'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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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.

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A Walk in the Rain

 | poetry from Ireland

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