Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The most devious of all

He was always the one who stood out from the crowd,
He was upright and always plain-speaking.
He was not seen as scurrilous, haughty or proud,
And did not seem publicity seeking.
Just an ordin’ry Joe in an old anorak,
Untainted by rumours and poisonous flak,
Yes Bertie stood out from the rest of the pack,
For he seemed the most honest of all.

There were some who used taxpayers’ money to build
A three foot high wall round their dwelling.
There were some who tapped into the property guild
For a piece of the land they were selling.
There were Charvais silk shirts, there were belts to be tightened,
And phones to be tapped and young Gards to be frightened,
There were presidents too to be roughly enlightened,
But Bertie played no part at all.

But now it appears that the halo has slipped,
The questions come thicker and stronger.
In a web of deceit, our great leader has tripped,
But will he be leader much longer?
The financial questions, concisely expressed,
Are constantly fudged when he’s put to the test.
It appears after all he was just like the rest,
And perhaps the most devious of all.

Begrudging Moses

The nation’s got shirty and blamed poor old Bertie
For a moderate “income revision.”
And, though there’s surprise at the size of the rise,
Sure, it wasn’t the Taoiseach’s decision!
The Commission related, independently stated,
That there have to be leaders and flunkies,
And some deserve more fiscal preference, for
If peanuts are paid, you get monkeys.

But some commentators now seek to deflate us,
Insistent on putting the boot in,
By saying it’s a racket that Bertie’s pay packet
Dwarfs that of George Bush, Brown and Putin.
But the size of his income is, frankly, fair dinkum,
For the others are quite lily-livered,
Whilst Bertie has shown us a tigerish bonus,
Got down, done a job and delivered.

Some folk, who are shameless, claim Bertie’s not blameless
For poorly administered sectors.
In our dealings with Health, we have squandered great wealth,
And house prices adversely affect us.
The misery’s complete with each lane, road and street
Now totally gridlocked with traffic.
And Bertie’s the chappie who’s made us unhappy
(They attest, using language quite graphic.)

But it’s just playing dirty to blame poor old Bertie
For the faults of those HSE buggers.
And new roads are delayed, not by him, I’m afraid,
But by snails and swans and tree-huggers.
The cost of construction may cause quite a ruction,
But Bertie can’t halt market forces.
And it’s the EU that likes to have interest hikes
And pillage our natural resources.

In short then, recapping, he deserves much back-slapping,
For improvements he’s made to life’s quality.
And the great feelgood factor around us, in fact-uh,
Should not be dismissed as frivolity.
But where things aren’t working and progress is shirking,
The blame lies in other directions.
If the old Teflon man were to carry the can,
He wouldn’t win all those elections.

So, though we’ve agreed a pay rise for our leader
(And those who share similar yearnings,)
We’re quickly retreating, now plaintively bleating
And seeking to stymie his earnings.
By our coat-tails he’s brought us from storm-ridden waters
To a land of great milk and much honey.
This latter day Moses has show’red us with roses –
And yet we begrudge him his money!
Unsuccessful entry for the Strokestown political satire competition

Knockmaroon Hill

Knockmaroon Hill, my sweet Knockmaroon Hill,
How silent you ponder, so calm and so still,
With but the faint sound of a thousand cars idling,
Immune to their drivers now bristling and bridling.
The fumes haze the sun in the January chill
Protecting thy beauty, dear Knockmaroon Hill.

The traffic has plenty of time to admire
The spluttering starling that pants on the briar,
And sometimes you’ll see some small pasty-faced finches
With your progress now measured in hours and inches.
The robin’s great throat-song, so loud and so shrill,
Grows wheezy and hoarse upon Knockmaroon Hill.

From Lucan, Clonsilla and dear Castleknock
Range Nissans and Audis from six of the clock.
Bumper to bumper, they fume in a line,
A testament to infrastructure’s design.
And evenings, they’re lined up the other way till
Black midnight chimes slowly o’er Knockmaroon Hill.

The traffic is blocked e’er the last starlight wanes,
Like cholesterol choked in arterial lanes.
Immobile it sits, without anguish or pity,
Not flowing at speed to the heart of the city.
A tumour of steel that oft threatens to kill
The lifeblood of Dublin on Knockmaroon Hill.

Thy main road snakes downwards in serpentine crawl
And the grey, powdered hawthorn ne’er fails to enthral.
The ramps, oh those ramps, with their resolute power,
To slow any car reaching two miles an hour.
In awe, I applaud what the planners instil
When designing road networks, dear Knockmaroon Hill.

The residents, blocked in their cold, gravelled drives,
Despairingly smile at their dressing-gowned wives,
Who wait in the doorway and pray that he’ll soon
Exchange his Corolla for hot-air balloon.
Some wait for so long they become rather ill
In the hoar-frosted mornings on Knockmaroon Hill.

Oh fey Chapelizod, asleep at thy foot,
Now swathed like a child in a blanket of soot.
How well I remember her acres of tillage,
When she was a rustic and picturesque village,
Where the Liffey once sang at the foot of the mill,
But now sullenly broods beneath Knockmaroon Hill.

From the gates of the park where the deer are confined
To the lights at the bottom so badly designed,
Thy contour has slowed since I first journeyed here,
For once thy descent was a whirlwind of fear.
‘Tis hard to imagine the air-rushing thrill
I got from thy sledge-slope, oh Knockmaroon Hill.

The roadway and pathway, so steep and so narrow,
Were built for the lusty young boy with the barrow.
Freewheeling downhill to the baker’s small shop,
Then panting his slow way back up to the top.
Pausing en route for his asthmatic pill,
How roundly he cursed thee, sweet Knockmaroon Hill.

But now, as I sit here, all things come to mind,
The great nasal forays of the driver behind,
The faulty red light of the Hi-ace in front,
The bumper attesting to some former shunt.
A host of reflections that pleasantly fill
The hours I spend waiting ‘pon Knockmaroon Hill.
Unsuccesful entry for Strokestown political satire competition

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Ansbacher list

Whatever became of the Ansbacher list?
Those hundred odd names who avoided their tax?
Did anything happen? Was there something I missed?
Did we ever find out all the pertinent facts?

As we tightened our belts, these one hundred or so,
With a grin on their face salted money away.
And crippled by taxes, our dreams were laid low –
Oh the poor sing laments, while the rich lads all play.

But they told us they’d found them. They told us they’d shame them.
They told us the list would be published quite soon.
The papers were ready to go out and name them,
But again we were left howling loud at the moon.

All of a sudden, it went very quiet.
The subject was dropped and not mentioned again.
Was pressure applied? Oh I’m sure they’d deny it,
While the rest of us sway to the usual refrain.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

In fine Ulster tradition

Should the father be absolved for the sins of the son?
Should the leader decide when to go?
Should a Unionist show such outpourings of fun?
Should he maintain support from below?
Should the old man continue for ever and a day?
Should he joke with McGuinness and co?
Should power be administered in a jovial display?
For Ian, sadly, Ulster says no.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The autism unit in old Castleknock

There’s an autism unit in a spanking new block,
They say that it’s state of the art.
It graces the parish of old Castleknock
In a school with a very big heart.
The school has been opened for over a year,
But folk are both angry and shocked,
That, though the new school is a source of great cheer,
The autism unit’s still locked.

Mary Harney is blaming financial constraints
For this shocking, political gaffe.
Mary Hanafin’s shrugged off the flood of complaints,
Saying, “Open the block without staff!”
But to open the unit, replies the school board,
(While the Marys cling tight to their purses)
Is like throwing wide open a hospital ward
Without any doctors or nurses.

At home, a young mum puts her life on the shelf
And stares at the walls of her cage,
Obliged to try teaching her young son herself,
Although he is six years of age.
But she’s no professional, she hasn’t the skills
To teach him to learn and to play,
And while the two Marys hide up in the hills,
The boy’s getting worse by the day.

There’s an autism unit in a spanking new block,
They say that it’s state of the art.
It graces the parish of old Castleknock
In a school with a very big heart.
And the Ministers’s salaries go through the roof,
And deflection’s the name of the game,
And the HSE sits there unmoved and aloof,
To Ireland’s abominable shame.