Monday, December 28, 2009

Sympathy for the Devil

Our Taoiseach, it seems, is lamenting,
The “most difficult year” of his life.
Condemnation has been unrelenting
And talk of elections is rife.

He’s been under attack from the pensioners,
Public servants have yelled in his face,
And the tax-paying workers? Don’t mention us!
We’ve spent the whole year on his case!

The back benchers don’t welcome the budget,
It’ll lose them more votes than they’ll win.
But the Taoiseach knows well he can’t fudge it,
Or the IMF hawks will wade in.

He’s hitched his old wagon to NAMA,
Though they claim he’s just bailing out banks,
Yet this long-running, slow-moving drama
Hasn’t managed to earn him much thanks.

He’s assailed on all sides by opponents
Who delight in the invective hurled
And claim we possess the components
Required to join the Third World.

But still, you can’t be sympathetic
When your mortgage is short a few bob.
To his plight, we remain apathetic,
At least he has still got a job.

And if he loses his lofty position,
Will he survive on jobseekers’ allowance?
No. His pension will ward off attrition
And keep things au fait for the Cowens.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yet another Council meeting

I’m here at yet another Council meeting
To listen to the wailing and self-pity,
To hear the lonely councillors all bleating
About the lack of money in the kitty.
Each week, they pray that some new Walter Mitty
Will rise and offer all a fulsome greeting.
For now though, life is practical and gritty
Down here at yet another Council meeting.

Oh still, my heart, from wild and joyful beating,
When viewing these fine shapers of the city.
The arguments, so often self-defeating,
Hold sentiments that are not very pretty.
Meanwhile I’m trying hard to write a ditty
But humour in this chamber is too fleeting.
Sadly I don’t feel the slightest witty,
Attending yet another Council meeting.

According to the maintenance committee,
Two per cent of homes lack central heating.
They state, descending to the nitty-gritty,
They’re worried ‘bout the septic tanks they’re treating.
Is any place in Christendom more shitty,
Considering the crap that they’re excreting?
I’d rather go and fondle Conway Twitty
Than sit through yet another Council meeting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The resignation of John O’Donoghue

The bullfrog joked and smoked
And croaked his deep felt apologies
For whatever hurt he may have caused
To The Office,
Though it was obvious from his rubbery skin
And in his big lugubrious eyes
That he felt that, actually,
He had nothing to apologise for.
From the banks, the children laughed
And poked him with long sticks,
Cut from Autumn-bared boughs,
Trying to dislodge him from the flat rock
In the middle of the fast-flowing current.
But he remained unmoved,
The merest hint of a tremor
Wobbling his giant double chin.
Bloated, he could not turn
When they assailed him from behind
With luscious blackberries
That recently hung ripe from the bramble.
He blinked imperiously,
Squatting immobile on his slate throne
Until the water rose too high
And he was obliged to leap from sight
With a deft splash,
Leaving ne’er a ripple on the smooth surface.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pro Europe Anti Treaty

Opposition to the treaty has been waning,
The Yes vote slowly coming to the fore,
Doubtless they will spend the time remaining
Muddying the waters even more.
I for one don’t contemplate secession,
I don’t believe we ought to be abstaining.
The treaty will not save us from recession
But EU membership is worth retaining.

The strategy is clear in their campaigning
To get the Lisbon treaty voted in.
“Yes to Europe!” they cry out, maintaining
That this is why pro-treatyists should win.
But those of us inclined to answer nay,
Feel this is not a slogan worth sustaining.
We’re not against the Union per se
It’s simply ‘gainst the Treaty that we’re straining.

Where is the man?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The shitehawk

The shitehawk, Ireland’s bird of prey,
Is common in our skies today,
Hov’ring over town and road
To disposition its great load
On people who are unaware
It’s up above them in the air.

It comes in many shapes and sizes
Handing out its brown surprises.
Famous ornithologists
Spend many years compiling lists
Of all the many hybrid species
Currently dispensing faeces.

There’s overchargers, red-light jumpers,
Bank head-shakers and gazumpers,
Petty thieves and hooded bowsies,
Scumbags who break into houses,
Men who can’t see what the fuss is
Sitting put on crowded buses.

Authority that’s mean and petty,
Uncle George and Great Aunt Betty,
Journalists who ruin lives,
Cheating husbands, lazy wives,
Men who’ll sack you with a laugh
To take on cheaper, foreign staff.

Folk who fling black sacks in ditches,
Curtain twitchers, nosey bitches,
Parkers in disabled spaces,
Intolerants of other races,
Girls that snipe and boys who bully,
Spin-doctors who make wrong acts woolly.

The common wisdom is that this
Great bird that spreads its shite and piss
O’er everybody, old and young
(Indiscriminately flung)
Is much more common in the sky
Than ever was in years gone by.

That isn’t quite the case however.
This great bird of prey has ever
Fouled our country top to toe,
Browning those green fields below.
It’s just, before, it seemed that we
Were crapped upon less openly.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

British soil

First they let in British sports at Croker,
Which made the blood of many people boil.
But this new revelation is a choker –
Our hallowed turf’s usurped by British soil!

Is that what all the sons of Roisín died for?
Is this the product of our fathers’ toil?
Our players cannot take it in their stride, for
We’re unsure of our ground on British soil.

Our fathers fought against the yoke of slavery,
To free ourselves from all things blue and royal.
And what’s the nett result of all that bravery?
To play the Sam Maguire on British soil?

Surely there’s some earth upon this island,
Somewhere ‘twixt the Barrow and the Foyle,
Somewhere in the valleys or on high land
That could be used instead of British soil?

So let us turf out those who would betray us!
All Irishmen must certainly recoil
At this great insult to our finest players,
And sod all those who favour British soil!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Son of Lisbon Treaty

Oh great! We have a chance to show repentance.
Thank God we now can put the matter right.
We really didn’t understand the sentence –
But this time we are suitably contrite.

The first time, we were really only joking,
We didn’t think you’d take us at our word.
We never knew what fires we were stoking.
To think we meant it plainly is absurd.

So this time, let us not resort to messing,
Let all the jokes and giddiness now cease.
Let us concentrate now in expressing
Consent, just as we did, at last, with Nice.

So let us all approach this referendum
Suitable chastised from head to toe.
And, let us all write down, as an addendum
We’re very sorry that we voted no.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mexican Swine Flu

Those Mexican pigs have been sneezing
And causing some far-reaching issues.
Their manners are somewhat displeasing –
You’d think that they’d learn to use tissues.

Their germs have been caught on the breezes
That waft from the Mexican shore,
So the germs thus contained in their sneezes
Will spread round the world evermore.

On booking a flight to Oslo with Ryanair

Today, with rare and dext’rous flair,
I booked a flight with Ryanair,
The airline that the lower classes
Seem to flock to in their masses,
Forgoing comfort, passenger care
And dinner, for a bargain fare.
This airline has for destinations
Towns in European nations
That the other airlines do
Not feel it worthwhile flying to.
And thus, as I had to attend
A conf’rence on this IPod trend
Now sweeping Europe like the plague
(Its origins unclear and vague,)
I needed to access, of course,
The major destination Norse.
Oslo, quoth the airline page,
Is red’lent of the Viking age
With mountains large and fjords blue
And just five euro to fly to.

Five euro? Why, here in the Pale,
You’d pay that for a pint of ale,
Or for a BLT on brown
In any sandwich bar in town!
And so my fitful heart fair leapt
And fingers ‘cross the keyboard swept.
And lo! Five euro was the fare
To get my portly self out there,
But with the handling charges, it
Exceeded that amount a bit,
To fifty euro ninety cent,
Which made me feel quite malcontent.
So then I turned my hand to comb
The net for flights to take me home,
But though I clicked “Next Day,” “Next Day,”
No cheap fares could be had till May.
Fifty, seventy, ninety, more –
I clicked until my head was sore,
But as I opened every page,
As far as this old fool could gauge,
The only way I could avail
Of Ryanair’s Fantastic Sale,
Was if I spent nine months or ten
With very Nordic gentlemen,
A prospect that I viewed quite dimly.
Thus I bit the bullet grimly,
Opting for a medium fare
That would fly me out of there –
Twenty nine and ninety nine?
Yes, I s’pose ‘twould do me fine,
But oh those charges and those taxes
Sent me spinning on my axis.
Naïvely, ‘twas for me surprising
How the total kept on rising.
Checking in my sole valise
Then sent me crashing to my knees,
While paying on my credit card
Also hit my pocket hard.
Total cost – oh saints in heaven –
Two hundred and forty seven!
A little more, I have to say,
Then paying five euro each way.
Low-fare airline? Sadly not –
‘Tis on a par with Aeroflot
And Delta Airways, KLM
And all the flaming rest of them.

And then, when all was sourly paid,
The grim discovery was made
That, far from coming in to land
Somewhere in Oslo’s hinterland,
“Oslo Airport” in fact lay
A whopping seventy miles away,
A salient and pointed fact
That mocks the Trades Description Act.

When Mick O’Leary, as he must,
Returns to ashes and to dust,
I hope St. Peter will be fair
To this proud boss of Ryanair
And let him in for five good deeds,
Which Michael, I am sure, concedes
Is quite an insubstantial price
To pay for ent’ring Paradise.
And when the deeds are called to mind
And Michael’s joy is unconfined,
I hope St. Peter says “Be still!
There’s many extras on this bill.
There’s all the taxes, handling fees –
The cost is rising by degrees –
(Sad you missed our Sale extensions)
Can I check that bag’s dimensions?
Now, where was I? You’ve been told
That putting baggage in the hold
Incurs a further price to pay
Although you’re travelling just one way?”

And may St. Peter says that he’s a
Stickler for the charge for Visa,
And, all in all, the charge for heaven –
Two hundred and forty seven
Deeds of beneficial worth
Done by Michael down on earth.

And if perchance, he can recall
Enough good deeds to pay for all,
May Peter throw those great gates wide
And beckon M.O’L inside,
Adding in a cheery way,
“It’s seventy miles thaddaway.”
This was my entry for the Strokestown 2009 humorous verse competition. To my surprise, I was shortlisted again (third time in four years) and was absolutely thrilled to bits when it finished second! I suppose I had my Big Day last year when The Poverty Trap won and I couldn't argue with the winner, Sean Lyons, whose poem about buying a pair of trousers was delivered with great comic timing and insight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poem for Seamus Heaney at 70

Congratulations Seamus
As you reach this milestone age.
You have managed to inflame us
With your words upon the page.

As a poet, the clear fact is
Your whole life’s in black and white,
And with a bit of practice,
I am sure you’ll get it right.

Some might struggle ‘gainst the bin tax,
Others fight for the deported.
You have struggled with your syntax
But I’m sure you’ll get it sorted.

You possess a sense of timing
That is often called inspired,
Though perhaps your skill at rhyming
Leaves a lot to be desired.

But I don’t want to deflate you,
Or to criticise your views,
For, in truth, I think it’s great you
Still seek out the poet’s Muse.

So a happy birthday Seamus,
Keep on working on the book.
Sure, one day you might be famous
With a little bit of luck.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sketching Taoisigh on the loo

Photo RTE
The Irish are a lawless race,
Duplicit and conniving.
Within this god-forsaken place,
The criminals are thriving.
Thieves and robbers,
Double jobbers,
Hard-nosed killers too,
But worst of all is one who sketches
Taoisigh on the loo.

This sick and evil misanthrope
Remains a shady figure.
The Gardai simply cannot cope
Whene’er the masses snigger.
This evil crime
Requires that time
And money’s spent to foil it.
But they can’t catch the man who sketches
Taoisigh on the toilet.

Thank God the Gards have made it known
Crime tolerance is zero.
To some, this arty Al Capone
Is some kind of a hero.
His sick mind fuels
Deluded fools
Who praise his evil plan
To overthrow the country, sketching
Taoisigh on the can.

Soon we will be overrun
By Taoisigh in the buff.
How much painting will be done
‘Ere someone cries ‘Enough!’?
Thank God the law
Is ready for
These cultural attacks
By this foul mastermind who sketches
Taoisigh on the jacks.

Let them leave no stone unturned
To root out this dark villain.
His heinous crimes have even turned
Our thoughts from all the killin’.
Yes, let the force’s
Huge resources
Catch this arty slob
Who’s horrified the country, sketching
Taoisigh on the job.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The St Patrick’s Day exodus

As they soar through the air
To those shores far and fair,
Oh let us not question the wherefores!
Let us honour them roundly
And toast them all soundly,
With a fly-past from Ireland’s famed airforce.

Do not call it a junket!
‘Tis a myth! Let’s debunk it.
They are not flying off for enjoyment.
It’s a task to be done
To fly off to the sun,
A strategic, political deployment.

For a five star hotel
Can at times be sheer hell,
A veritable purgatory when you
Find yourself far away
From the issues of the day
With nothing to read but a menu.

And the vats of champagne
Do not lessen the pain
Of their selfless but lonely devotion
To promoting our cause
To the dignified bores
Who never show too much emotion.

Oh let’s not be spiteful
Or nasty or frightful
And claim that their morals are iffy.
For they’ll certainly tell us
That we’re all just jealous,
Stuck at home with the freezing grey Liffey.

Our economy’s wrecked
And the country is fecked
But we really should come to our senses.
Why condemn politicians
On their Paddy’s Day missions
For daring to claim their expenses.

Flying out to the sun,
Some might see as great fun
And oftentimes may misconstrue it.
It may cost a few bob
But it’s a tough thankless job -
A blessing on those that would do it.

Yes, its money well spent
And wherever they’re sent
I’m sure they will well represent us.
Oh a shame on you cynics
In your sarcasm clinics.
Get back to your local Job Centres!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The buses are going on strike again

The buses are going on strike again
It’s just been announced on the news,
Inflicting their annual dosage of pain,
As people put on sturdy shoes.

It seems that they do it whenever they like
They don’t seem to need much excuse.
Just give them a reason and they’ll go on strike,
However obscure or obtuse.

The buses need painting? The depot’s unsightly?
They’re raising the price of a ticket?
We don’t take industrial action lightly –
Sure it’s weeks since we last formed a picket.

Some people may wonder if going on strike
Was the bus drivers’ only real option.
Was forcing Joe Public to get on his bike
The sole motion down for adoption?

Were there other options, we’d all like to know
To bidding commuters aloha?
Well no – for the call to adopt a go-slow
Was thrown out - for they can’t go much slower.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The great Dublin Airport Authority

When the cold of the morning is bitingly keen,
I will climb in my Yaris to find
The windscreen caught fast in a thick icy sheen
And I’m sitting there totally blind.

It happens quite often when winter takes grip,
The jug of cold water’s prepared.
When the tone of the air has a definite grip,
My windscreen is often ensnared.

So please tell me why, with each cold snap foreseen,
The airport has but one de-icer,
And planes are left standing when they should have been
Arriving in climates far nicer?

Just one lone machine to go ‘round every plane
And give them a two-minute spray,
While ordin’ry folk off to Greece or to Spain
Are left cursing the shaggin’ delay.

Most other airports in Europe’s chill parts
De-ice as a matter of course.
They quickly negate bitter Winter’s cruel darts
And let his cold hand feel the force.

But no, here in Dublin, why should we prepare
For freeze-ups that happen quite often?
Sure, why should the airport authority care
If the ice takes an ice-age to soften?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Having it both ways

Yes they told us it had been
The finest Government we’d seen,
Responsible for economic boom.
The leadership was given,
The economy was driven
And Ireland’s global stock began to zoom.

‘Twas great Government, they said,
Unsurprising that it led
To a wave of most unparalleled prosperity.
Our finances truly soared
As the Celtic tiger roared
With bravado and defiance, not temerity.

But now dear old Ireland’s fecked,
The economy is wrecked
And suddenly the focus has been shifted.
The world recession is to blame
For this unemployment shame
And the plaudits, once so loud, have slowly shifted.

It’s a worldwide fiscal crisis
That affects our costs and prices –
The Government is really just a victim.
And poor Brian, what can he do
But shut his eyes and see it through?
It’s so unfair how journalists depict him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Barrack Obama’s Inauguration Speech

We had a sense of hist’ry in the making,
The dawning of a new and golden age.
The earth stood still – my wizened hands were shaking,
All eyes upon this man upon the stage.

The rhetoric flew down to earth like manna
And landed on our aching, yearning ears.
From Washington to Brisbane and Fermanagh,
We answered him with loud, affirming cheers.

For half an hour he spoke with deep conviction.
We marvelled at how well the message flowed.
With clarity of purpose and of diction
Into people’s consciences he strode.

Black and white and young and old united,
We listened as the neck-hairs stood on end.
We felt that every past wrong would be righted,
A President ‘pon whom we could depend.

A speech with all the elements of drama,
We sat back overwhelmed when he was done.
Then Rasher pointed to Michelle Obama
And said, “Begod, I’d like to give her one.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Goodbye Dubya

They claim he was a fool, this man
Who made up words and grinned inanely,
Who sent troops to Afghanistan
Where still their gait remains ungainly,
Who turned his anti-terror plan
Against Iraq, sans judge or jury,
Serving simply but to fan
The flames of fundamental fury.

They claim he was a mere buffoon,
A pygmy when great height was needed,
Who howled in anger at the moon
When economic boom receded,
Who whistled aye the self-same tune
When ears were closed to that old number,
Who toddled off to bed too soon,
Escaping into blissful slumber.

Hist’ry, though, will scarcely find him
Dim, when all the books are written.
Rather, led by those behind him –
Shadows that bewitched a kitten.
Pow’rful forces that did blind him
To the line ‘twixt right and wrong,
Puppeteers that have defined him
As the man that tagged along.