Sunday, November 30, 2008

The falcon

In a chapel, on a pew,
Carved of finest English yew,
Sat a falcon in reflection,
So engrossed in circumspection,
So engrossed in fervent prayer,
He never knew that I was there.
I still remember, to this day,
Wond’ring at that bird of pray.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Really knowing me

Sweating like two seasoned lobsters, we
Lie back in the watery maelstrom.
Bubbling and belching, the convulsions
Splash merrily on noses and eyes,
Great geysers of fomenting turmoil
That liquify brooding joints and bathe
Protesting muscles in amber steam.

And still, she doth know me completely.

Jacuzzi suffused, the pampering
Minefield explodes in a thousand jets,
As the subterranean air streams
Rise and break through the surface, gurgling
In a thousand archaic voices,
A vortex of erupting steam bombs
That seem to seethe and hiss volubly.

And still, she can tell me I’ve farted.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My first poetry recitation

If I were a McCain or an Obama,
Then public speaking would not hold such terror.
But sadly I possess a chronic stammer,
A total lack of eloquence in grammar,
That renders public speaking quite an error.

Oh how I envy all those glib presenters
Who strut their stuff before the TV cameras,
Wearing shirts of lilacs or magentas,
Waxing loud in television centres –
A world away from this poor tongue-tied stammerer.

And so, when called upon for public speaking,
Politely I declined all invitations.
The merest thought would set my knee-joints creaking,
In my head, alarm bells would start shrieking
And my body would succumb to palpitations.

But then I got this bug for verbal rhyming,
Which very oft requires a live performance.
Its not an art that can be done by miming
And stuttering plays havoc with the timing,
According to reliable informants.

But, I saw I’d have to grasp the nettle
And wax forth like a multitude of linnets.
But even if I turned up in fine fettle,
Saying words like ‘Popacatepetl’
Might take the better part of fifteen minutes.

But still, with fear and hope in equal measure,
I took the mike and blessed the holy trinity.
“Don’t rush it son, just take it at your leisure.”
“Every word you speak will give such pleasure.”
“Farewell, oratorial virginity.”

The first line – well, it came out rather fluent,
With just the merest soupçon of a stutter.
But then for every feckin’ line pursuant,
My eloquence, I’m sad to say, played truant,
Not one simple sentence could I utter.

Oh God, it carried on, ad infinitum,
My words of wisdom simply kept on sticking.
Small gems, but sadly I could not recite ‘em,
Never mind attempt to expedite ‘em,
And the clock up on the wall just kept on ticking.

At first the crowd just sat there most politely
As I grimaced and I struggled and I swallowed.
At length, a few rose to their feet contritely
And tiptoed to the exit very lightly,
At which, the rest, in one mad scramble, followed.

Of course, as soon as I had been forsaken,
And left alone to my finish my oration,
Why then my tongue and tonsils did awaken,
As with panache I sure brought home the bacon
With a masterclass of great communication.

So now, when I attend these poem readings,
I participate with tickets for the raffle,
But despite Sir Seamus Heaney’s earnest pleadings,
I will take no active part in the proceedings,
Unless of course, they’ve tempted me at Baffle.
I wrote this originally to perform at the BAFFLE Festival - theme "The First Time" - in Loughrea on the October Bank Holiday weekend. Then changed my mind and used "Stuck for words" instead.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Villanelle villanelle

Post temporarily withdrawn - entered for competition

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stuck for Words [a true story]

Inside my stomach, wolf cubs growled persistently,
A chipmunk gnawed away deep in my bowels,
The consonants had favoured me consistently,
While all he’d had were double-u’s and vowels.

At Scrabble, I had always been the victim,
However many I got, Dad got more.
But now I knew I’d well and truly licked ‘im,
And gleefully I totted up the score.

“Two-four-eight for you,” I almost gloated,
“Two-eight-six for me, I think you’ll find
My lead is quite substantial and, yea verily,
One tile left, you're thirty eight behind.”

He gazed upon the board for half a minute,
And bit his fingernail in contemplation.
“That Zed’s a hoor," I warbled like a linnet,
“Methinks you’re in a hopeless situation.”

He scanned the board again, his grey head shaking
While all the time my heart was thumping madly,
I smiled at all the noises he was making –
I’d give him all the time he wanted gladly.

The end was near, he faced the final curtain,
Those huge defeats now firmly in the past.
He’d never get that Zed out, that was certain,
The mantle would be handed o’er at last.

His tile lay still. And then I watched him take it,
And at the end of “QUART” he placed his Zed.
“Ten and fourteen’s twenty four, I make it,
And doubled up is forty eight,” he said.

The vict’ry in my grasp just turned to ashes,
Poor Tantalus in Hell ne’er knew such pain.
I packed away the game with tear-stained lashes
And it never saw the light of day again.
Recited at the very wonderful BAFFLE festival in Loughrea October 2008 but it didn't get out of the heats.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Even more Oedilf limericks

Oh, pity the poor daddylonglegs,
An insect with not-very-strong legs.
They'd better support 'er
If they were much shorter —
Perhaps she was given the wrong legs?

A lecherous North Wales Druid
Ran amok in the county of Clwyd.
The birth-rate increased
And, in fact, only ceased
When he used up his bodily fluid.

Said Fergus to Ike, "This hand's more like
A hand. I am sure you recall, Ike,
That the old one was twisted.
It's now been de-listed
'Cause the doctors agreed it was clawlike."

The Daíl (Ireland’s parliament) houses
A host of buffoons in grey trousers.
With hope’s candle flickering,
They spend their time bickering
And can’t see what ire it arouses.

A property agent was selling
A “compact” and “bijou” cliff dwelling.
Constructed of granite,
One tenant (a gannet),
The reasons to buy were compelling.
What magic conspires to draw me
To this Danish Pastry before me?
Its currants and icing
Appear so enticing –
“Oh, eat me!” I hear it implore me.

The Danube, that deep, brooding river,
Springs forth where the Alpine goats shiver.
To the Black Sea it wanders,
And languidly ponders
The secret it has to deliver.

The Davy Lamp, housed behind glass,
Burned blue in the presence of gas.
This welcome recruit
Gave canaries the boot
And saved many a coalminer’s ass.

My mother’s poor face became ashen
When told darning had gone out of fashion.
“When a sock’s had its day,
You just throw it away?”
She demanded, her voice full of passion.

A blood clot is prayed for (obtusely)
When someone is bleeding profusely.
But when bleeding has stopped,
The prayer should be dropped,
For blood, when inside, should flow loosely.

Sexy ailments

Some ailments are deemed to be sexy,
Like TB and grave apoplexy.
Though jaundice and croup and dyslexia,
In my humble opinion, are sexier.

Ryanair self service

The trolley moved slowly down the aisle,
Though we couldn’t really smell much cooking.
There were sandwiches, bars and camomile,
And some sweets, they said, for sucking.
The girls served the passengers with a smile,
Despite all the finger-crooking,
And my son sneaked a Coke and a sandwich, while
The two of them weren’t looking.

Rien de merde, Phil

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in this town.”

Now some might claim
My brain is lame
And – no defence!-
I am quite dense,
But even I,
A brain dead guy,
Have some idea,
As yet unclear,
Where this jailbreak

What if?

“I’m not that fond of apples,” said Eve.
“I much prefer those peaches.
Their pulpy flesh
Is sweet and fresh
And more worthy of your speeches.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Oedilf Limericks

Oh the hills that adorn Connemara
Paint themselves with a purple mascara,
And in midwinter’s reign,
They will show their disdain
By adopting a snow-white tiara.

Up above, where the stars are all clustered,
Shining forth in the dark, brightly lustred,
They are sprinkled like dust
On a black velvet crust,
Like white pepper adorning black custard.

As the bishop became even dozier,
The priest grew increasingly nosier.
He picked up his crook
And he had a good look
Till the bishop yelled “Hands off my crosier!”

The bungee jump stifled all laughter:
No-one noticed the white-water rafter—
As the jumper, with craft,
Dived headfirst through the raft,
And the coils of his rope tumbled after.

The Chief of Staff watched as his army
Were drowned in a Red Sea tsunami.
On the far side, young Moses
And the slaves thumbed their noses.
"Oh God," said the Chief. "I'm going barmy."

Clotted cream, it's alleged, has been spotted
On grocery shelves, firmly potted.
It's the true taste of heaven
When served fresh in Devon,
But in pots on the shelves? Ah, get knotted!

The conductor of the band had to warn its
Brass section 'bout squabbling like hornets.
He threatened to dump its
Recalcitrant trumpets
And melt down its quarrelsome cornets.

The laundrymaid took the bed linen
"Eatin' choc'late in bed?" she said, grinnin'.
But then came the smell
And she let out a yell,
"Its a stable that they should've bin in!"

There once was an old basket-maker
Who made baskets upon his half-acre.
He wove every reed
Very slowly indeed –
He was hardly a mover and shaker.

The Christian liturgy's written
To stop people biting when bitten.
But though I agree
With this wholeheartedly,
I'm still gonna smite when I'm smitten.

At Amsterdam airport, the lack
Of forethought caused Seamus some flak.
“Your visit, you’ve stated,
Is business related?”
“Oh no, I’m just here for the craic.”

Desp’rately, Frank mopped his brow.
“Oh, please do not say goodbye now.”
But the leggy Italian
Caressed his medallion
And left with a tremulous “Ciao!”

My darling wife oft remarks I seize
Up totally in household crises.
If the loft tank’s o’erflowing
Or the heating’s not going,
I yell “Someone help! I’m a Pisces.”

A bar-room chanteuse from Muskogee
Complained that the place was too smokey.
“I can’t hit the right note,
I’ve a frog in my throat
And my voice is decidedly croaky.”

When Hamish pulled out of a date,
His friends called him “tumid” and “blate.”
“She doesn’t scare me,”
He said fearlessly
“But her father’s the toon magistrate.”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oedilf Limericks

This is an interesting site I came across by accident. The aim of is to provide a definition for every word in the dictionary in limerick form! So far they've got as far as da-. Here are a few I submitted - the words in bold are the definition words

McCartney, you won’t be a star
If you take up that old bass guitar.
You need to play lead
If you want to succeed
And become a big rock ‘n’ roll star.

A woodsman said conspiratorially,
“I demand that my grave’s marked arboreally.
In eternal slumber,
Surrounded my lumber,
I want this!” he snapped dictatorially.

In mediaeval Europe, black plague
Killed millions from Cork to The Hague
King Edward the Second
Died too, it was reckoned,
Though some say he just became vague.

An otherwise fine doctor would not
Inject, for he was not a good shot.
The one time he tried,
Sure, the patient near died
When the needle, off mark, caused a blood clot.

When a cow in Wisconsin became a bull,
The owner thought this might be claimable.
“Oh the courts will decide
If the last owner lied,
Or whether ‘tis God who is blamable.”

Francis Drake’s circumnavigation
In England caused great consternation.
The flat earthists suspected
His tale was injected
With great leaps of imagination.

The Roman historian Sallust
Walked barefoot o’er a quayside of ballast.
Though he rubbed on some cream
Once aboard the trireme,
The soles of his feet became calloused.

A confederate soldier outspokenly
Declared that the guns should have woken Lee.
When their fury was vented,
The soldier relented.
“I take it all back,” he said brokenly.

Aboard a Berlin-bound Lufthansa,
There performed a world-champion break-dancer.
‘Pon his head he gyrated.
“What a nut!” someone stated,
But the lad was too dizzy to answer.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The daffodil

‘Twas not his twice daily carafe o’ dill
That rendered the poor Earl of Stafford ill.
“The wrong plant was crushed,”
The Earl’s physic gushed.
“Oh what laxative powers has the daffodil!”
Submitted to the Washington Post in a limerick competition

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The shoe

“I am not a clog from old Amsterdam,
A slim patent leather from Italy.
In fact, I’m not terribly sure who I am,”
The world-weary footwear thought bitterly.

“I am not a boot from the town of Beirut,
Nor a brogue from the Siwa Oasis.
The shoes that I meet on the well-trodden street
Think I’m not fit to tie up their laces

“Always I must roam, trying to seek out a home,
My sole’s in a restless condition.
I constantly feel that I’ve no time to heel
But I have to continue my mission.

“From the great Russian Steps to the Golden Gait Bridge,
The corns and the chilblains accrue,
But I just give a chuckle when I feel I might buckle,
For I am the Wandering Shoe.”

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Arthritis of the ear

Arthritis of the ear is sad to witness,
Grandad tries to wiggle without joy
He dreams he has the former aural fitness
That he had when he was but a boy.

Arthritis of the ear’s a sad condition,
Independent waggling might well hurt.
Old age accelerates this with attrition,
Ears remain immobile and inert.

Arthritis of the ear’s a sad affliction,
Terrible for those who must go through it.
Grandad cannot cope with this restriction
And uses fingers manually to do it.

The secret

I’ve carried round this secret now for ages
And kept it very close against my chest.
It’s never been transcribed on diary pages,
Never been remarked upon in jest.

This secret has grown heavy on my shoulders,
It’s made me a neurotic nervous wreck.
It feels as though a bag of heavy boulders
Has been fastened most securely round my neck.

It’s mine and it will likely stay mine only,
I could not bear to publicise my guilt.
Carrying it around is very lonely
But beans, I always say, should not be spilt.

So do not ask me what it is I’m hiding,
For I have now become the secret’s slave.
There’s no way I will ever be confiding.
I’ll very likely take it to the grave.

Friday, August 1, 2008

An attack of dryness

“It seems, your Royal Highness,
You are suffering from dryness,”
The physic said with visible regret.
“The cure for this affliction,”
He went on, with more conviction,”
“Is – how can I put this? – getting wet.”

“Wet?” the King exploded,
Like a prize bull cruelly goaded.
Are you, sir, a complete psychopath?
You’re consumed by arid slyness,”
Carried on His Royal Highness.
“I sentence you to go and have a bath.”

Dirty old truck

He drives around the town in a dirty old truck,
Chatting up women and trying his luck.
Whatever his chat-line, he sure has the knack,
For the women all nod and climb up in the back.
He’d make a small fortune if he wrote a book
About driving round town in his old pick-up truck.

I was there at six o’clock

I was there at six o’clock
But where the hell were you?
I had on my brand new frock
Of white and royal blue.
I could get no answer
From your phone, you dirty chancer.
Now you have the cheek to knock
As chancers often do

Joan told me she saw you
Walking out with Ce-li-a.
I’d do anything for you
But you chose to go with her.
The world knows she’s a trollop
And I’ll soon give her a wallop
But clearly I must bore you
If she’s who you prefer.

I was there at seven o’clock,
Re-touching up my face
But Celia from Castleknock
Was walking in my place.
Like a dog I panted
And you sure took me for granted
But it was a mighty shock
When you touched second base.

Get away from my front door
Or I will surely scream.
Dad was right about you, for
He warned me you would scheme.
And Dad is in the kitchen
And I see the curtain twitchin’,
So stay around a little more
And you will see some steam.

I was there at eight o’clock
You dirty, rotten cheat,
Watching all the people flock
To Clancy’s up the street.
But now my heart is jumping
And you’re going to get a thumping,
Better run around the block
Or end up ‘neath a sheet.


The winds do not blow.
They are sucked by a man
On a hill in Japan
And blown into a can
And then fed to a crow.

The man may perspire
But his lungs are still strong.
He’s done this so long
In his ochre sarong,
He’s beginning to tire.

Now bloated and gay,
The crow just gets fat.
He wears a lead hat
With a peak long and flat
So he won’t blow away.

“One day,” says the man,
“I will up and go home,
Maybe travel to Rome
With my paper and comb
And paint like Cezanne.

“Then my crow will grow lean
And the winds will die down
And the people will frown
In the country and town
And ask what it might mean.

“They’ll consult all their books,
But they never will know
‘Bout this aerated crow
And why winds will not blow.
Oh this job really sucks.”

Flock of sparrows

I passed a flock of sparrows today
And – bless their little hearts –
Tail-feathers shaking,
All were making
Little sparrow farts.

Someone stole our mountain

Someone stole our mountain, it was there but yesterday.
They think they might have come at night
and carted it away.

We now can see a village, there, across the flat terrain,
Yesterday ‘twas hid okay
but now the view is plain.

No more we have a mountain, behind which we can hide,
And now we see the greenery’s
the same on either side.

We’ve quickly come to realise just what a mountain does –
We’re hidden from their Peeping Tom
and they are hid from us.

So if you’ve seen a mountain that is only new installed,
Please send it back in a flat pack –
the product’s been recalled.

Please send it quick as possible, perhaps by UPS.
DHL will do as well
or Federal Express

Monday, July 7, 2008

Deer stopped play

After we’d washed up and dried up the delph,
We’d go to the park, my son and myself,
And walk down the paththat we knew well would take us
To the pitches now silent on those fifteen acres.
On those fine summer evenings, he’d practise his shooting
In case Mr. Ferguson started recruiting.
Aim for the corner, go hard and go low,
The place where the goalie does not want to go.
And when he got tired, I’d throw the ball high.
“A bullet from Bierhof!” he’d valiantly cry
As he leapt like a salmon and flexed his young
To leave this poor keeper a sad, flailing wreck.
One time we were playing and who should appear
But a herd of the Phoenix Park’s world-famous deer.
Those amiable bucks and their dewy-eyed does
Soon brought our brief game to a premature close.
In ‘mongst the gathering, I heard my son say,
“Whaddya reckon, Dad? Deer stopped play?”

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Betty’s inquest

“Oh, she had guts,” the witness crowed
At the inquest of poor old Betty.
“They were spilled all over the road
Like a plate of wet spaghetti.”

The long strip of asphalt

This long strip of asphalt is really psychotic,
His jaw firm and steely, his eyes quite hypnotic.
He strangled a laneway one night in its bed
Then kicked a poor avenue twice in the head.
A road in the centre was taken aback
To suffer a terrible frenzied attack.
He drowned a short detour while taking a bath –
Consensus is, he’s a complete cycle-path.

The Yoga teacher

The Yoga teacher shook her head
When offered an injection.
“The tooth will out,” she calmly said
“But on mature reflection,
The pain I feel will surely end
Through natural sedation.
By concentrating, I’ll transcend
Dental medication.”


Oh those who seek out UFOs
And alien interference,
Take a tip from one who knows
And cease from this adherence.

They’re here already – living proof
Of alien expansion,
All together ‘neath one roof –
The Girls of the Playboy Mansion.

One final snore

One final snore and then no more!
She sat upright in bed.
No sign of life” The sleepless wife
Discovered he was dead.

She gave a frown, then settled down,
Not caring once to weep.
God bless those who yearn only to
Enjoy a good night’s sleep.

She shouldn’t have laughed

She laughed when I said that we’d lost one nil
In that pretty little way she had.
I guarantee you, she’d be living still
If she hadn’t made me so mad.

I mourned her, as her severed head
Dropped lightly down the shaft.
Oh no, my love would not be dead
If only she’d not laughed.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Charge of the Light Brigade – did it exist?
Revisionists are to the fore.
They say that, in fact,
No criminal act
Took place in that terrible war.

They say things weren’t quite what they seem,
The sequence is somewhat unclear.
They deny the event
Had a criminal bent.
They claim that there’s no crime ‘ere.

Driving down an empty N3 at five o’clock in the morning

Is this the same road
That I’ve sat on and cursed?
Stuck behind a wide load
That can’t seem to find first?
The same road in the mornings
Where ‘slow’ is okay?
Where motoring warnings
Advise ‘keep away.’
The same road with lane-hoppers
That play double-dare?
Who’ll one day come croppers
On this thoroughfare?
The same road with folk bridling
And drumming their fingers?
Where engines are idling
And time slowly lingers?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Le Nom de Plume (de ma Tante)

She was quite a troubled young belle,
Who hailed from the city of Nîmes,
And I was a gay ne’er-do-well,
Far away from my home town of Sneem.

This bittersweet mademoiselle
Appeared in my life like a dream.
She told me her life was sheer hell,
Which I thought was a little extreme.

“Sue, c’est le nom qu’on m’appelle,”
She lied, as we sat by the stream.
And despite her untruths I still fell
For the mis’rable Sue de Nîmes.
Writers Group homework - names or nicknames

Monday, June 2, 2008


To the Cathedral church of St. Canice,
I wandered with Quarrelsome Janice.
To the top of the tower we ascended,
Where the views of the city were splendid.
But Quarrelsome Janice railed strenuously
‘Bout problems she raised disingenuously,
And soon she became quite hysterical,
Using language distinctly unclerical.
Now the foot of the tower of St. Canice’s
Is where the poor Quarrelsome Janice is.

Another Arts reception

It’s another Arts reception,
Clinking glasses red and white.
Another fraudulent deception
Full of navel-gazing shite.

Give me taties plain and filling,
Give me cabbage thick and green,
For this critic isn’t willing
To splash out for haut-cuisine.

Pubs with small alcoves

Pubs with small alcoves
And dimly lit corners
Should put up bright signs
Which specifically warn us
That finding the toilet
May be somewhat tricky
For people like me
Who have eyesight that’s dicky.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

National Breast Day

It was today the breasts appeared
Aroused from winter’s slumber,
And how my inner heart was cheered!
A thousandfold in number.

For months, they’ve been locked out of sight,
Entombed in winter woollies,
But now they’ve burst into the light,
Those rounded hills and gullies.

No more encased in outerwear,
Encased in coats and fleeces,
They’re now exposed to sunlight’s glare
And dark abruptly ceases.

Big ones, small ones, ones that bounce
About on different levels.
Once the bishop would denounce
The flaunting of these devils,

But the first warm day of every year,
I reckon, is the best day.
The day when all the breasts appear –
Hats off to National Breast Day.

Poetry Festivals

It’s a clique,
So to speak,
These august poetic readings,
If you’re in,
You can grin
And relax throughout proceedings.
If you’re part
Of the heart
Of the free verse literati,
Then you’ll know
Where to go
For the very latest party.
And it does
Not help us
On the outside dumb and jealous,
That you’re kind
And inclined
To be straight in what you tell us.
As we wait
By the gate
And we dally and we dither,
What we crave
Is a wave
And a nod that says come hither.
As I watch,
Sipping Scotch,
With my writing fingers trembly,
How I yearn
In my turn
To be part of the assembly.

Bank Holiday Monday

A day too rare
With thick warm air
And ne’er a cloud in sight.
No breeze dispels
Those cut-grass smells
And all is close and bright.

As in a trance,
The midges dance
Around my choc’late sundae.
Again, again,
I check for rain,
This May Bank Holiday Monday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

At the tree

To this tree I sadly wander,
Sit and in reflection squander
Many hours, in which I ponder
Life’s long road from birth to tomb.
Holly, swerving ‘pon that Honda
To this tree that spelt her doom.

‘Neath these branches, grandly spreading,
Watching leaves now lightly shedding,
Here I rest, on compost bedding,
Contemplating life anew,
Where we sat and planned our wedding
‘Ere that blast of chill wind blew.

Trees? Oh chop ‘em down and burn ‘em!
True, I started once to learn ‘em,
But this giant at my sternum
Could be alder, elm or yew.
Maybe cedar or laburnum –
Frankly, I don’t have a clue.

Holly, she was just my elder.
On a date I often held ‘er,
Took her palm and gently smelled ‘er
Perfume daubed upon her wrist.
Much more pop’lar than Imelda,
With whom I’d once had a tryst.

Unlike Olive, plane but tender,
Dad a Cypress moneylender,
Mam an Aspen gender-bender,
Hazel eyes and chest nut big.
Willowy she was and slender,
But she did not give a fig.

As I said to Rowan and Edward.
This ashen girl from Holyhead would
Go like any girl so red wood,
Spruce in imitation fir.
Now alas, she’s merely dead wood.
In her box, I think of her.

“Life’s a beech,” she told the vicar,
In a life like Alan Wicker,
But she was too fond of liquor
And missed the turn doing ninety four.
The bike was sick and I was sicker
But sadly she was sycamore.
Another bash at the tree homework

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The true meaning of Easter

Standing on tiptoe and stretching their legs,
They’d build up their towers of lush chocolate eggs.
With faces transformed by great smiles of delight,
They measured success, not in numbers, but height.
With Aero and Bountie and Crunchie and Flake,
They’d go for the spindliest tower they could make
And squeal in alarm as it started to sway,
Unstable through adding that last Milky Way.

And I’m sure, deep inside, they were fleetingly sad
‘Bout the single, dark choc’latey egg that I had,
Which I kept by my chair in the usual place,
Resisting the urge to start stuffing my face.

But while the twin towers were razed to the ground,
My solit’ry egg was intact and still sound,
And when their last eggs had been eaten with haste,
I’d smile at my hungry and slender-toned waist
And reach for my egg in my ponderous way,
While the others looked on with an air of dismay.
And I’d break off small pieces and moan with delight
At each languid and luscious and succulent bite.

One year, they removed all my choc’late, I’m told,
Replacing the wrapper back into the mould,
And when I reached down for my moment in time,
They laughed till they cried at their terrible crime.

Those eggs, so unhealthy and way over-priced,
Prove Easter is centred round chocolate, not Christ.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The unlikeliest hero of all

Raise a wand to the honour of Severus Snape,
Whose loyalty meant that he could not escape
A terrible death by a monster who thought
That he was the servant of Lord Voldemort.
Was ever a hero so wrongly misjudged/
Was history ever so grievously fudged?
Too late did the annals decide to reshape
The sad twisted story of Severus Snape.

He was scorned and despised; he was hated and jeered,
Suspected of treason as Voldemort neared.
But still he determined to guard Harry’s head
And all for the love of a woman long dead.
He was the unlikeliest hero of all
With cold, piercing eyes and a Slytherin drawl.
Yet Hogwarts remembers that black flowing cape
And honours the valiance of Severus Snape.

Meeting at the tree

You and me
By the tree
In the park.

By the oak,
‘Neath the cloak
Of the dark.

You’re me mot.
I’m your bloke.
O’er the knot
On the oak,
Carve our mark
In the bark
For a lark.

In the park,
You and me,
By the tree.

O’er the knot
Carve our mark
In the park.

You me bloke?
You me mot?
Want a smoke?
What you got?
‘Neath the cloak
Of the oak
In the dark.

Matches spark
And we smoke
‘Neath the oak.

There we squat,
Smoking pot
In the dark.

You and me
In the park
By the tree
For a lark.
Have a smoke.
You’re me mot.
I’m your bloke.
More homework for the Phoenix Writers Group - "write something about a meeting and / or a tree"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Farewell my darling

Our lives were off-track.
We had long ceased to grow.
We were riddled by flak
And she wanted to go.
I was taken aback
By this unforeseen blow
But her old Almanac
Said it had to be so.

There’d been plenty of craic
In those days long ago
When we drank Armagnac
And she called me her beau.

There’s no point looking back,
I declared to poor Jo,
As I dropped the large sack
To the river below.

The Five Senses

“This site,” said Justice Smelling
At the open planning hearing,
“Contains a tasteless dwelling
Which, one feels, is unendearing.”
Homework for the Phoenix Writers Group. "Write something on the five senses."

Monday, March 17, 2008

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade

I feel I ought to praise
Some great Being so divine
For the many joyous days
In this mundane life of mine.

For the day my spindly arms
Lifted up the Cup on high,
For the day my partner’s charms
Blotted out the moon and sky,

For the day my kids were born,
For my visit to Beijing,
For the wondrous Matterhorn
Shining bright in early spring,

For Shels’ 96 Cup win,
For that day in Alton Towers,
For the day that we moved in
To that tiny house of ours.

But my fav’rite ever day
Was the day my kids relayed
That this year, was it okay
If we skipped the Grand Parade?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Flood rising

The waters kept rising.
Wasn’t too surprising,
Someone built an ark which was very enterprising.
Ma and pa were baling,
Little Jem was wailing,
Hopper found a door and decided to go sailing.
Jeepers creepers!
The water’s getting deeper.
Climb onto the roof, ma, the floodbanks are failing.

Cars were being swept away,
Sightseers kept away,
Old Mr. Venous in his bedroom slept away.
The wind came squawlin’,
Little Jem was bawlin’,
Hopper sailed by with a sheet of old tarpaulin.
Climb the spire,
The level’s getting higher.
Better watch out, ma, the rain keeps a-fallin’.

Helicopters buzzin’
Ten to the dozen,
Old Mrs. Shiels was rescued by her cousin.
Kitchens were brimmin’,
Street lights a-dimmin’,
Hopper floated by with a door-load of women.
Shake and shiver,
Main Street’s a river.
Hold onto your hat, ma, I think we’re going swimmin’.

Frogs were a-croaking,
Little Jem was soaking,
Old Mr. Venous thought that we were joking.
Night owls hooted,
Main Street was muted,
Down at the plaza, the shops were being looted.
Head for the high lands,
Rooftops are islands,
Stories of drownings were urgently refuted.

The tempest was raging,
Ma was quickly aging,
Storm wasn’t tired of the war that it was waging.
Pa looked staggered,
Hopper seemed haggard,
Cops shot a looter, said he was a blackguard.
Adrenalin pumping,
Fishes were jumping,
Mayor in his dinghy strutted and swaggered.

Poor Farmer Baker
Who owned the hundred acre,
Looked out the window and prayed to his maker.
Pa was scowling,
Little Jem was howling,
Hopper never tired of the women he was towelling.
There went McCreevy
With a stolen TV,
Chief of Police said he favoured disembowelling.

Water kept flowing
To wherever it was going.
Little Jem laughed at the bubbles he was blowing.
Pa seemed affected,
Shopping mall’s protected,
Mayor was only thinking of getting re-elected.
Folk couldn’t win,
Hopper’s done in,
Grab a rubber ring, ma, high tide’s expected.

The torrent was flying,
Pa started crying,
Said it would be months till the house started drying.
Ma was worn out,
Front gate torn out,
Hopper’s bold prediction really had been borne out.
All the Bible thumpers
Were queuing up to jump us,
Poor Farmer Baker couldn’t get his corn out.

The Mayor was bloodied,
The waters got muddied,
The bar was closed because the cellar had been flooded.
The army dropped butter
Onto our gutter,
Old Mr. Venous battened down the shutter.
Watch out, bud,
It’s one hell of a flood.
“Best night of my life,” I heard Hopper mutter.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

In the dead of night

The cheesy moon shone brightly
In the lazy summer heat.
A comet, fleet and sprightly,
Flashed across the blackened sheet.
The crickets chirped contritely
To the low nocturnal beat,
As her severed head rolled lightly
Down the peaceful cobbled street.

Bus lane bounders

I’m sitting in a jam
And it’s furious I am,
Watching cars fly down the bus lane at great speed.
My brake pedal’s on the floor
For a quarter hour or more
And I feel I’m getting very mad indeed.

I’ve no problem sitting pretty
In the centre of the city
If I knew that everybody did the same.
But to watch them all fly by
Makes me hang my head and cry.
Do these people not possess an ounce of shame?

Of course no traffic cop
Jumps out to make them stop
And give these ******* ******* their desserts.
They just speed on blithely by
With a twinkle in their eye,
And Lord, I’m telling you, it truly hurts.

Of course I have been tempted
To join in with those exempted,
Succumbing to what jealousy induces,
But I know that I’d be caught
By a most officious sort
Who wouldn’t give a fig for my excuses.

So I’ll sit here in this traffic
With my language strong and graphic
As all around poetic justice flounders.
And my engine will be boiling
And my gaskets will need oiling
As I observe these brazen bus lane bounders.

Twas a shame that she died when she did

‘Twas a shame that she died when she did,
Falling foul of the ‘lectrical grid,
She had so much potential,
She was so influential,
‘Twas a shame that she died when she did.

If only she’d seen the loose wire,
How her star could have soared so much higher,
But the wire became live
And she didn’t survive.
If only she’d seen the loose wire.

If her husband had mended the plug,
‘Twould’ve needed no grave to be dug.
She’d have ironed his pants
With a cursory glance,
If her husband had mended the plug.

‘Twas a shame that she died ironing pants,
A victim of cruel circumstance.
At the end of the day,
‘Twas an unseemly way.
‘Twas a shame that she died ironing pants.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The song of a despairing father

As a father, I’m perplexed
About whom she’ll bring home next,
What lamb she’s going to lead up to the slaughter.
I am sure the next poor victim
Will soon rue the day she picked him.
Is it so hard to marry off a daughter?

There has been all shapes and sizes,
Some quite normal, some surprises,
But ultimately none has cut the mustard.
Whether gorgeous hunk or dolt,
She is bound to find some fault
To sour the fruit that’s stewing in the custard.

There’s been doctors, there’s been students,
Lecturers in jurisprudence,
Movie stars and scurrilous reporters.
There’s been schoolboys, there’s been oul’ lads,
There’s been saints and there’s been bold lads
And one I think had several great-granddaughters.

I am sure if Jesus Christ
Could in some way be enticed
To come back down from up above to court her.
I am sure that even He’d
Find it quite tricky to succeed
In meeting the requirements of my daughter.

It seems the male population
Doesn’t match her expectation,
Breath smells bad or nasal hairs need trimmin,’
Oh the list is getting daughter
For my fussy, single daughter.
I daresay after men, she’ll start on women.

I just sit here in my roost
And I’m politely introduced
And sometimes they will shake my hand and smile.
And if I seem a trifle distant,
Bit stand-offish and resistant,
Its ‘cos I know they will not pass the trial.

If I engage in conversation
As an elderly relation,
I feel as if I’m wasting precious breath.
In a week, or little more,
He’ll be promptly shown the door
And I’ll be inching nearer to my death.

To gods Christian and Norse,
I’ve prayed that one might stay the course,
That one of them might live to tell the tale.
If one pacifies the dragon,
Then by God we’ll share a flagon
Of the finest of the country’s real ales.

If only one could subdue her,
He need no longer call me ‘sir,’
I’d praise his name through this and many lands.
He could take my house and car,
Run my tab up at the bar,
If only he would take her off my hands,

But till then I’ll sit and pray
As each new suitor has his day,
Not knowing he’s a number not a name.
Perhaps I’ll smile politely,
Share a witticism lightly –
But if I do or not, it’s all the same.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sixteen years

It’s sixteen years, my wife declares,
To my most disbelieving stares,
Since we were here in Galway last.
Sixteen speeding years have passed
Since we pushed through those bustling streets
And bought the children sticky sweets
To bribe them into keeping going
With their pace forever slowing.
Sixteen years since sudden rain
Drenched four of us with deep disdain
And forced us in a bland café,
Where we were mugged the tourist way.
And later in the Skeffy Arms,
The Coke glass slipped from sweaty palms
And stained the dress so newly bought,
Which drew from me a sharp retort.
And then we had a blazing row
(Still unsurpassed from then till now)
In which the others on the stage
Gazed awestruck at our righteous rage.
And now we’re in the present tense.
It’s sixteen years since those events.
Oh tribal city of maroon,
Why did we come back so soon?

Shopping with my wife

Standing around while my wife looks at blouses
And dresses and knickers and untapered trousers
And angora scarfs and machine knitted sweaters
And pinstripe pyjamas and flavoured french letters
And swimsuits and corsets and bras with no strapping
And multi-pack briefs that have far too much wrapping
And handbags and knee socks and terylene blazers
Umbrellas and perfumes and stockings –
Ah jaysus!

The fields

As the bumping, grinding train
Left the town of Athenry,
The visible terrain
Changed to fields as we chugged by.
And young Notcher, chin in hand,
Moved by such a wondrous sight,
Pointed long at said fields and
Remarked ’pon their lack of height.
Unlike others we had seen,
Such as those in Ball’nasloe,
These, so luscious and so green,
Laid particularly low.


Older people tend to go
To places like old Ballinasloe,
But younger people have a blast
And up the tempo in Belfast.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Unfinished symphony

Don’t let your top lip curl, my dear.
I thought it right you knew
I’ve found another girl, my dear,
Who’s lovelier than you.
She’s loyal and she’s dutiful
And never in a mood.
Above all else, she’s beautiful,
A mass of pulchritude.

Oh do not throw the delph, my love,
Lay down that plate and cup.
You’ll only cut yourself, my love,
When you’ve to pick them up.
I thought perhaps you’d bid me well
And thank me from the heart.
For several years you did me well
But now it’s time to part.

Oh please put down the knife, my sweet,
I hate the sight of blood.
So does my future wife, my sweet,
So loving and so good.
We’ve often shared the same pursuits,
I’m sure you will concur,
But when I judge your attributes,
You’re not as good as her.

Oh lay aside that gun, my child,
Although it’s filled with blanks.
For then you’d be undone, my child

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Answering my computer

Mr. Paperclip man,
Please explain, if you can,
How it looks like I’m writing a letter?
When it’s clear as bright lighting,
‘Tis a poem I am writing?
A two year old kid would know better.

Does no warning bell chime
When short sentences rhyme
On occasions when “verses” occur?
Does a siren not whistle?
It’s not epistle,
It doesn’t even start with ‘Dear Sir.’

Or are you implying
Without really trying,
That my poems work better as prose?
How dare you infer
Such a critical slur?
Would you like a hard punch in the nose?

So, next time I’m penning
An ode to Lord Denning,
Please do not pop up, if you can.
Though your brain is immense,
No poetical sense
Lies within, Mr. Paperclip Man.

Just desserts

The advertising executive
Was caught with his hand in the till.
Arrested and tried,
Though the crime was denied,
They sent him to Clover Hill.

But only two cells were vacant,
One padded, one hard as hell,
But, although this ad-man
Was not a real bad man,
He ended up given the hard cell.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lying abed, contemplating a storm


The gale whipped down from stormy skies.
Our flimsy windows rattled.
Trapped in bed, I closed my eyes
As man and nature battled.
Why can’t we work in harmony,
I desperately pondered?
My mind full of the energy
Out there, just being squandered.


The howling wind then reached it’s peak,
It seemed though war had started.
In empathy, I raised one cheek
And eloquently farted.


The theatre roofing took the brunt,
The slates ripped up and blown away.
The stage was drenched: the signs out front
Advised the public – rain stopped play.


Oh God bless the folk in the Doldrums,
Lying back in their hammocks at ease.
They all should come over to Ireland,
Its clear that they haven’t a breeze.