'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010


Higher Education

Leonard was acknowledged as
  A truly splendid grouch.
He practised his appalling leer
  In tandem with his slouch.

He thrived in finding minor faults
  And forming long complaints.
He'd talk until the sun's descent
  About the sins of saints.

He did his best to irritate
  And trigger indignation.
His skill at instigating fights
  Took years of education.

He mingled with distinguished staff
  At college in Antwerp,
Where lecturers encouraged him
  To loudly belch and burp,

And slurp his soup in restaurants
  To anger other diners,
Agitating adults there
  And entertaining minors.

These fledgling young curmudgeons would
  Begin to bloom and burgeon.
They'd marvel at the mess he made
  As he devoured his sturgeon.

For many years he took great pride
  In all his churlish labours.
But he grew bored with being shunned
  By relatives and neighbours.

He undertook a PhD
  In charm and being nice.
His tutor watered potted plants
  While singing 'Edelweiss'.

Leonard learnt to stand up straight
  When walking down the streets.
He smiles and waves or doffs his hat
  At everyone he meets.

He studied how to be a source
  Of solace and of peace.
At first his neighbours sensed a wolf
  Beneath his snow-white fleece.

But now they see a little lamb
  Whose tender heart is big,
Until he starts to eat and he
  Reminds them of a pig.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My Holiday with Dahlia

My holiday with Dahlia
Began in Lower Saxony.
In trekking through Westphalia
We'd trails and mountain tracks to see,

And views infusing ecstasy,
Euphoria before repose.
Taxing thoughts perplexing me
Were always eased by alpine shows.

Windmills in the Netherlands
Made these two featherheads feel light.
Days spent turning red on strands
Would be lead weights to halt our flight.

To Italy we went by bus
And floated high on Bolognese.
People less adventurous
Add Venice to their holidays,

And go where tourists congregate,
Like sheep converging on the piers
On well-planned days that culminate
In serenades from gondoliers.

But God-sent thrills on trips abroad
Are found by seeking something new.
In Venice we were over-awed
By rhubarb at a barbecue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Elmer Keeps Most of his Toes

Elmer feels blessed on a cold winter night.
He'll proudly show off the effects of frostbite,
Frightening children with two missing toes,
And tales of their ghosts in his shoes when it snows.

The rotting and rattling confined to his boot
Were typical of his impractical youth,
When he was incautious in his expeditions,
Heedless of threat in atrocious conditions.

He thought he'd be toe-less before turning thirty,
Handy for cleaning his feet when they're dirty.
He lived with a devil-may-care attitude,
But Elmer abandoned his cavalier mood.

The thick layer of snow on an ice-coated lake
Enticed him like icing on top of a cake.
He wanted a slice he would cut with his sled.
The lake would attempt to consume him instead.

He faced his demise when he fell through the ice.
He wished he had heeded his father's advice:
"Don't walk on ice where the locals use kayaks."
The cake underneath was a huge anti-climax.

His life flashed before him in heart-warming scenes,
From his first reluctance to start eating greens,
And days from his childhood when mild-mannered fairies
Were there on his visits to eight Auntie Mary's

To banish the boredom. They gave him gold shoes.
He wore them and vanished in clouds with red hues.
His fourth Auntie Mary collapsed in surprise.
Her eerie canary kept rubbing its eyes.

He saw many scenes that were over too soon,
Recalling the joys of a June afternoon,
The pleasure of finding some jam on the floor,
The treasure he buried when he was just four,

His school days and all his audacious adventures
That started when Granddad removed timber dentures
So he could speak freely in telling his tales
Of troubles on travels in fierce winter gales.

After recalling his deeds in cold places
He saw a succession of beautiful faces,
Of family members and friends he could trust,
And women he lost due to his wanderlust.

Elmer was drowning, dejectedly charting
A course for his journey as he was departing
The land of the living with feelings of dread,
Fearing a place that was hot lay ahead.

But fishermen saved him before his withdrawal.
Visions of death and infusions of awe'll
Impel many people to steeples to pray,
Or promise to sample life's ample buffet.

But Elmer went straight to a spot near a river,
Eager to see what the ground would deliver.
His wait in the queue at the Styx to be ferried
Reminded him where his lost treasure was buried.

He dug up the suitcase he'd found as a child,
When he thought that money, like honey, grew wild.
The case contained coins made of silver and gold,
A well-wrapped revolver a century old,

And photos of something that looked like an elf.
These photos were all that he kept for himself.
He buried the gun in the suitcase again,
And gave all the treasure to two fishermen.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Matches Made on Mountainsides

His meagre zest would soon decay
When Jeff began his working day.
He hated working in a pub.
Dealings with Beelzebub

Would be appealing if that beast
Could permeate his life with yeast
So it would rise and he could find
A job to animate his mind.

Full-time drinkers chose careers
As part-time thinkers steeped in beers.
Thoughts ran wild without a leash.
These dreadful bores had found their niche

In spouting outright balderdash
And touting plans for making cash.
Their thoughts about the food they've had
Were never short of barking mad.

Jeff would have to hear their views
On cooking all desserts in stews.
The listener had little choice.
He had to hear the same advice

Repeated time and time again.
They'd tell him he should buy a hen
And keep its eggs inside a sock
That has a clasp to hold a lock.

This sock should spend six hours a day
Inside a stew of beans and whey
And chocolate fudge with double cream
To feed a thrilling troubled dream.

Jeff felt cursed by all he heard.
His ears would ache with every word.
He'd lie awake in bed at night
And try to let his mind take flight,

To float up high without its weights,
Where satellites have garden gates
And picket fences round their lawns
And awe-inspiring views of dawns.

But thoughts of work confined to earth
A mind that failed to feel the worth
Of wasting time discussing why
A crescent moon consumes the sky

Until it's fat and feels unwell
And spews a most unpleasant gel
On heads of those heroic men
Returning home to feed their hen

At half-past-two while neighbours sleep
And chatty birds still chirp and cheep,
And caped crusaders hop and skip
With lollipops in garlic dip.

When football thrills left drinkers buoyed
And Jeff's morale had been destroyed,
A well-heeled man in hobnailed boots
Related tales of men in suits

Who camp on lonely mountainsides
And wait for caves to issue brides.
Happy couples set up home
And banish days of monochrome,

With colours added to their lives,
Souls with star-like sparks that wives
Can generate with perfect ease
And light a fire to melt a freeze.

Jeff was quick to lose his cool.
He called this man a total fool
And ridiculed these doubtful claims
Of cave-made wives igniting flames.

This man took Jeff to see a cave
Where mountain air and aftershave
Combined to make a pungent smell
To lure the cave's beguiling belle.

Jeff saw many matches made.
The potent silent serenade
Of these intoxicating scents
United brides and dapper gents.

Nowadays he loves his work.
In drinkers' words great wonders lurk.
Their notions don't assault his ears
And he believes all that he hears.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


The Life and Soul of City Streets

I live in the city. I notice its laughter
In noises it makes with delight.
I'll happily listen to traffic till after
The start of a warm summer night.

From dawn until dusk I could listen to buskers,
The jesters who beat tambourines,
The chancers and dancers who gather in clusters
That vaguely resemble routines,

The singers who linger nearby the fishmonger,
Beside the cake-maker and diner,
Hoping the smells will diminish their hunger
Till dinner from someone's bin-liner.

With luck they might purchase affordable food,
Some edible vegetable fakes.
Counterfeit meals can dispel a bad mood.
Desserts are allegedly cakes.

Crowds used to flock to a woman called Betty,
A model of poise in her pose.
She'd eat a baguette and a plate of spaghetti
While singing a song through her nose.

Her talent ensured that she made enough money
To buy proper food for her act.
She'd eat fresh-baked brownies with spoonfuls of honey
And two Snickers bars when she snacked.

I ventured out busking with songs of my own.
Their structures defied all convention.
My shyness meant I would perform them by phone,
And Betty got all the attention.

I hoped that my lyrics would greatly impress her.
I borrowed from Milton and Chaucer.
She fell for a busker, a former professor,
Who sang and drank milk from a saucer.

They ran off together and married in Brussels.
They left gaping holes on the street.
One spot was filled by two whistling Jack Russells
Who worked with a lewd parakeet.

Betty was quickly replaced by three dancers
Who contemplate life's inner meaning.
Ask them deep questions and they'll supply answers
Through dances, some mime or just leaning.

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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