'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, December 25, 2008
It's Christmas Day and the turkey is cooked,
And Santa left boots on the rooftop -- I looked.
We've heard carol singers expressing their joy,
Still celebrating the birth of a boy.
Gifts have been wrapped and the paper torn open.
We've had a nice message of hope from the Pope an'
From Auntie Eileen, whose smile lights the room.
From Granny and Granddad we've heard only doom.
And from Uncle Christy we've heard the same tale
He tells every year after brandy and ale.
He says he grew up on a farm in the west,
An idyllic childhood for which he feels blessed.
As midnight approached on one cold Christmas Eve
Christy was just about ready to leave
Familiar surroundings to enter a dreamland
Where large packs of wolves wearing waistcoats can seem bland.
Before sleep could claim him he heard an odd noise
That made the wolves hide and he opened his eyes.
He looked out the window. The fields were all white.
A blanket of snow kept the grass warm at night.
There in a field just a stone's throw away
Christy saw Santa touch down in a sleigh.
He rushed down the stairs and went out in the snow,
Expecting to hear at least one heartfelt 'ho'.
But as he got closer he saw something wrong.
The antlers were surely too straight and too long,
And they were on Santa. They grew from his head,
Which only confirmed what his brother had said,
That Santa, the elves and all of the reindeer
Are aliens fitted with fabulous brain gear.
Christy foresaw an unwinnable battle
When Santa Claus went to the shed to find cattle.
Christy was certain he must act to save
The cattle from kidnap. He had to be brave.
His mother's unique Christmas cake came to mind.
No one denied it was one of a kind.
The cake was enormous, as big as a van.
The glare from its icing would give you a tan.
It had its own engine to move it around.
Its four wheels would easily sink on soft ground.
The garage would house it until Christmas Day.
A homemade alarm kept the burglars at bay.
Christy ran back to the garage that night.
The cake's thick white icing reflected moonlight
As it travelled over the snow-covered land.
Christy's idea went exactly as planned.
Santa had led all the cattle away,
And tried to convince them to climb on the sleigh.
He stopped when he saw the white iceberg come near,
And quickly departed, impelled by his fear.
The cattle were saved, and Christy was glad.
He knew that his mother would surely be mad.
The cattle consumed the entire Christmas cake,
That took nearly all of a weekend to bake.
Not even the tiniest crumb could be found,
But they were the best-tasting cattle around.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Visitors on Christmas Eve
Despite chaotic shopping
And the bitter Arctic breezes,
At Christmas time the milk
Of human kindness never freezes.
It's slightly alcoholic,
So it warms our cold insides,
And makes the mundane bus trips
Seem like magical sleigh rides.
Spread like ivy over houses,
Engulfing doors and windows
And inebriated spouses.
My mind will often wander
To one Christmas from my youth,
A time of awe and magic,
And of certainty and truth.
Late on Christmas Eve I heard
Some noises from downstairs,
As if someone had landed
And had crashed into the chairs.
I hurried down the steps
With no sense of trepidation,
But the person I encountered
Didn't meet my expectation.
He said he was Saint Patrick
And that Santa Claus was sick,
But he brought us Christmas presents:
A single Lego brick,
A withered sprig of holly
And a weather-beaten bell,
A crucifix, an orange
And some extra-strength hair gel.
I'd been growing out of Santa
(I was nearly twenty-one),
But I still believed in Patrick
And the saintly deeds he'd done.
He sat down by the fire
And he spoke about the ways
The country has diminished
Since his famous glory days.
"Greed's become the norm," he said,
"But greed will bring more harm
Than a team of cunning foxes
Working on a poultry farm.
"In otherworldly gardens
I have seen some wondrous sights
That have been destroyed by motorways
And other landscape blights.
"Why can't people walk?
It's much more fun than driving.
Leave a little early
And you won't be late arriving.
"And you'll save so much on fuel.
I know a man from Kerry
Who can walk for sixteen days
On a thin slice of a berry.
"TV's not so great.
There's more to see in holes.
You'll see some epic stories
If you stare at burning coals.
And they act out brilliant plays.
I saw one down in Wexford
And it lasted seven days."
He spoke for half an hour
About issues as diverse
As early Christian burials
And making your own purse.
A talking horse had been
Paying visits to our house
Ever since the sad departure
Of our singing, dancing mouse.
The doors would all be locked
But our talking friend would enter.
The horse's views on politics
Were slightly right of centre.
Ours were to the left,
And that's why we kept quiet
About the talking horse
And his visits every night.
The horse arrived when Patrick
Was discussing eating deer.
The horse said 'Merry Christmas'
And Saint Patrick froze in fear.
He stared in disbelief
Till the fear began to thaw,
Allowing him to realise
That he had dropped his jaw.
He picked it up and backed away.
He left the room in haste,
Departing through the window
As if he was being chased.
The horse said, "That's a pity.
I wish he could have stayed."
I suggested that his presence
Would be welcomed if he neighed
When meeting with the people
He has never met before.
Festive greetings send them
Through the windows or the door.
I told him he should wait
For at least a half an hour,
And start with simple sentences
Like 'I just ate a flower'.
Or wait till after drinks are poured
And quietly whisper 'cheers',
And only mention politics
To those you've known for years.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A New Light
Happy and carefree, content with his lot:
Some of the many things Barry was not.
At peace with his hat, at war with his head.
He stood in his garden one evening and said,
"Beam me up Scotty or Sooty or Sweep."
He stood with his eyes closed till he fell asleep,
And dreamt of a woman who rolled two red dice
And spoke these wise words in a beautiful voice:
"If something is true it can also be false.
Boxing can also be seen as a waltz.
Black can be white, and white can be blue.
Pigs can fly airplanes and dogs can say moo."
When Barry emerged from his sleep is was night,
But he saw his life in a different light.
Beautiful women undoubtedly love him.
And yes, they avoid him. They think he's above them.
He's seen as a charming young prince, not a toad.
The portable TV is meant to explode.
The carpet got sick and the door broke itself.
The kitchen's graffiti was done by an elf.
'Loser' and 'tosser' are terms of endearment.
He didn't embarrass himself in a beer tent.
Crying in public's no reason for shame
If most of the onlookers don't know your name.
His trousers did not fall to ground on the street.
He rose above them with two floating feet.
The woman who threw a black cat in his face
Meant to invite him around to her place.
It's obvious that she's his number-one fan.
The diamonds he bought in the back of a van
Aren't just glass. His Monet is real.
In buying his Van Gogh he got a great deal.
His last driving test didn't have a slight hitch,
And he didn't crash his Dad's car in a ditch.
He just re-designed it to make it more flat.
Great car designers would praise him for that.
But still there's one thing that he just can't avoid.
His most recent girlfriend assuredly lied
When she said, "I'm leaving this country for good.
I've just got a job offer in Hollywood.
"They want me to star in a film with Tom Hanks.
I'm playing a nun who smokes weed and robs banks."
He's not searched for her. He's not keeping tabs,
But he saw her at work in a shop selling crabs.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
He won't object when called a geek
But Simon says he's not a freak.
He once got drunk on chicken soup
And got sick in a chicken coop.
That's why he doesn't drink or smoke.
He can't take fizzy drinks like Coke,
But when he lost his spectacles
He took some blue detective pills
To make him think like Sherlock Holmes.
He found two missing garden gnomes.
He solved the mystery of the light
That travelled 'cross the moors at night.
And just before he went to bed
He found his glasses on his head.
It's only normal to expect
The pills would have some side-effect.
He spent four hours preparing food.
His dinner brought a glowing mood.
Potatoes, gravy, steak and peas,
Some cauliflower and grated cheese,
And carrots too, all lost beneath
A layer of icing, Simon's treat.
The food erased all woes and cares.
He went out hunting teddy bears.
In the woods they breed like rabbits.
These bears have taken on the habits
Of teens who drink too much and smoke
And break car windows as a joke.
Simon crept down forest paths,
Ignoring squirrels, birds and rats.
He saw a teddy's furry head.
Its patched-up face was filled with dread
When it saw Simon aim his gun.
It thought its teddy days were done.
But Simon saw the teddy's arm
Was in a sling. He couldn't harm
A poor defenceless creature who
Just needed love and thread and glue.
He walked away with peace of mind.
The bear attacked him from behind.
He was shocked by this attack.
He couldn't get it off his back.
He hit the bear with sticks and rolled
Around the ground to break the hold.
But still the bear clung on and bit
Simon's neck, despite being hit.
When they arrived in town that night
Teddy's grip was just as tight.
"Get it off," Simon shouted,
And all this time he never doubted
The presence of the teddy bear,
But no one else could see it there.
His memories are slightly blurred,
But every day since this occurred
He's had to say, "My brain's okay.
The pills made me behave that way."