'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009
A New Start
What can you do when your brand new canoe
Gets broken in two on the rocks,
When you're carried away and you're soaked by the spray,
And the water gets through to your socks.
This happened to me and I thought it would be
The end of my life on this earth.
My life flashed before me. Most of it bored me,
Apart from the day of my birth,
And this day as well just before my death knell.
The bits in between were all dull.
My best anecdote was about a blue boat
And some sweets eaten by a seagull.
I still feared the end as I rounded a bend.
The river was starting to slow.
Safety was gained and tranquillity reigned
In the river's serene, gentle flow.
I found I could stand and I knew that dry land
Would be under me and my feet.
My two feet were wet but I'd just cheated death.
The end of its threat was a treat.
I felt overjoyed. I swore I'd avoid
Sleep-walking through every minute.
A life full of highs was the glittering prize
And I was determined to win it.
Routine was my foe but I just didn't know
How I'd begin my attack.
Some people said I should dye my hair red
And that I should dress all in black.
A friend said they're wrong -- I should grow my hair long,
And sculpt it with gallons of gel.
My sister's advice was drink whiskey with ice,
And eat fudge till I felt unwell.
My brother said no -- I should buy a crossbow
And shoot at defenceless young trees,
Or swim with the sharks, go skating in parks,
And grow a thick beard full of bees.
He said my new start could be taking up art.
He thought I should try painting nudes,
Because art's fulfilling and frequently thrilling,
As long as it's women, not dudes.
I dwelled on this thought but I knew that I sought
Something I'd not done before.
Something exciting and fun would be my thing,
Or life would remain a dull bore.
To know what you're doing when going canoeing
Can only enhance the sport's thrills.
But it wasn't for me. I had started to see
That unhindered ignorance kills.
I've found something new I can manage to do.
It's wearing two stilts on my legs.
Many the fall has forced me to crawl
Since I first extended my pegs.
But still I keep going. I'm seeing and knowing
A brand new perspective on things.
My much-improved height gives the feeling of flight,
As if I have sprouted two wings.
My eyes see much more on the faraway floor.
I've found one or two inner truths.
Kittens look smaller now I've become taller.
My new wooden feet are in boots.
I wipe them on mats. I love it when cats
Sharpen their claws on my stilts.
I've had some mishaps. Some women collapse
When I put on one of my kilts.
I look down on people. I'm like a church steeple
When I wear my conical hat.
I feel six feet longer. I'm mentally stronger,
But when I lie down I feel flat.
With consummate ease I have saved cats from trees.
I've tucked a bird into it's bed.
A fireman called Dave used his ladders to save
A cat who was stuck on my head.
Each hour of each day brings adventure my way.
Boredom is lost to the past.
Whatever I do feels exciting and new.
The river of time's flowing fast.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Katie bought a farm
To escape from city life.
Months of rural charm
Have erased all urban strife.
She's satisfied her hunger
For a sense of inner peace.
She feels she's getting younger.
She is looking like her niece.
The farm's abundant chores
Give an unexpected high.
She longs to be outdoors
With a vast expanse of sky,
Escaping from her cage,
As soon as morning fog clears.
When she tells friends her age
They say, "Is that in dog years?"
She thinks that this refers
To her fresh-faced, youthful guise.
She says the fresh air blurs
All the lines around her eyes.
But I think that they say it
Coz she always wags her tail.
She'll gladly spend a day with
Sheep and wild flowers in the vale.
Last night I went to visit her
But she was not at home.
I met a good inquisitor
In Katie's garden gnome.
His red eyes asked me why
I had visited this place.
Great liars couldn't lie
When confronted by his face.
I turned the other way.
I decided I should wait.
Night engulfed the day
As I stood outside the gate.
I counted Katie's chickens
And then they counted me.
I'm equal to Charles Dickens,
At least in quantity.
I'm no less than Obama.
We both amount to one,
As does the Dalai Lama
And the man who weighs a tonne.
I count myself twice daily.
Many times I find
That my memory can fail me
And the number slips my mind.
I'm good enough for Katie.
She won't want more than one.
The expert groups who rate me
Say I'm twice as good as none.
I'm twice as good as Bertie.
She told me she can tell
That his aura is unearthly,
But I think that's the smell.
His strict organic farming
Has been frequently discussed.
Women find him charming.
Men have been nonplussed.
I don't know what they see,
Or more likely what they smell,
But there's so much more in me
And I own a car as well.
The foremost days of my life should
Arrive in my mid-thirties.
I believe I'm just as good
As forty-seven Berties.
This is what I told myself
To pass the time while waiting.
I'm a bargain on the shelf,
An entertaining play thing.
She looked glad to see me
When she came back home that night.
If Scottie tried to beam me
I'd resist with all my might.
Wild horses couldn't drag me
From this place, or not that far.
Ten grannies couldn't nag me
Into cleaning out my car.
I asked her if she'd like to
Spend an hour or two with me.
We'd walk or take a bike to
See the cats defend their tree.
Or go to play some bingo
In the local village hall.
The caller learnt the lingo
From an Eskimo called Paul.
He sings the bingo numbers
In a powerful tenor voice
While his Jack Russell slumbers
In the midst of dancing mice.
Katie didn't take long
To decide she'd like to hear
The bingo caller's love song
To the numbers he holds dear.
I felt like I'd been multiplied
By seventy-nine or eighty.
I felt such joy I could have cried
And this applied to Katie.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
My Two Ghosts
The ghosts who haunt my house at night
Would call each other names and fight.
I'd shout, "Shut up. I'm trying to think."
In truth I needed peace to drink.
The noise would cease and peace would reign.
From further fighting they'd refrain.
An hour or two of this would pass.
They'd be as quiet as folk at mass.
The whispering would then begin.
The lack of tonic in my gin
Would calm my nerves. I wouldn't shout.
Wisdom pours out from my mouth
After I've put good drink in.
I'd tell the ghosts the way to win
The game of life. They'd played a set
And stopped to play the game of death.
One night I dimmed lights in my head
And thought the time had come for bed
When suddenly a priest appeared.
He spat out words through his thick beard.
The words were weapons used on me,
To make my feet retreat and flee.
The crucifix in his right hand
Was telling me that I was banned.
I stood my ground. I told the priest
He wasn't talking to the Beast.
He managed to control his fear
And he explained his presence here.
He said his name was Father Jim
And that the ghosts enlisted him
To exorcise me from this place,
Evicting me from my own base.
This story made me feel ashamed.
The fault was mine -- myself I blamed.
I'd never failed to be unkind
To my two ghosts. I'd been so blind.
I'd shouted at them every night.
My bark was far worse than my bite
But still they lived in constant fear.
I vowed to fill their lives with cheer.
I asked them if they'd like to go
To see a match and they said no.
My offer made them more afraid.
They feared a trick, a trap I'd made.
I told them I had changed my ways.
From now on they'd get lots of praise.
I'd take an interest in their lives
And spend less time around my knives.
They realised there was no catch.
They let me take them to the match.
The ghosts said they enjoyed this outing.
I strained hard to refrain from shouting.
In this I failed, but all my words
Were aimed at two opposing herds
Who fought each other for a ball.
The ref advised against a brawl.
I bought some ice creams and some sweets.
The ghosts said 'thanks' for these small treats.
Since then we've been to many games.
We've seen the players' cars in flames.
We often play Monopoly,
And sometimes chess, improperly.
I'm sure our good rapport will last.
Their days of fear are in the past.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
A Walk in the Evening
Jenny takes a walk around
The edge of town at evening time,
Beyond the houses built behind
High walls where thieves and creepers climb.
Waning smiles and winning styles
Still fill the fields as evening fades,
A minor hint of menace and a
Sparkling glint of metal blades.
Fashion shows look like white sheets on
Clotheslines catching gentle breezes.
Laws on shoes are eased, releasing
Toes who thank their Moms and Jesus.
The sound of old typewriters
Reaches ears a hundred yards away,
Ears at either side of heads of
Actors who perform a play.
They're trying to decipher words and
Meaning in typewriter sounds,
And this provides the script for their
Eight-day-long play that still astounds.
Peter and his monkeys are the
Typists working on a novel
All about a builder with a
Shovel who creates a hovel,
Selling it for millions to a
Homeless man who gets the money
From a bank who check his income.
His career is stealing honey.
This man will put his hands in hives,
Infuriating honey bees.
People pay to lick his hands.
He'll take all credit cards and peas.
Jenny calls to Peter's place and
Asks if he would like to join her
On her walk around the town,
Then coffee in a local diner.
Peter leaves the house and all the
Monkeys who continue typing.
One of them pretends to type by
Tapping on the copper piping.
Peter walks with Jenny down a
Path that leads them round a field,
And takes them past a knight who wields
A gleaming sword and wooden shield.
He's fighting with a bishop to
Decide a minor land dispute.
Fighting is so futile. They're
Distraught when they recall this truth.
They'll have to share their feelings
Before reaching reconciliation.
They've just passed their courses to
Take up their latest occupation.
They stop to think of what they've learnt,
The coursework burnt onto their brains.
Jenny walks with Peter down the
Path that leads to narrow lanes
Where many people walk their dogs.
A fluffy, playful poodle bounds.
Aging heavy metal bands are
Holding onto baying hounds.
They walk around the pond where many
Women kneel to kiss old toads.
They haven't found Prince Charming but
At least one toad in ten explodes.
Peter feels as if a light
Has just come on inside his head.
He's found the perfect ending,
A good way to put his book to bed.
The homeless man goes to the beach
Where he's mistaken for a bear.
A supermodel kisses him
And he becomes a millionaire.
He doesn't question how it worked.
He doesn't know how much he's got.
Jenny goes with Peter back to
His place to explain the plot
To his hard-working monkeys who are
Tiring as the day departs,
But news of this new plotline is
Enough to light fires in their hearts.
The monkeys feel excited now they're
Sure they have an end in sight.
Jenny hears them typing as she
Looks out at the start of night.