'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010


I Read About a Book

I read about a book that brought
  Its author ample pain,
A simple book concerning time
  And its voracious drain.

Novel ways to waste a week
  Were given light in prose,
Praising those who navel-gaze
  Outside a bar called 'Joe's',

And never think of going in
  To see what drinkers do,
Past the doors with frosted glass
  That's used to veil the view.

The book advanced a plan to rule
  The men who live in bins,
By putting dreaming voodoo dolls
  In empty cans and tins.

Green toy soldiers would suffice
  As dolls in this pursuit.
Tiny magazines in tins
  Should hint at some great truth.

Other schemes to squander time
  Included spreading lies,
Stories told of credit gained
  By tickling wistful flies,

Tales of times you failed in life,
  Lies about mishaps,
Like spending time in jail for theft
  And laughter at this lapse.

The author of the book was left
  To rue his choice of theme.
His words made eyeballs bulge and ears
  Emit long jets of steam.

His views infuriated foes
  And even angered friends.
They said it's wrong to squander time
  On fruitless, futile ends,

And that he should endorse a wise
  Approach to spending time,
Investing it in fruitful schemes
  Without resort to crime.

I realised I'm profligate
  With time on priceless days.
I use it all on little things,
  In lots of pointless ways,

Like brewing bitter thoughts about
  A lasting lack of luck,
And how I'd be a brilliant pig
  Who thrives at finding muck.

I've wasted days fermenting doubt
  Too many times to mention.
TV shows I don't enjoy
  Get far too much attention.

I've frittered days without the fun
  Of feather-headed lords.
I had to spend my grant of time
  On deeds that brought rewards.

I started with a plan to build
  A bookcase near the couch.
I have some things that count as books,
  For which my friends can vouch.

I should have known that DIY
  And I would not be friends.
We'd stay inside and fight to mar
  The mood on hot weekends.

I had to buy more books to hold
  The feeble case in place.
The structure would collapse without
  Its Jeffrey Archer base.

I realised I'd over-reached.
  I'd set my sights too high.
I'd stepped in traps I couldn't see
  While staring at the sky.

I had to find an enterprise
  In keeping with my skills,
To stay on low, alluring plains
  Instead of climbing hills.

I've been collecting empty cans
  That once contained baked beans.
Now they house toy soldiers who
  Are reading magazines.

I've needed some distraction since
  The chaos of my wedding.
My fleeing bride procured a horse.
  It's just a lie I'm spreading.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Roger's Gift of Words

Roger's demeanour would radiate grace.
He never left home without wearing his face,
A smile to enhance his benevolent eyes.
They frequently widened in pleasant surprise.

Flourishing peace would elicit his praise,
When placid life forces replaced hostile ways.
His heart was a vessel that feelings would fill.
His beautiful soul overflowed with goodwill.

When seeing humanity bloom he felt humbled.
He strived to be selfless and help those who'd stumbled
On life's crumbling pathways where potholes and pitfalls
Are threats when pet pit bulls chase prey till they hit walls.

He catered to waiters' desire for derision.
They'd line up like horses on course for collision.
When he became hoarse his invective would cease.
His words were effective as forces of peace.

Men liberated by Roger's berating
Would soon be absorbed in the labour of waiting,
Freed from the need to be called useless planks,
Armed with slow brains that are loaded with blanks,

Or worms that find riches on old rotten peaches,
Boasting a beauty beneath newts and leeches,
Or night-craving creatures whose white waiter guises
Hide wordless grim sources of unpleasant noises,

Or worthless new warts on the world's Roman nose,
Or things made of dirt that's contained within clothes,
Beneath a balloon head enclosing dead leaves,
With grasping weeds growing from trousers and sleeves,

Created by prank-loving parents to rival
The devil's foul creatures in fights for survival
In niches so lowly that tramps pushing trolleys
Ignore these unholy, deplorable follies,

The wretches well-used to receiving no heed,
Despised by the cretins and gluttons they feed,
As welcome as spots, lots of nits, knots in laces,
Paths of black cats or dark plights in bleak places.

The waiters would thank him for being so kind,
And sharing the fruits of his generous mind.
With vigour renewed and their needs satisfied,
They'd bring people food with a feeling of pride.

But some lacked the intellect needed to follow
His sentences' journeys through each hill and hollow.
For those with bad wiring in brains built for blinking
His words laid down tracks for the trains of their thinking,

A line well-constructed to frustrate distractions
That led to de-railings when passing attractions.
He kept them from scenes like the sight of a female,
Explaining in plain-spoken, painstaking detail

The ways to deploy their depleted brain power
To make sure to take off their shoes in the shower,
And shy from the views of the people suggesting
A trip down a steep hill on skates is the best thing

To do on a Saturday after surviving
Adventures in pastimes like blindfolded driving,
Or rudely depriving a toddler of sweets,
A pram-bound young time bomb protecting its treats,

Primed to explode when a crime is in progress,
Displaying great promise when tears start to flow less,
Producing surprising, profuse words of prose,
Instructions for soldiers who buy them their clothes,

Orders to deal with intruders soon filled with
A dread of the mothers outstandingly skilled with
Umbrellas they've killed with or handbags like slingshots,
Cool and cold-hearted when they're called to fling pots.

The waiters would always be thrilled with their gains.
His words never failed at re-tuning their brains,
A practical aid in retaining their grip.
This gift would be given instead of a tip.

At one local restaurant Roger was greeted
By waiters whose pleading expressions entreated
His boundless compassion compressed into slights,
A gift that would lift them to glorious heights.

His regular visits revived ebbing vigour,
Launching their spirits by pulling a trigger,
Sending them soaring to new understanding,
Slowly descending and tenderly landing.

Once when he'd finished fulfilling their needs,
They wanted to thank him for all his good deeds.
A marvellous journey was part of their plan.
They bundled him into the back of a van.

They stopped at a place with its own special style,
Where rubbish and junk had been dumped in a pile,
To which he was added, from where he could savour
The bountiful boons of their beautiful favour.

The waiters retreated to leave him alone.
Roger felt blessed by the kindness they'd shown.
Items of junk would engender great joy.
He'd treasure old pots or an unwanted toy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Filling in a Saturday

At breakfast Stephen heard a tale
His daughter, Audrey, told about
Her granddad's latest fishing trip
And how he hadn't planned to fail
In his attempt to hold a trout
And light his pipe without a slip.

Stephen saw the garden glow.
The golden light of summer led
His feet outside to stretch his legs,
An amble where the brambles grow
Till rumbles in his stomach said
It's time for brunch of scrambled eggs,

With Audrey and her teddy bear
Whose paws' sharp claws had just been trimmed.
It badly needed body hair
To bolster bits already there,
Oddly bare where brows once dimmed
Its beady eyes' ungodly glare.

His diary was empty then.
He had to try to fill the blank
Till lunch by French head cooks who daze.
He held a high contempt for men
Who'd launch a raid on time's Swiss bank
And use their loot to loaf and laze,

And lose their youth in fruitless schemes,
Shameful scams that verge on crimes
And futile dreams of future fame.
He'd recommend an aim that gleams,
A trek to peaks requiring climbs
On cliffs you'll have to calm and tame.

He saw one certain way to waste
The blank that needed filling in:
To see a sport exalting flaws,
A match on which some crimes are based,
A field with teams whose will to win
Instils a keen disdain for laws.

His feet went there without consent
From mental chiefs inventing truths.
Mistreatment had instilled a trait
Of independent thought that meant
The malcontents inside his boots
Were both inclined to climb a gate

To get to their intended goal,
Unhindered by a chilling gale
And showing splendid skill and guile
To slip the clutches of a troll
Who'd stop them stepping on his trail
And put the pompous chiefs on trial.

They took him to the field of play.
A clear, loquacious brook appealed
To spacious heights inside his head.
Ungracious lowlands soon held sway
To steal a look at men who'd wield
A deadly weapon made of bread,

Yielding dread with jam-filled bowls
And bin-lid shields attached to arms
To hamper harm from marmalade.
Percussionists played crucial roles.
They felt concussion's simple charms
In drumming sounds their armour made.

Metal helmets clanged and clattered.
Heads developed novel rattles.
Cricket bats were lightly buttered,
Bits of grated cheddar scattered,
Toasted by the heat of battles,
Tasted after oaths were uttered.

Competitors and combatants
Would edit words that cause offence,
Excising them from battle cries.
They'd exercise some common sense.
Expletives highlight flaws in gents
Whose baseball bats would flatten pies.

Stephen watched as men in leathers
Fell to blows from black umbrellas
Held by women making cheese cake.
Treacled heads attracted feathers.
Old grandmothers fought as well as
Young men rich with gold that bees make.

Some wore white bee-keeper hats
And much abused designer suits
With cheaper shoes in sock-less feet,
A look that said 'We sleep in baths
And drink champagne from worthy boots
And fight with weapons fit to eat'.

The players loved their great food fight.
They saw it as a perfect sport,
Though it lacked rules and referees,
Barring only dogs who bite.
Just one match would end in court.
A man was shot with dreadful peas.

As Stephen watched the fight unfold
He felt a thrill he couldn't hide
And he enjoyed the disarray
As chicken cricket balls were bowled
In brawls with thick fake blood applied
To flying fries in this affray,

A free-for-all that called to light
A fire to burn his diary
And enter into anarchy,
To revel in this lawless fight
Where cannon balls of pie are free,
And let his inner planner flee.

He joined the fray amidst a fall
Of makeshift missiles made from maize.
Ice cream bombs would blow and melt.
He marvelled at the way a wall
Of hoses spraying mayonnaise
Could ease the slight malaise he felt.

He swelled the ranks of troops who tried
To take a vat of seafood soup.
It brought its maker high esteem,
Providing him a sense of pride.
Their goal was dropped when Stephen's group
Consumed their guns of cake and cream.

He didn't need his lunch that day.
While fighting in the field he drank
And ate as pasta castles fell
To land on plates where raiders lay,
A perfect way to fill the blank,
His stomach and his soul as well.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Granny's Book Club

I need to find some time to feed
  The cat before I cut the grass.
If I'm to pull the weeds as well
  I'll have to mime to clean the glass.

And then I'll dust the furniture
  And light a fire to burn the post,
And after that I'll try to fight
  The aftermath of Sunday's roast.

I'll prune the plants and tune pianos,
  Bin those banjos Roger strums
To frighten mice and Emma's friends
  Who fight the noise by beating drums.

But time is lost when Granny tells
  Her many stories of her youth.
Details come adorned with bells
  That warn of ornamented truth.

She says she went to Canada
  To find a man who ran away.
He needed to be gone and then
  Begin again to plan a day,

And feel idyllic freedom in
  A boundless land to guide his soul.
Granny says she found him with
  A Basset hound inside a hole.

She coaxed him from his hillside home.
  They roamed the land on dated bikes.
A basket held the Basset hound.
  He wore his socks and boots on hikes.

In boats on lakes they'd float beneath
  A bright aurora sharing night
With stars and ancient creatures teaching
  Pensioners the art of flight.

Her stories of adventures keep me
  Entertained when I should clean
The muddy stains on rugs that flood
  The study where the dog has been.

When members of her book club call
  The start date for these mounting chores
Will be delayed as I delete
  All plans to deal with stains on floors.

The book club throbs with real intrigue.
  Mrs. Doyle's a mystery.
She'll be too vague or feign fatigue
  When asked about her history.

Her views on books have triggered doubt.
  She seems to know an awful lot
About unlawful deeds and deaths
  That breathe life in a novel's plot.

Characters of ill-repute
  Will leave her head replete with thought
On finer points of poise and pose
  When poison's poured on chicken broth.

Bread knives stuck in victim's backs
  Attract her eager scrutiny.
She knows the tricks of wicked aunts
  And youthful maids who grew to be

The beautiful blackmailer with
  A single truthful tale to tell,
The influential femme fatale
  Enthralling fools who fall to hell,

And still will feel her spell as flames
  Engulf their souls where golf once reigned.
The eighteen holes of hell are played
  On ploughed-up hills while feet are chained.

She'll lose herself in lies and roles
  To see a subtle ruse in bloom.
She'll be the blushing bride until
  A tide will come to claim her groom.

Mrs. Doyle has told us tales
  And held us spellbound by her words,
With frank accounts of fronts and feints
  And bank accounts that lose three thirds.

I joined the club to hear her talk
  Of thieves who seek to raid a heart.
It sounds as if she's speaking of
  Events in which she played a part.

She says she heard these stories from
  A friend who spends a lot of time
Perusing views outlined in tomes
  About the boiling pot of crime.

We're still left in the dark about
  Her past suppressed beneath a veil.
And did her friend provide her with
  A list of what they eat in jail?

Book club meetings last for hours
  Because of her immense accounts
Of tense encounters, hints of threats,
  Tangled tricks and cheques that bounce.

When meetings end the members leave
  And memories arise and shine.
Granny speaks of bikes that float
  Above a straight horizon line.

I'll wait until her tale is told
  And rage takes hold to make her rant
Against the book club's latest choice.
  She'll have to face a month of Kant.

Some timid members tremble when
  The words of Mrs. Doyle take flight.
They chose the works of Kant to end
  Accounts of screams and crimes at night.

While Granny's hurling brick-like words
  Instead of building walls of bull,
And Bob, her cat, unfurls himself
  From hours of sleep on balls of wool,

I'll take this chance to prune the plants
  And see if certain stains remain.
I'll go to bed so dreams can draw
  The spotless curtains in my brain.

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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