'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009


Leopards and Tigers

Martin will talk until daylight is dim
To pass on the truths that were given to him.
Flaubert and Pooh Bear appear in his dreams.
They show him that life isn't all that it seems.

They tell him the truths he will pass on to us.
He says you should always beware of a bus
That sounds as if it's in a terrible mood.
The foul-tempered ones may regard you as food.

Birds are to blame for the weather being cold.
Tow-trucks and most traffic lights are controlled
By leprechaun kings in resplendent regalia.
An area of Ireland the size of Australia

Has been sold to someone for under ten grand.
He plans to farm ducks on his fertile new land.
Martin has recently said he's been filled in
On how ancient mariners pose as young children.

These naval commanders, their ages unknown,
Are pushed in their buggies, but when they're alone
They transmit their thoughts to some friends of their ilk
And knock back the cognac like it was just milk.

Lay-abouts lie about what they've been doing.
They spend their days thinking and drinking and chewing.
They like to chew jam and make marmalade bubbles.
Their long harmless lives are devoid of great troubles.

Rest without stress is their job's greatest perk.
They're kept very busy avoiding all work.
They'd start to feel dizzy if they did too much.
Some won't go out without taking their crutch

To use as a valid excuse to sit down.
These make-believe invalids move around town
With breath-taking speed if the need should arise,
Chasing a free Holy Grail with French fries.

But Martin has said that it's all just an act.
It's drama-free fiction that's dressed up as fact.
The truth is they meet in a warehouse at night,
An unseen display of their undoubted might.

After they've split up into hunting groups
They set foot outside with the soft tread of troops.
They try to track down deadly tigers and leopards
Who come out at night time and terrify shepherds.

These curious cats can be heard whistling tunes
While walking through woods or exploring the ruins
Of castles and churches beneath star-filled skies.
They roam around houses where strange stifled cries

Would not be surprising. These houses make people
Retreat to the safety of their church's steeple.
The leopards and tigers are drawn to these places
Where absolute darkness hides hideous faces.

The camouflaged hunters will stealthily creep
Through woodlands and fields where the cows are asleep.
The farmer who owns these oblivious cows is
Afraid of the shadows cast by the dark houses.

The hunters are scared when approaching a foe,
But still they resist the temptation to go.
The leopards and tigers will smile when surrounded,
A smile with the menace to leave a poor clown dead,

But still no one flees from the scene of the battle.
When two armies fight over borders their spat'll
Be written about in the history books.
Tomes are required to record lives of crooks.

But no one will know about leopards and tigers
And hunters who'll never seek someone to buy furs.
These creatures are rarely defeated in fights,
But sometimes they choose to retreat when their bites

Are useless, left toothless by powerful spells
Cast by magicians awoken by bells.
When leopards and tigers can't kill with their mouth
They turn into fire that quickly burns out.

They're gone when their foul-smelling smoke has dispersed.
It seems they retreat to a house that looks cursed,
And they stay inside for a week or a month,
But they can't resist being part of the hunt.

The hunters work hard just to keep them at bay.
The night work means they try to get rest by day,
Or so Martin says, but sometimes it seems
Like something created by actors in dreams.

But Martin was right about teddy bears who
Enjoy scratching itches and sniffing the glue
That's put on their eyes just to keep them in place,
Under the eyebrows stitched onto their face.

I've seen these bears scratch when they wrongly assume
That they're all alone in an attic or room.
They get great relief and release pent-up tension
By scratching in places I'd rather not mention.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


No More Missing Socks

Lynn hardly ever tracked down missing socks.
To make their escapes they would have to pick locks
And show much more cunning than foxes or thieves.
No one will know when a single sock leaves.

She knew there was no point in fighting these foes.
She'd wear two odd socks that would clash with her clothes,
Affecting her statuesque pose and her poise,
A fashion mistake worse than wearing odd eyes.

But some pairs of odd socks got on very well.
After a while she could easily tell
Which personality types would get on,
And which individual socks would be gone

If they had to spend one more night with their partner.
At times she was sure she could hear a sock's heart purr
In perfect contentment with their latest pairing.
Her feet liked the contented clothes they were wearing.

Lynn got great pleasure from feeling the heat
When she took her shoes off and put up her feet
In front of the fire on cold winter nights
When Jack Frost puts in his sharp false teeth and bites.

The socks she was wearing would cuddle together.
This odd couple might look like white chalk and cheddar,
But their solid bond went much deeper than looks.
Theories on pairing socks weren't in books.

If this book existed, Lynn would have read it.
She formed her own theory. She wanted to spread it.
She started by making a short presentation
To the Town Council. The standing ovation

Never arrived. Instead her sock system
Brought stunned disbelief then a brief paroxysm
Of laughter and tears to the mayor of the town.
She felt that she could have come dressed as a clown.

Despite this reception her system soon spread.
Friends wore compatible odd socks in bed.
This led to a sudden new craze in foot fashion
That helped bring about an explosion of passion.

Socks wouldn't make their escape late at night
To flee from a partner they saw as a blight.
They were all glad to be paired with a sock
Who wasn't just randomly plucked from the flock.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Anthony's Homemade Cider

Anthony made cider
  From the apples in his orchard.
It made him sing and sound as if
  Some small dogs were being tortured.

He sang a song he wrote about
  A moat he tried to build.
He'd float a boat inside it
  When his garden moat was filled

With water from the drain pipes
  But he didn't get that far.
He dug a hole that filled with rain
  And then he drove his car

Into the hole one rainy night.
  It was truly stuck.
Anthony was mocked by his
  Arch-enemy, a duck.

His song went on for half an hour.
  The neighbours called around.
They were all well-able
  To identify the sound

Of songs induced by alcohol.
  The Hulk would fall if he
Took a sip of Anthony's
  Now famous herbal tea.

Some believe it's mostly rum
  And others think it's gin.
His latest batch of cider
  Was inside a metal bin.

The neighbours congregated
  In the garden as the sun
Hid behind the mountains
  And the day was nearly done.

The homemade apple cider
  Made the neighbours sing along
With Anthony's great chant in his
  Exciting hunting song.

He used to hum and sing this song
  And bring a small packed lunch
Whenever he went hunting
  On the basis of a hunch

That he would find some thing he'd like
  In some peculiar place.
He'd surely face a crisis
  If he thought he'd have to chase

And bring harm to an animal.
  He thought they had more charm
When they lived in the forest
  Rather than on someone's farm.

And all of them had much more charm
  When they were still alive.
He'd no desire to kill them
  And he loved to see them thrive.

His hunts have ended with the
  Capture of a candlestick
Or tiny plastic blackbirds
  Hiding underneath a brick.

He came across a rocking horse
  That grazed on grass around
The woods despite the sparse short grass
  Where moss and rocks abound.

When he had sung his hunting song
  The neighbours all agreed
That hunting was the one thing
  They would definitely need

Before they found an ending
  For this interesting night
As they were joined by shadows
  And the rising full moon's light.

Anthony assented to
  His guests' sincere request.
He led the hunting party
  Down a path into the west.

They didn't stop their singing
  When they didn't know the words.
The party was observed
  By the animals and birds.

A barn owl looked and listened
  But he couldn't give a hoot
About the need to sing at night
  And other faults of youth.

They didn't leave the footpath
  When it went into the woods,
Where they saw twenty people
  Who were dressed in robes and hoods.

These people formed a circle
  In a clearing where a sheep
Looked like he was hoping
  He was dreaming in his sleep.

The happy hunting party
  Were intruders in this play,
And they were made audition
  For the dreaded role of prey.

They stood inside the circle
  And they listened with concern
As someone listed out the things
  This cult would like to burn.

The cult could find a fault
  In nearly everything they saw.
Even cloudless summer skies
  Exhibited a flaw.

They were far too blue.
  Would it hurt them to turn green?
And flowers were too friendly.
  Nature's hippy dean

Should not allow the students
  To grow freely as they please,
And bring in rules on covering
  The naked limbs of trees.

They'd like to ban all cars,
  And let empty roads enthral.
Modes of transportation
  That refuse to move at all

Would then become compulsory.
  We'd ride lethargic mules,
Donkeys, pigs and garden seats
  Or even human fools.

The fools would wear a pointy hat
  That bears the letter 'D'.
When they're not playing taxi
  They'd arrange the chairs for tea.

Tea and cakes at three o' clock
  Would be a thing of fear.
If someone were to miss it
  They'd be sentenced to a year

Working in a toy shop
  Where the only toy was mud,
And every customer complained
  That they'd been sold a dud.

Houses would be banned as well.
  We'd live in holes instead.
Six or seven fools would join
  To make a single bed.

This is what the cult believed.
  They never once felt doubt.
They were set for action
  But before they brought about

Their plan to spread the good life
  They would need a sacrifice,
Something less than elephants
  But more than rats or mice.

Anthony decided he
  Should speak up in defence
Of simple joys and ample highs
  With cans of beer in tents.

He spoke of lazy Saturdays
  And jokes concerning pants,
And sipping homemade cider
  While the moths perform their dance.

The cult conferred amongst themselves.
  Doubt had raised its head.
They were clearly taken by
  What Anthony had said.

The leader spoke. He said he hoped
  The sheep would understand
Why they had to abandon
  All the rituals they'd planned.

The metal bin of cider
  Was too tempting to ignore.
They all went back to empty it
  And sing till they were sore.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Going Underground

This is Karen's view of life:
House and husband make a wife.
Wife and husband join to make
Children who'll keep them awake.

Kids turn people into parents.
Man and wife or those who share tents
Suddenly find they've become
Parents of a child or some

Children they've not met before,
Little people who can roar
Like tiny alcoholic lions,
As sensitive as active mines.

You'll have to tip-toe round the room.
Their eviction from the womb
Will make them prone to fits of rage.
It's clear the play pen is a cage,

A stage for kids to act out plays
And get applause. The parents praise
Every single sound produced
By the captive reading Proust.

He's more advanced than other babies.
For his first photo he could say 'cheese'.
Parents must accept their roles,
Abandon dreams of scoring goals,

Or being birds, graceful larks,
Or growing beards to look like Marx.
Lifelong dreams of being a truck
Invariably become unstuck.

You won't perform for massive crowds
Or sail the skies on fluffy clouds.
You'll be on board the good ship Ground
And there you'll push the kids around

In expensive new wheelbarrows
While single friends fire crossbow arrows
From a yacht when they are drunk,
Or dance all night to jazz and funk.

Karen wants to do these things
Before exchanging wedding rings
And settling down with her new spouse
In their superb suburban house.

She seeks adventure all the time.
She'd rather not commit a crime.
There are legal ways to find
The kind of fun she has in mind.

You don't need yachts or burning cars
Unless you're backed by lucky stars
And pray out loud to bless us, Mary.
Crossbows aren't necessary.

She loves exploring caves and holes
Created by the human moles
Who'd rather tunnel underground
Than make a whispered word-like sound,

Their insufficient contribution
To debates on air pollution.
They won't pollute the air with words
Like interjections dropped by birds.

Other people make them fearful.
Their best pretence at being cheerful
Brings the gas-lit glow of gloom
And silence to a crowded room.

They clear all minds of sunlit bays
And paint depressing winter days
On city streets as afternoon
Performs its final sombre tune.

Night and fog envelop all.
Streetlights fuelled by gas will call
The hidden people to their mass
Where they'll turn solid gold to brass.

They're enthralled by winter nights
When all the city's must-see sights
Cannot be seen. They disappear.
Their absence aids the atmosphere

That makes most people stay inside,
A sense that Death has found his bride
After centuries of waiting
And in their love they're celebrating

Nothingness and emptiness.
It seems like more will soon be less.
Summer days can seem this bleak
When those hole-dwellers start to speak.

They need to hide or run away.
They'd love if night replaced the day,
Replete with fog and sounds of hounds.
The ghosts of dogs mark out their grounds.

With no darkness to confide in,
Without a fog-filled night to hide in,
They use their tunnels to escape
Despair of their life's pear-like shape.

Karen has encountered these
Tunnel-dwelling folk who freeze
When she appears and says 'hello'.
If she smiles as well they'll go.

Some will slowly thaw and talk
Or they'll communicate through chalk.
Once she found a cave that led
To tunnels that filled souls with dread,

But she went on. Adventure beckoned,
Electrifying every second.
She met a group of tunnel folk.
Before she said a word they spoke.

They said they'd formed this force to fight
An evil subterranean blight,
Beings from an ancient race
Who fiercely guard their hidden base.

The rocky ground began to shake
And Karen feared a great earthquake.
She heard a loud, ferocious roar.
The tunnel folk went to their store

Of guns, grenades and ammunition.
They told her she could join their mission.
This adventure, she conceded,
Was much more than she really needed.

She left the tunnel and the cave
Before this place became her grave.
She soon forgot the tunnel's menace
And sought adventure through lawn tennis.

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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