'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009
A Good Fire
Sue will glide through days of light
And land on cushions in the night.
Through dark and dreary days she wades.
The faintest light when daylight fades
Will make her want to start anew,
To take a plunge into the blue
And be prepared for what comes out,
A mud-stained boot, a silver trout,
A rusting shopping trolley full
Of eye-less toy sheep made of wool,
A diary of King L Kong,
A piece of string, a dinner gong,
Or dinner guests who sound like geese,
And geese who sound like someone's niece,
A niece who talks till people fall
And many armed policemen call
To tell her of the terror she
Has spread. She's made the neighbours flee,
And some have claimed the end is nigh.
Priests say we should pray and cry.
The town's stray dogs have gone for good.
A tall, thin man who wears a hood
Enjoys the sound. It's like a song.
He taps his scythe and sings along.
Sue's prepared for what each day
Will bring to her or throw her way.
She'll cope with things as best she can,
Though she avoids her niece, Diane.
But lately not a lot's been thrown
At her each day. She'd like her phone
To ring and when she answers it
She'd hear a friend who says she's with
A famous band who can't stop crying.
The friend explains that she's been trying
To comfort them with jam and bread
But this upsets them more instead.
She tried to keep them entertained
With puppets who are well house-trained,
But her sock puppets scared the band,
Though nervous children find them bland.
Sue would call around to see
If Jaffa cakes and herbal tea
Would help to halt the flow of tears
And chase away the gangs of fears.
The tea would work. The tears would cease.
The much-appreciated peace
Would be like when her niece departs
And lightens loads on leaden hearts.
In times of crisis, Sue will thrive.
But such a call might not arrive.
She might receive a late-night call
From her impulsive cousin, Paul,
Who'll say he stole a treasure map
From some well-mannered foreign chap
Who disappears in self-made fogs
And always brings out growls in dogs.
She'd settle for a call to say
Her aunt Yvonne has gone to Bray,
Or hear her neighbour tell her that
He's sensed great evil in her cat
Since it spent two weeks in the mire,
Or even that her car's on fire.
But no such call arrives for Sue.
Nothing rises from the blue.
The phone is sleeping in the hall.
Instead of waiting for a call
She'll have to be the first to act
To light the flame this day has lacked.
She thinks about what she should do.
She could eliminate the blue
And paint the town bright red instead,
Or maybe paint her garden shed,
Or paint sad faces on her knees,
But she decides against all these.
She goes to see her friend, Nicole,
Whose brother gave up burning coal
When he began to burn doll's hair.
For starting fires he has a flair.
He started burning other things,
Like teddy bears with angel wings,
And bowler hats containing fish,
His creature in a Petri dish.
They burnt outside a nurses' dorm
And this became his new art form.
For Sue he makes a fire with these
Ingredients: a set of keys,
A lock of hair, a fake eye lash
From a doll who just says 'Mash',
A box of coffee-stained phone books
And twenty plastic pirate hooks,
Topped off with two tractor tyres.
This brings the drama Sue requires.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The clown returned home to his house after nine,
Faced with a night on his own, drinking wine.
A knock on the door brought a quick change of plan.
He thought that it might be his mother and gran.
So he was surprised to see Melanie there,
His beautiful neighbour. Her visits were rare.
The clown was delighted. He asked her to enter
And silently thanked the great forces that sent her.
In his living room a pin's fall could be heard.
She took off her coat without saying a word.
While he did his best to compose basic prose
She held up and smelled the one red plastic rose
That stood in a vase on the table beneath
A painting depicting an old naval fleet,
Ships on rough seas with the wind in their sails.
Their sailors are vessels for rum and tall tales.
She put the rose back in its vase and she said,
"I've so many thoughts fighting wars in my head.
I need to bring peace, a permanent pause
To cat-like ideas extending their claws."
The clown couldn't speak. He smiled at her face,
Thankful to have this peculiar case.
He didn't know why she was talking to him
While outside the light of the evening grew dim.
She could have been anywhere other than there.
She could have gone off to a bar with her hair.
His mental detective was looking for clues.
His long snake-like laces in over-sized shoes
Slithered away while his brain was obsessed
With figuring out how he came to be blessed.
He started to think that he'd really been cursed.
The times labelled 'best' often merged with the worst.
Triumphs soon turned into crushing defeats.
The bottomless black depth of night often beats
The daylights right out of his battered old soul
And makes him consider a job as a troll.
He wondered if she'd come to stab him and steal
His set of gold cups even though they're not real.
When he was exploring these thoughts he could hear
The odd word or two as she spoke of her fear
Of being alone late at night when she wakes.
To conquer her terror she gets up and bakes.
She makes countless nocturnal cakes every week.
Icing a cake before dawn can be bleak.
And then she went on to describe how she's bored
With most of the music that she once adored.
She hates her new job and her boss makes her sick.
She thinks that most people are hopelessly thick.
The clown realised that she meant him no harm
And he wouldn't need to switch on his faint charm.
She just needed someone to talk to, and he
Would gladly provide this good service for free.
She spoke till she looked down and saw something odd.
The slithering laces made her scream to God.
She jumped in the arms of the clown and they fell
Back on his couch. She said, "Call me Mel."
They stayed on the couch and she spoke about how
Her handbag was eaten by her cousin's cow,
And why she's afraid of some kids' TV shows.
They're like manic demons in ribbons and bows.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
When Anthony was young
He enjoyed being pushed around
In his sturdy, spacious pram.
He would laugh on bumpy ground.
His mother was the engine.
For her it wasn't fun,
And when he turned sixteen
She refused to push her son.
But he was not deterred.
He made a makeshift sail.
He attached it to the pram
And he waited for a gale.
He had to add some steering
With a rudder made of wood.
A strong wind moved much quicker
Than his mother ever could.
One day he travelled miles
Over fields around his home
Till he found a garden shed
Posing as an aerodrome.
The planes were shopping trolleys
Fitted with red metal wings,
Steering wheels and car seats
That would make them fit for kings.
He took a pen and paper
From the pocket of his coat.
The paper was a letter.
He crossed out some words and wrote:
'Official Pilot's Licence'.
He showed this to the man
Who ran this rural aerodrome.
He said his name was Stan.
He happily let Anthony
Into a plane to fly
Amongst the many birds
In cloud gardens in the sky.
The take-off was successful
And he rose above the trees
But he struggled to control it
In the growing autumn breeze.
He nearly hit a pylon
And he barely missed a rock
When the trolley grazed a hilltop
While the pilot was in shock.
He somehow landed safely
In the field beside a lake.
He went into the water
Coz he couldn't find the brake.
He's now afraid of flight.
That's why he'll choose to stay
In the safety of his pram
On a windy autumn day.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Jeremy's part of a theatre group.
His catchphrase is simply the plural of 'oop'.
He's accident-prone when he stands on the stage.
When he's expressing a torrent of rage
He frequently falls when he trips on a prop,
A table, a chair or a bucket and mop.
He'll try to go on with a mop on his head.
He'll speak of his wife and his brother in bed.
But he can't erase the effect of his gaffes.
The tragic turns comic and everyone laughs.
Even when he doesn't have any lines
His skill at demolishing furniture shines.
His fellow performers are eager to find
The reason why nerves take control of his mind
And blind him to feet that are placed in his path.
Standing on toes or the tail of a cat
Is something he'll do with an audience there
But he's not afraid of the crowd's intense glare.
Only when Sarah is in the front row
Does furniture turn into his most-feared foe.
When his fellow actors discover this fact
They urge him to turn on his charm and his tact
And then talk to Sarah and soon he will learn
There's nothing to fear and his stomach won't churn.
But he says, "I can't. My fear will still rule.
I'll say something stupid and feel like a fool.
I'll have to retreat from this most recent wreck
And press the red button attached to my neck,
"Releasing my head, which will fall to the ground
And land with a deflated basketball sound.
I'll kick my own head and I'll watch as it rolls
Into one of eighteen man-made head-sized holes.
"For this I'll receive warm applause and a prize,
A full year's supply of homemade shepherd's pies.
These I will feed to my head, which will stay
Down in the hole twenty-four hours a day."
They fail to convince him to conquer his dread
So they convince Sarah to join them instead.
They hope he will see there is nothing to fear
And he won't fall over whenever she's near.
At their first rehearsal with her he's afraid.
He thinks of the numerous errors he's made.
He knows he'll soon make a mistake and spread panic
And she'll get engaged to a race car mechanic.
But she gets there first. She trips on a mat
And knocks down a hat stand that holds a brown hat
Which falls on a cat, and covers its eyes.
The fall of the hat fills the cat with surprise
That makes the cat dash back and forth 'cross the floor
And crash into walls before finding the door.
The actors try catching the hat with a hook
Before it moves into the path of a cook
Who's holding a pot that's as big as herself.
The pot's much too big to be stored on a shelf.
She lifts it with ease because she's got four hands,
Though two of them do look like feet when she stands.
She fails to avoid an unfortunate fall.
She trips on the cat and she watches as all
The cabbage is spilled on the carpeted floor.
No one has seen this much cabbage before.
Jeremy smiles. He's filled with delight.
At last he feels free from his nerves and stage fright.
He spends a few hours with Sarah that day.
When they're not discussing their forthcoming play
They talk about fashionable hair styles for mops,
The great art of haggling in second-hand shops,
What you would say while you're hugging a tree,
And how many flies you could fit in a bee.