beat a dove.
After Jane chased her brother 'round the place.
She nearly fainted when she first saw the birdie up above,
And Billy took a photo of her face.

France 0, Ireland 0.
(A World Cup qualifier in Paris on the ninth of October, 2004)

A nil-all draw that felt like a win.
Even though no one scored, we won the fight.
Tens of thousands of Irish got in.
Someone in green must have scored on the night.

Thousands of leprechauns went to France.
And they probably brought the pot of gold.
They looked just like tourists; they all took a chance.
The muggers could have been three-years-old.

Thousands of leps in the city of love.
Some went for the love not the city.
With gold they won't need the help from above
To get the girl who's more than just pretty.

They won't need the car or the clothes or the fame.
The end of the rainbow, it's hard to say where.
But the girls couldn't miss all the leps at the game.
They ran through the crowd holding flares in the air.

So instead of the rainbow you'll find the gold
Right beneath the bright red flare.
If we make the World Cup, the car will be sold.
We'll all wear red beards and green hats on our hair.

Yes, Minister, you're sitting on a car.

A Minister for Tourism, let's call him Bob,
Once opened a pub in a big tourist town.
That night in the pub nearly cost him his job.
The permanent smile for a while was a frown.

In the official photos Bob could still stand,
With a pint in his hand and a smile on his face.
But a photo appeared of Bob with the band,
With a glass on his head and lacking in grace.

The smile was still there but the drink in the glass
Was then in his brain, with some on his shoes.
They went through ten rounds and not one did he pass.
Before he passed out he ordered more booze.

A piano was there to keep him upright.
He was trying to sing but the words came out wrong.
Some took offence at the language that night.
He used the right words but he sang the wrong song.

In his defence he said there's no harm
In having a drink, or two, or ten.
It's the light of his life and the source of his charm.
It's what unites the boys and the men.

"I've been drinking like this since I was fourteen.
"It did me no harm. It's a fountain of fun.
"There's a funny story; I once tried to lean
"On a chair that wasn't there when I thought there was one.

"I can see more than anyone the ills of drink.
"It killed my father and my grandfather's dog.
"Granddad shot the dog when he seemed to think
"That he aimed for a stick attached to a log.

"No one does more to fight this disease.
"It breaks my heart to see our youth
"Out of their heads, hiding in trees.
"As young as fourteen. It's a sobering truth.

"And it's not just our young who need to give up.
"It's you and me too, and especially you.
"A nice cup of tea will be fine in our cup.
"No one sees more than me what you need to do.

"But if you're a tourist with money to spend,
"Come down to the pub and we'll drink 'til the bell.
"But don't tell the wife or my life will soon end.
"And don't tell the press or they'll make my life hell."

This is what Bob said to the press,
But he stayed in his job for more than a year.
When he finally quit he blamed the stress
From all the late nights. His work rate was rare.

With the Cousins in the Country.

Walking to the river. Walk, walk, walk, walk.
Walk away from Mrs. D; talk, talk, talk.
Climb the gate to get to the path. Climb, climb, ow.
Cow, cow, bull, cow, shed, gate, cow.

Run, run, run, run, run, run, trip.
Just a few feet away from the gate. Damn, duck, flip!
Flock of birds, flow of words. Help, help help.
Listening for the bull's approach. Bark, bark, yelp.

There's a dog with the bull making friends, friends, foe.
The grass just minds its business. Grow, grow, grow.
I can hear the sound of an engine; the sight of a tractor.
The voice of a woman who says the bull once attacked her.

But she scared it off with stones. Throw, hit, throw.
She steps outside; the bull runs off. Ahm, ah, oh.
The woman from the tractor is attractive on the grass.
A bit too easy on the eye. Sky, ground, tree, mass.

I can see our life together; a farmhouse full of love.
I can see me quitting my job. Know, where, shove.
I stand there while she talks. Nod, nod, nod.
Stand, stand, nod, stand, think, ask, God.

Please God, a little hint, a word or two to say?
Nothing, yet, blank, blank. Any time today.
Why won't God respond? Stand, stare, body.
She asks me what my name is. Mind, blank, "Noddy."

Did God just make me say that, just to make me fail?
My mind has lost my name. Gnome, noon, nail.
She says she had a dog called Noddy who met a nasty end.
Gun, bang, blood, cry. Goodbye my dear old friend.

She shot the dog herself after Noddy found a snare.
If she knew who was behind it she'd have shot who left it there.
So I remind her of a friend she shot, a dear beloved pet.
Is that the place to be in her mind? Me, grief, death.

But still she seems to like me. Nod, smile, charm.
We'll meet again but now it's work. Farm, farm, farm.
The man above works in mysterious ways. A blessing not a curse.
And now my name is Noddy. Big Ears would be worse.

Big Ears is her new dog. He seems to like me too.
Sky, blue, sun, air, tree, love, true.
She gets back in the tractor. Big Ears climbs in with her.
Cows moo, bulls hide, little birdies twitter.

The Band.

A street in the suburbs, full of the sounds
Of a street in the suburbs outside a large town.
Children are playing in communal grounds.
But Aaron's inside. At his desk he sits down.

He's up in his room writing songs for his boyband,
Even though there's no band, just a boy on his own.
He needs four more members; they just need to stand.
He's given them names so he's not all alone.

His parents think of the things they hear
About kids his age who drink and fight.
But that's not like Aaron. He won't even swear.
They pray to God that some day he might.

Why can't he be more like Alex next door.
He's in a punk band. He sings and plays bass.
They do a song about taking a whore
To meet the parents in a house outside Naas.

And they also do songs about fighting and drinking.
Aaron writes songs about love in his brain,
That he sings through his nose without ever blinking.
He closes his eyes and looks in great pain.

In one of his songs he gets shot in the heart,
When the woman he loves goes away in a car.
Just like in his songs about war, trees and art,
He's okay when she comes back; she didn't go far.

But Aaron and Alex meet every day,
And talk about things to do with their bands,
Like meeting with Britney, the things they should say,
Their future side-projects, their own clothing brands,

When to wear glasses and when to wear contacts,
To which worthy causes they'll lend their support,
What type of clauses they'll have in their contracts.
They'd both like to fight their bosses in court.

They both want to enter a show on TV.
They know they can win. They've nothing to fear.
They know they can sing. They're destined to be
Making their millions by this time next year.

It's all Aaron talks about after school.
His father buys him a bottle of whiskey.
But the show is next week; he won't be a fool.
A drink or two now might just be too risky.

Reading the news on TV.

At home after reading the news,
He looks for his shoes on his feet.
He stares at the ground with his brain full of booze.
He thought he had shoes on the street.

It's not just his shoes he can lose.
He loses the things in his head.
He didn't wear shoes while reading the news,
Though he does wear them sometimes in bed.

And then comes the vision of hell.
It wasn't just shoes he forgot.
He didn't wear socks and trousers as well.
Even for him it's a lot.

He curses again his luck.
He thinks about quitting his job.
He has to read news about dogs or a duck
Who rescued a baby from death by the mob.

"Some people say it's just reading.
"And any fool can do that.
"A fool would do better, or anything breathing.
"A boy with a D on his hat.

"If you've got half a brain or a third,
"You'll think about what you read.
"You'll drink to drown out every last word.
"You can't let your head pay heed.

"It rarely makes sense at all,
"If you think about what you say.
"If you try to make sense you'll stumble and fall.
"You'll stall and be there all day."

A sentence can be like a maze.
He once had to read out this line:
"It's the only time in as many weeks
"That their actions have issued a fine."

Try to say that when you're sober.
He tried but he couldn't stop thinking.
Reading the news could take half of October,
And everyone thought he'd been drinking.

"But now I drink and don't think.
"I don't have a clue what I say.
"I speak with such ease; I don't even blink.
"I'm as bright as a summer day.

"Words flow out of my mouth,
"After the drink goes in.
"Thank God I don't know what I'm talking about.
"The writers just want their next gin.

"And I don't have to watch or hear
"Reports full of terrible puns.
"I can filter the nonsense through whiskey and beer,
"Stories of bears with guns."

Tonight they had a report
On Ladies Day at the races.
Before the news on the war and the sport.
After celebrity court cases.

He heard when his co-anchor said,
"Hats were all new and bright."
The way the words sounded in his hazy head
Was, "That's all for now, goodnight."

He stood up and took off his mic.
And now he'd rather not know.
He knows there's no trousers; he hopes it's not like
The day he wore nothing below.

Say too much.

She loves her dog and she goes for walks.
Goes for walks, loves her dog.
The dog goes too and then he sleeps like a log
God knows why but they walk in a bog.

And she talks in the bog, God knows who.
To God knows who she talks in a bog.
The grass won't listen and neither does her dog,
But she talks all day and she writes in her blog.

She once had a bird. She loves her pets.
Loves her pets, once had a bird.
A multi-coloured parrot but he wouldn't say a word.
And even if he had, no one would have heard.

No one would have heard him if he ever said a word.
He never said a word coz he didn't get a chance.
She once was engaged. Her fiance moved to France.
He doesn't speak French and he listens to his plants.

She talks too much and she laughs a lot.
Laughs a lot, talks too much.
It's not a major flaw or a fault as such.
But she'd rather have praise and I'm walking on a crutch.

Coz I said too much. Much too much.
Said too much when I should have kept quiet.
I didn't need to say it, even though I'm right.
I asked her if her dog ever slept at night.

Coz she talks in her sleep. That was just a guess.
My guess was right. She talks in her sleep.
I wondered if the dog ever counted little sheep.
She hit me with a stick and I said 'bleep bleep'.

She's a pacifist. Hates violence.
Hates all violence and she loves her peace.
But she once threw a stone at a line of riot police.
And she injured both the ears of her ex down in Nice.

I didn't say a word about her tendency to hit.
I'd said enough so I didn't point it out.
She talks too much and she has been known to shout.
But she can be very nice, of that there is no doubt.

And her dog is deaf. I didn't know that.
I didn't know before that her dog is deaf.
And her ex went to France for a job as a chef.
She left him coz he said too many words that start with F.

A day in the life.

Wake at the day begin.
Coffee at the kitchen T.
Think who am I again.
Tip of tongue, Alan. Me.

Talk like a thingy man.
Walk like a talky thing.
Desk in the open plan.
Talk, walk, sit, ching.

Hi hall I'm home again.
Have a bit of dinner then
Out again to meet the friends.
Day just starts and never ends.

Ding, when you ring the bell.
Dong, and it's sung a song.
To the pub, might as well.
Ring someone's number wrong.

Talk to the person, he.
Walk with the people, they.
Smile at the figure, she.
Looking very sunny, say.

Looks like a Brookey She,
Breeds like a birdie bee.
Speaks with a softly tone.
Let's meet on Friday, phone.

Drink at the bar we are,
Don't forget to work tomorr.
Stare at her in light of star.
Bye 'til Fri, won't be sorr.

Float like a flutterbee.
Sing like a singy thing.
Sleep when the sky is B.
Talk when the tele ring.

This is the way my day I do.
Birthday yester number new.
Twenty-four or twenty-two.
Can't remem, write it doo.

This the way my day idea.
'I do' is what I'll say to she
Who'll pick out furniture for mea,
Who'll be a busy Ikea bee.

Maybe not the Brooke-alike,
But I'd like to look a lot.
Walking in the hills a-hike.
Listen to her talking not.

Skating on the ice, slide.
A cycle in the countryside.
Sitting on the sidle-bars.
Something in the back of cars.

Brain is start to shutty down.
Some say never fully on.
It's fully on when hitty town.
I'll sitty down when legs are gone.

Friday night, sure as hell,
Days away from shutting D.
Little bunny, Duracell,
Never last as long as me.

Now is sleep and dreamy head.
At weekend different type of bed.
Do it like a bunny R.
Say goodnight until tomorr.

Now a Ghost.

He lived in pint glasses and media glares,
Or so his political critics would say.
Forty-four years of worries and cares.
The worries of people he dealt with each day.

He lays deceased, to say the least.
To say the most he's now a ghost.
Or a poltergeist, as good as a beast.
He haunts a house and taunts his host.

He breaks the cups and shakes the doors.
He fights with the dog and frightens the cat.
He fills the jugs and floods the floors.
You can see where he sleeps where the carpet is flat.

You'll never get peace in this house of his niece.
Her husband and daughter would like him to leave.
She called in a priest but still he won't cease.
They drank and told stories they'd like to believe.

He likes his drink. They hear ice cubes clink.
It's more out of habit. He never needs food.
A brandy or gin will be gone in a blink.
They leave out a glass for the good of his mood.

He rattles his chains and battles his banes.
He whistles his tunes and bustles his way
Into the rooms; they're caught beneath rains
Of things on the shelves that now tend to stray.

Most people would curse him but things could be worse.
He's not as bad now as when he was alive.
There's no pain in his hip since his trip in the hearse.
He doesn't complain when his nurse can't arrive.

And he still gets the tickets for all the big matches.
He promised the priest a good seat in the stand.
He tries to be careful; sometimes he catches
The things that he knocks from the shelves with his hand.

But if they had a choice they'd rather have mice.
Their ghost is never as quiet as a mouse.
Each night they can hear the same words, the same voice:
"It was me who got planning permission for this house."

Mr. and Mrs. Snowman.

We sigh, we sing, we laugh, we rush.
We ride our horses on to the sea.
We stop, of course; we get out a brush,
And clean up what horsie left behind he.

Winter daysy, horse called Maisy.
And that's not me, as some would say.
Some say Dozey; my name Daisy.
Out in the fields on a clear cold day.

Cow says boo, horse lose shoesy.
Oops-a-daisy, absolusey, tranquilisey, horsie hazey.
Et so ee Daisy, maybe snoozey.
Toodle-oo while eyes go glazey.

I'm back again! A walk with Eddie.
My happy-go-puppy goes too.
His little legs carrying a happy little heady.
That's the dog, not Eddie. The puppy's name is Froo.

The head on top of Eddie rarely looks very happy,
But the outside doesn't look like the in.
He's as happy as the puppy, maybe not as yappy.
Within a year we'll be each other's next of kin.

That's Eddie, not the puppy. You can't marry dogs.
And you can't marry horses. I don't think that's funny.
My sister always says these things but she's afraid of frogs.
I'm marrying Eddie and he's a happy little bunny.

He's staying with us for a day or two or four.
Just him and me and all my family.
With Maisy and Froo I couldn't ask for anymore.
It starts to snow as we put up the Christmas tree.

Up at dawn and out we go,
And throwing snowballs in the garden.
Making snowmen from the snow.
Their new best friends is who we are then.

Hello Mr. Snowman. His head is still unsteady.
He's standing in the snow holding hands with his wife.
I think I'll call you Daisy and I'll call you Eddie.
I'm sure they'll have a long and happy life.

With a carrot for a nose and a hat for a hat.
Eddie puts a carrot too far to the south.
He thinks he's very funny but I insisted that
A nose always goes on the face above the mouth.

Eddie doesn't move, as still as Mr. Snow.
I ask him once again with a smile and a please.
Still he doesn't move, which I take to be a 'no'.
Then he says that being bossy comes to me with ease.

I never complained when he swore at our cat,
Or when he told Auntie Jo how to hotwire a car.
Or the party for Granny; he hid beneath his hat.
In tracksuit and trainers he stayed at the bar.

He goes with his friends with things in their hands
To hit off their heads and fall down in laughter.
They'll look for the stupidest things to do and
They'll do them and boast about blood they lost after.

They love to watch Jackass and do all the stunts.
They think they're so cool with gold chains and blond hair.
One of them hasn't been quite right for months.
He drank a green drink and fell off his chair.

All of his friends think that I'm thick.
They forget that I'm there whenever we meet.
They all love to do things that make them get sick.
I'd rather be thick and digest what I eat.

Sometimes I think that he thinks that too
He laughs at my accent. He says I'm too posh.
He says he's embarrassed by things that I do.
And I should say more F words, not G words like 'gosh'.

I know I'll never be clever enough
To fall down the stairs at least once a week.
But at least I don't use the words 'and stuff'
In every single word that I speak.

He says his Dad worked in some coal mine or other.
And since the mine closed their lives have been hell.
His father's a barrister, and so is his mother.
Their darling Edward will be one as well.

He says I have the power to make the carrot disappear.
If I wear the clothes that make me look like cops in TV dramas.
But I have other ways. I have the power of fear.
A photo of little Eddie in his Spiderman pyjamas.

Christmas Lights.

A wonderful sight. We're happy tonight.
Santa's on the roof looking happy in his sleigh.
Walking in the snow with the Christmas lights so bright.
It's never really dark in this never-ending day.

To get Santa and his sleigh on the roof took half a day.
A weekend for the lights and the illuminated ice.
Last night we got a phone call from Nasa just to say
That the crew of the space station think our lights are nice.

Last year people said that the neighbour's lights were better.
They spent a fortune on the reindeer going all across the roof.
Mrs. Murphy always mentioned them every time we met her.
And how Mr. Murphy hurt his hand on Rudolf's pointy hoof.

I met her earlier on. She was barely paying heed.
'Til I said, "I suppose ye got a call from Nasa just like us."
She said no. I feigned surprise. "That's very odd indeed."
I said I'm sure their lights delight the people on the bus.

Jenny said the neighbour's lights were nicer in the night.
I prefer the opinion of the people up in space.
They've seen the heavens and the earth in deep blue light.
Jenny only goes abroad to tan her legs and face.

Some people have suggested that by standing on our lawn.
You'll get a tan from the lights and the bright Santa Claus.
They say that when the lights come on the neighbours think it's dawn.
But it's not like putting elf shoes on your doggie's paws.

With Jenny's dog in shoes, he couldn't scratch an itch.
Her little boy was Santa. There are labour laws for that.
Animals don't get harmed when we turn on the switch.
There was that bird. A wire was loose. He died on Santa's hat.

The Ghost of Christmas Whenever.

The night before Christmas; Bob sat by the fire.
A brandy in hand as his brain starts to tire.
A sound on the roof of a hoof and a bell.
If he comes down the chimney he's heading for hell.

No need for alarm; he doesn't exist.
With brandy in brain and mind in a mist,
Bob thought for a while it was Santa and co,
Heading for harm and his last ever 'ho'.

But he did hear a sound from somewhere above.
He'd go for the roof, if push came to shove.
He sat there in silence and listened for sounds
Of nine airborne reindeer doing their rounds.

He heard the clock ticking. He'd surely hear hooves.
"Forget about pushing and shoving on roofs.
"Apart from the fact that they never make noise,
"Imaginary beings can't be seen with your eyes."

He sighed to himself when he thought of tomorrow.
For Bob it's a season that's verging on sorrow.
"Snowballs and sleigh bells and slow hells at dinner.
"Crackers with things for the bin for the winner.

"People in hats made of paper like tissues.
"A turkey that tastes like he died with deep issues."
He started to doze with his dreaming of doom,
But woke at a noise from somewhere in the room.

He opened his eyes and a vision appeared.
He closed them and tried to forget what he feared.
But he couldn't forget that stood on the mat
Was the ghost of a man in a black and grey hat.

Drink can play tricks with his mind and his liver,
But never before has a voice made him shiver.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Whenever,
"And I bring people gifts on Christmas Eve, never."

"Or Christmas Whatever. I don're really care.
"It's your lack of interest that brought me out here.
"The spirit of Christmas is dying a death.
"We're bringing it back. On that you can bet."

With Bob on his chair, the ghost stood before him.
It stood there until this was starting to bore him.
The ghost gave a cough and looked ill at ease.
Bob offered a drink and the ghost said 'yes please'.

He stood up and poured two very large gins.
And tried to remember the worst of his sins.
Before Bob turned around the ghost took his seat
On the chair by the fire for the comfort and heat.

The ghost drank his gin in one go and then grinned.
The grinning continued. The sound of the wind
Could be heard in the silence and stillness of night.
Bob tried to stay calm to get through his plight.

The silence did nothing for nerves that were growing.
Bob only wished for this ghost to be going.
They sat there in silence and stillness until
The ghost held his glass out for Bob to refill.

Another two gins and then nothing again.
Bob looked at the clock, a deep breath and then
He said to the ghost, "Have you something to show?"
The ghost didn't answer. He didn't quite know.

Bob said that he thought a Christmas Eve ghost
Would show people things that they need to change most.
Things from the present or things yet to pass.
The day we descend beneath daisies and grass.

The ghost looked confused for a second or two,
But then an idea of what he should do.
From his coat pocket he took out a box,
A lot like the things Santa puts in big socks.

The box held a video tape that Bob played.
He turned up the sound. Attention was paid.
He felt as if this would bring knowledge and luck.
But the tape showed a dog running after a duck.

The ghost found it funny. "That's my dog," he said.
"There's a very good bit with the duck in the shed."
At the scene in the shed, the ghost couldn't speak.
Tears of laughter ran down his cheek.

Bob wondered why he was watching this thing.
He laughed when the duck hit the dog with its wing.
He tried to look deeper than just the mere gist.
There must be a message or moral he missed.

The ghost stopped laughing. Bob said to his guest,
"I must have missed something. I did try my best,
"But all I could see was a duck with a dog,
"The shed and the bucket, the lawn and the log."

His guest remained silent, not even a blink.
He stared back at Bob who was trying to think.
He went through the tape once again in his head.
He said, "Is the moral the way the duck fled?"

The ghost still said nothing. Bob tried again.
"Or is it the dog in his run round the bin?
"He loved to just run without worry or care.
"The simple things matter at this time of year."

Silence again, but a smile and a wink.
Bob felt elated. He needed a drink.
He filled the two glasses, pressed rewind and play.
He felt a warm glow in his mind on this Day.

Midnight had struck. Christmas began.
The ghost said goodbye to a happy new man.
Bob wouldn't let his guest leave without giving
A gift to say thanks to the dead from the living.

The ghost said, "Whatever. That's in my name.
"Or is it Whenever? It's all just the same."
Bob gave a bottle of wine to the ghost.
Who left with a smile and a wave for his host.

Bob was left full of good cheer and goodwill,
Despite the late hour and the room in a chill.
But then an idea came into his head.
Could the ghost just have been his wife's uncle Ted?

"It couldn't have been. At least I don't think so.
"It's all just the same. I don't need to know.
"Dogs chasing ducks are what matter the most.
"Not thinking your wife's uncle Ted is a ghost."

The Sky's Perfect Dome.

A woman down in Kerry in a hurry to her sister,
Who just won a foot spa in a table quiz.
She knew that Hölderlin wrote a poem called 'Der Ister'
And she knew what the Teletubbies' favourite food is.

As she drove she looked up to see the lights in the sky.
The moon and the stars and the bright spinny thing.
For how long have spinny things been there and why
Is that cow floating up to the lights in a ring?

Maggie's hurry became more hurried than ever.
She got to her sister's and told her the story.
But her sister maintained that most cows will never
Rise to the sky. They don't need the glory.

"The lights were just stars. The sky is so clear.
"Millions of stars light up this night.
"And the stars are always much brighter up here.
"Than down in the town with smoke and streetlight."

Maggie had doubts but she started to think.
"In the quiz she did get that question on food.
"She always had brains and they're untouched by drink.
"Decades of reading and knowledge accrued."

And then her sister explained that the cow
Was just a constellation of stars in the sky.
It made perfect sense. Maggie saw how
She saw the cow floating. Now she knows why.

She tried the foot spa after having some tea.
And thought about buying one all the way home.
A confused-looking cow stood under a tree,
And nothing but stars in the sky's perfect dome.

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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