Poetry

In the Land of Ire & Vice – a poem about an island

In the Land of Ire and Vice

It was all about buy to let

Invest in property to get rich quick

Sell a field

In the high risk “I risk” sea

And buy a nuclear power station with the profits

 

Pushing a trolley

Down the Emerald supermarket aisle

Dark horses gallop home to roost

A neigh shunned once again

A light knock to the shin

But the shin feigns injury

My head hits the ground, concussed

An array of light engulfs my vision

An “eye array” you might say

But they’ll deny it ever existed
Would you Adams and Eve it?

A man cuts the grass

With a broad black strimmer, and

On the other side of the cowshed

A small brown bird chirps out a song of indifference

The wren behind the byre

Meanwhile at the bar I order a coke and an orange

They just bring the coke

forgetting the orange order
I need to relieve myself outside

taking a leak up against the corner wall

Which turns out to be

The slash my father swore

Would get me into trouble.

A man in black approaches

“Do you pee?” he asks

Then continues

“Pee? Yes and I

Are, you see,

a policeman

Please come this way, you’re in eight

times more trouble than me”

So the police now have powers

To guard a sheer corner

And look after their own
Chucking our laws out the window
As clouds of steam from the east are rising

The German bankers say “Devalue Eire”

As he turns in his grave.

The headlines scream

The Queen sips tea – shock!

With the Taoiseach

You won’t find a finer foil

Out at sea,

A flat fish swims past

A ray? A plaice?

Aye, a ray

it is

But never was a ray

To Labour the point

A voter at a political conference

In the south of France

set himself on fire,

The ballot box and the arm alight

It was quite a conflagration

In the Ardèche

The shattered dreams of an ex-justice minister

Haunt the waves out at sea

a collision with a coalition

There’s a fish caught in a storm

a fin, a gale…turns the waters choppy

No fee nor foil

Can buy off a government

But playing dumb is simply

To feign a fool

With fingers fumbling in Greecey tills

Farmer doffs his CAP subsidy

Colours his sheep a shade of red

A cause worth dyeing for?

Meanwhile across the Irish Sea

A lone poet sits in exile

Tapping on a keyboard to the tune of a long forgotten song…

A poem about the joys of cycling

bike

Cycles

I wanted to ride the Tour de France
Then one summer my dreams
Of yellow jerseys fell to pieces
On a downhill descent head over handlebars I flew
My chin scraping the hard tarmac.

Just another crash I thought, no harm done
Until I noticed my white t-shirt soaked in blood
front wheel badly buckled, bike now unrideable
walking towards home bike over my shoulder
a passing motorist picked me up

The doctor spent an hour taking grit from the wound
then one stitch after another
I still have the scar to prove it.

And I’ve never ridden a bike since that fateful day you may say
But some years later I was back in the saddle

Cycling along a shiny wet tarred surface
I glance down to see my reflection
As raindrops sting my face.

Poised like a lance, arms strong
As I grip the handlebars
Living the lie, the bigger they come the harder they fall.
But my only drug of choice is caffeine
in small roadside cafes where
town gives way to country.

An uphill climb
Lactic acid builds up
Thighs ready to die
Lungs take the brunt

Then the
downhill
descent,
Freewheeling
in low gear
the cool
breeze in
my face…

It’s not the Alps or the Pyrenees

There’s no supporters urging me on

no painted message on the road
But this is one of life’s simple pleasures

Which no drug can manufacture

a multi-coloured carbon fibre and lycra parade.

woods and fields go whooshing by.
Endorphines pumping in

what psychologists call “the zone” –

That transient state of bliss where body meets mind.

A Limerick Limerick

To celebrate Limerick being named as 2014 City of Culture (@Limerick2014), I’ve penned a limerick about Limerick:

The Limerick Limerick

A city on the banks of the Shannon

Renowned for its rugby and gammon

Though it’s not quite Paris

It spawned Richard Harris

A man who could drink like a salmon

A Poem That Has No Real Meaning, Yet Literary Critics And Academics Would No Doubt Find Some Hidden Connotations About Life And Death And Draw Some Significance In The Fact That The Title Is Longer Than The Actual Poem

From my forthcoming collection of short stories and poetry:


“A Poem That Has No Real Meaning, Yet Literary Critics And Academics Would No Doubt Find Some Hidden Connotations About Life And Death And Draw Some Significance In The Fact That The Title Is Longer Than The Actual Poem”

A fish opens its mouth

In a pond

Closes it

Opens it again

Over and over

Eats weed

Swims away

And gets eaten by a passing heron.

 

Another shameless plug…

ICC Press Release 002

In Complete Circles: The Memoirs & Travels of an Ageing Schoolboy…

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Previews available.

Memoirs – Episode 3: The School Magazine and the Great Belgian Crisps Caper…

In our final year at the school, a small group of us, the usual suspects fulfilled our long-held ambition which we’d aspired to since 1st year by joining the committee of the annual school magazine. We thought we were the dog’s bollocks, but the truth is we were a bunch of cocky wee bastards who probably deserved a good hiding . In my early years at the school I’d looked up to the older boys who ran the magazine and wanted to be like them with their clever, witty articles, sophisticated sense of humour and sarcastic quips. Several years later when school was but a dim and distant memory one of my proudest moments occurred. I was in a pub in Omagh with a bunch of old schoolmates. I got talking to a younger lad who had been a few years below me at school. To my shame I don’t even remember his name, but he said he remembered my contemporaries and me from the school magazine and the articles we’d written and told me – “I used to look up to you boys – I wanted to be like you”.

In any given year the magazine would have articles on the previous year’s school trips, the excruciatingly bad 4th form adolescent angst-ridden poetry of the “I’m so depressed and misunderstood” variety, cartoons plagiarised from Gary Larrson’s “Far Side” collections and similar such odds and sods. The quality of material wasn’t always top rate, but if nothing else it was a great ego trip to see your own handiwork in print.

We put up a publicity poster featuring a warrior from a sword-and-sorcery “Lord of the Rings”-type graphic novel, glistening sword in one hand with his other arm around a comely young wench, the wind in their hair with the legend “Many are the pleasures of writing for your school magazine”. But inevitably some “comedian” had to deface the poster and change the word “writing” to “riding”.

Hilarious.

We also tried to slip a few risqué pieces in, some of which successfully made it. The editor Pete McGrane, a tall thin red-haired chap had been on a short trip to Belgium after having won a schools essay–writing competition on the European Union. To his (and our) great delight and amusement he discovered that the leading Belgian brand of crisps, (their equivalent of Walkers or Tayto) was called Croky. He wrote a witty account of his Belgian experience for that year’s magazine. At the end of his piece he included a cheeky afterthought. I don’t recall the exact words, but it went something along the lines of:

“…and finally no trip to the low countries would be complete without a mention of Belgium’s favourite junk food – Croky crisps!”

Accompanying this paragraph was a photo of a packet of the fat-saturated potato-based snacks bearing the distinctive “CROKY” logo in large letters. It’s probably a safe bet that the crisp manufacturer’s namesake was well aware of young McGrane’s intentions here, but sensibly he chose to turn a blind eye.