Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ballad of Isaiah Turner


Pretty thrilled about this one. I actually won the Baffle Bard festival organised by those wonderfully hospitable people down in Loughrea. A brilliant competition, highly recommended to all! The theme for this year's competition was Turn a Blind Eye


Isaiah Turner’s dead and buried,
Across the Styx his soul’s been ferried,
With his glass eye in its socket,
Hidd’n by neither patch nor pad.
He’d take it out, dear friends and mourners,
And claim that he could see round corners,
And sometimes put it in his pocket
Just to see what change he had.

When he was but a tiny sparrow-
-Fart, a kid with bow and arrow
Struck him square as he was playing
In his garden with his brother.
When he came home, glass eye staring,
Local kids, with wit and daring,
Nicknamed him Isaiah, saying
“One Isaiah’s than the other.”

But in time, he found that gettin’ a-
-Long with but a single retina
Wasn’t half as bad as being
Short an arm or leg or head.
And though his zero: twenty vision
Occasionally invoked derision,
Still, it didn’t stop him seeing
The funny side of what they said.

He eyed a neighbour of his uncle
And sang to her like Art Garfunkel,
Crooning in a soft voice that he
Only had one eye for her.
And then, when he’d been merely blinking,
She had thought that he’d been winking,
Which led to himself and Hattie
Having an affaire de coeur.

On honeymoon, above in Norway,
Hattie got stuck in a doorway
And only after hours of shoving,
Did he force his wife outside.
Breathlessly, he gave a snigger,
Eying her quite ample figure,
Adding, with a lot of loving,
“It doesn’t pay to be too wide.” (two-eyed)

Back home, alas, he had to pull back
From his job as rugby fullback
When the opposition spotted
He was merely single-eyed.
For every time he kept his eyeball
On each tantalising high ball,
The other team, with great guile, plotted
To take him out on his blind side.

Forgoing sport, Isaiah Turner
Got a handy little earner
As nightwatchman on a really
Come-and-get-me building site.
In his hut, he sat there sleeping
Till the daylight hours came creeping,
One eye shut and one eye steely,
Gazing out into the night.

People used to slip him money,
Which he thought was really funny,
As they could have simply purloined
Anything they liked for free.
“Turner Blind Eye” someone called him,
Which, he knew well, should have galled him,
But he liked his rump steak surloined
And he favoured Earl Grey tea.

At length, although he was indicted,
His plea of being semi-sighted,
So impressed the judge and jury
They bade him go with God’s good grace.
His former boss, beset by creditors,
Telephoned the tabloid editors,
Berating with almighty fury
The “cock-eyed verdict” in this case.

He turned a blind eye when his Hattie
Met a man with Maserati,
Not caring to uphold her honour
As most husbands tend to do.
And as she crossed the street one morning,
Did he yell a frantic warning
As the truck bore down upon her?
No, he turned a blind eye too.

But Isaiah grew despondent,
Told the Reuters correspondent
That he prayed to heaven nightly
To release him from this strife.
He felt the stigma, felt disfigured,
Hurt when silly schoolboys sniggered
At his glass eye, so unsightly.
Thus in pain, he took his life.

And if, in Paradise, St. Peter
Has to go and check the meter,
Let’s hope he does not choose Isaiah
To watch o’er those Pearly Gates.
For “Turner Blind Eye’s” bound to let in
Every foul or hare-brained cretin
Who was destined for the fire
But can pay the going rates.

4 comments:

Noelle said...

Delighted that you won! Peter , you are now a real BAFFLER!! Noelle, Portumna, BAFFLE and Strokestown-

Noelle said...

Congrats Peter. delighted you won. Welcome to the BAFFLE world! Noelle of Portumna, BAFFLE and Strokestown!

Peter Goulding said...

Hi Noelle,
Many thanks for that! As a former winner yourself, you obviously know the thrill of it all very well!
Great to see you again and will talk to you at Strokestown if not sooner.
Peter x

margaret hickey said...

Hi Peter. I'm always delighted to see you and thrilled that you have become BAFFLE Bard 2009. You are a very worthy winner and we are proud to have you as a BAFFLER!
From Strokestown to Loughrea you go, leaving a trail of laughter and admiration in your wake. Where next?
Come back to us for our year-round BAFFLE readings, won't you?
Margaret - on behalf of myself and all the BAFFLE committee