'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008


The Choir

Don't call him Lenny or Len. It's Lionel.
He likes to drink brandy and listen to vinyl.
Schubert, Beethoven and Mozart all float
His perfectly kept metaphorical boat.

On weekends he meets with his fellow bell-ringers.
Their heavenly ringing annoys the hell singers
Who sing in the choir. They burnt an old car.
On a fine summer evening, when seen from afar

The flames of the car looked a lot like a candle.
When they perform the Messiah by Handel
These vandals are angels who couldn't melt butter
In mouths that will never resemble a gutter

When uttering words in their angelic voices.
Their language is never as complex as Joyce's.
As soon as they set foot on secular ground
It's like a pet dog who turns into hell's hound.

They shout and they swear and they make fun of people.
They're like this while still in the shade of the steeple.
Their favourite form of violence is verbal.
They smoke cigarettes they refer to as 'herbal'.

They drink foreign beer that is cheaper than water.
Alcohol is the director and author
Of most of the mayhem that trails in their wake.
Its script made them steal a four-tier wedding cake.

They ate some themselves and they gave some to cows.
They've studied how trousers of all sizes trouse,
Housing two legs along with sundry bits,
Let out on Sundays or housed in The Ritz,

The best Sunday trousers that money can buy,
With room for a robin to nest in and fly.
They've noticed that trousers are better off off.
Instead of a hat, it's better to doff

Your lower half's clothing. It's like saying 'cheers'.
The singers had been stealing trousers for years
When they realised that it's more fun to fill
These garments with cake. It gives them a thrill.

One man protested at their bad behaviour.
He said that you'd need a small guard dog to save your
Clothes from becoming a vessel for food
That you haven't digested or tasted or chewed.

The choir were unhappy that he should complain.
Their new aim in life was becoming his bane.
They spread margarine on the seats of his car
And then added jam while he drank in a bar.

Lionel decided that action was needed.
The warnings of jam sandwich cars, he heeded.
After much thinking he formed a good plan.
His weapon was Robert, a peace-loving man.

Robert brought calm to the most hostile places.
His words would erase seething anger from faces.
Serenity reigned each time he was around.
People who'd look for their teeth on the ground

Would end up instead in the lotus position.
Discussions on wrestling would turn towards Titian.
He'd saunter through riots and whistle a song.
He'd bring warmth and joy to an unruly throng.

Lionel convinced him to sing with the choir.
He'd be the best blanket to smother their fire.
And so far he's had some effect on this mob,
Though he seems to shudder when they call him Bob.

They no longer swear and their shouting has been
Curtailed to occasional venting of spleen.
Their alcohol intake's been greatly reduced.
Their insults and put-downs are now quotes from Proust.

But he's changed as well. He wears a T-shirt
That says 'I'm a Spider'. He's started to flirt
With Sheila, his neighbour, who loves making pies,
And saying 'Let's take off our clothes' with her eyes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


The Scarecrow

Gilbert lives in crumbling rooms
Above his pub, where business booms
Despite the fact that on some nights
When he turns on the brightest lights

He'll see a dozen blinking eyes.
Sinking heads will briefly rise.
He keeps his regulars content
And they won't care how much they've spent.

He banned a one-man dancing band.
He shunned a drunk who couldn't stand.
He barred a dull and boring bard
And burned a teen's fake ID card.

His regulars are free to speak.
Truth and knowledge they will seek.
They'll wonder why the seasons change
And why their fingers smell so strange.

They'll talk about why horses neigh.
Sometimes they'll wonder how to say
'Can I have ham sandwiches?'
In many foreign languages.

Jack complains about his wife,
Who talks to her huge carving knife.
They rarely interact with Jack,
Who thinks they're longing for his back.

Derek often mentions love
Between a pigeon and a dove.
Fred talks of his head's red bugs
And Felix makes them wear ear plugs.

He shouts when he attempts to speak.
He's got no paddle in his creek
When he's without his hearing aids.
He hates his muddle-headed maids.

They always mix up cold with hot.
They lose his hearing aids a lot.
The aids can turn up in the roses
Or even up the maids' own noses.

Dan was always very quiet.
Sometimes he'd leave the pub at night
Having just said 'yes' and 'bye',
And 'I found staples in my pie'.

But he was struck by lightning once
And after this he spoke for months.
They thought his vocal cords would fail.
He told his drinking friends this tale:

One night they had discussed pyjamas,
The ones you'd wear in the Bahamas
If you were sleeping with a model
Who just can't sleep, assuming God'll

Turn a blind all-seeing eye.
He'll wink and nudge you when you die.
He wouldn't mind your earthly bliss.
They spent four hours debating this.

At midnight Dan set out for home
And on the road he found a comb.
This simple comb instilled a fear.
He thought the Banshee must be near.

She combs her hair and wails to tell
Of someone's death, a mournful knell.
And he could tell the way this bodes.
He hurried on down narrow roads.

He prayed to God's angelic guards.
When he was just a hundred yards
Away from home he heard a noise.
He soon was faced with two glass eyes.

The eyes contained two small red lights.
They both lacked coal-black depths and whites.
These glowing eyes seemed out of place,
Embedded in a scarecrow's face.

This beast seemed out of place as well.
He looked like he belonged in hell.
He'd left his field and climbed a gate.
His smiling face exuded hate.

His mouth had rusting nails for teeth.
He'd screws for nails in wooden feet.
His coat was stuffed with straw and rats.
The smell attracted three black cats.

The scarecrow said, "It's cold tonight."
Dan came close to taking flight,
But as the voice rang in his head
It sounded like his neighbour, Ted.

The scarecrow spoke about the cold
And how the stars were made of gold.
He said 'goodnight' and walked away.
Dan was not inclined to stay.

He hurried home and went to bed.
The sound of what the scarecrow said
Occupied Dan's head till dawn
When his familiar world was drawn,

And coloured in by sunlight's rays.
Blues replaced the blacks and greys.
He felt no fear, no need to hide
Until he heard that Ted had died.

And Ted's scarecrow could not be found.
They saw strange footprints on the ground,
The imprints of two wooden feet
That bore a being no man should meet.

Silence greeted Dan's strange tale,
But thoughts of models never fail
To brighten up the atmosphere,
Aided by good stout and beer.

They remembered their debate.
Derek took this chance to state
In bed he'd wear a suit and tie,
But still his nerves would make him cry.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Ingrid's New Hobby

When Ingrid gives up smoking
She takes up choking chickens.
She tells them she is joking
But their sad expression sickens

Herself and all her friends.
She makes her nieces cry.
So her break from smoking ends
And the chickens jump with joy.

She needs another hobby
To replace the cigarettes.
Her friends try hard to lobby
For some golf or tennis sets.

But she's bored to tears by tennis.
As a hobby it's too bland.
And she'll always be a menace
With a golf club in her hand.

She has a go at rowing
But it fails to satisfy her.
And as for pumpkin-growing
Its attraction passes by her.

She tries to form a jazz band
But they soon fall down a hole.
If football games went as planned
She would score the winning goal,

But instead she keeps colliding
With gorillas dressed as players.
Some team-mates are in hiding
Behind hedges, saying prayers.

She hikes through fields and hills
And she spends weekends in hovels.
She sets up whiskey stills
And she writes some short crime novels.

They're written all in numbers.
The killer's always four.
While its victim, seven, slumbers
It tip-toes across the floor.

But painting is the pastime
To replace unhealthy smoking.
After smoking for the last time
She can still refrain from choking.

She's great at painting shoulders
But she's not so good with heads.
They'll look a lot like boulders
Or resemble Mr. Ed's.

That's why you'll see so many
Headless people in her pictures.
Her ninety-year-old granny
Doesn't mind the lack of fixtures.

But some friends are freaked out
By their lack of head and hair.
Without a nose and mouth
They'd need other holes for air.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Frank met Flora

One day in August Frank met Flora,
A ballerina who could bore a
Donkey's hind legs off with ease
And tranquillise the donkey's fleas.

Despite her quite enormous height
He fell in love on their first sight.
His love did not stay unrequited
Even though she tried to fight it.

She surrendered to his charms,
Which shone and screamed like car alarms.
Other women ran a mile
But she could only stare and smile.

Their love was peppered with real hate.
From heaven's door to hell's black gate
Was just a step, a skip, a trip.
He feared he'd lose his mental grip.

On holiday he nearly died.
She pushed him down a mountainside,
And he survived an avalanche
By biting through a crunchy branch.

After saying he would leave her
He found employment as a beaver.
He made home-made furniture.
Her attempts to burn it were

Thwarted by a clever dog
Who's good at posing as a log.
Frank used only ancient tools.
Teeth and fingernails made stools.

Through blinding talent, grit and graft
He made a fortune from his craft.
After selling his old car he
Bought a shiny new Ferrari.

But still he felt alone and sad.
People thought he must be mad
When Frank and Flo were re-united.
He felt happy, cursed and blighted.

She felt blessed and joyless too.
She sighed her face a shade of blue.
He thought that love, despite its strife,
Would doom them to a married life,

Just like a horse who kicks and bites
And neighs maniacally at kites,
And pulls a speeding burning carriage.
She wouldn't give her hand in marriage.

She only gave two fingers and
She made use of her other hand
To push him backwards down a hill.
He played Jack and she was Jill.

He spent the next year far from harm,
Growing turnips on a farm.
But still he missed his one true love
Sent to him from God above,

With input from the beast below,
To make his soul-mate in his foe.
Their fling was not quite finished yet.
At a turnip show they met.

He proposed again and she
Said 'yes' with undiluted glee.
He smiled as if he'd found his grail.
He wagged his head's brown bushy tail.

In her first duty as a wife
She cut it off with a carving knife.
His tail, that is. Not his head.
It should be said she's great in bed.

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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