They gave me a name on Paddy’s Day,
My mother always liked me dearly,
My old man; I couldn’t say.
Like a Dalmatian, all spots and bounce
Or a vulture with an old man’s neck
They displayed me to the visitors,
At the christening he gave the priest a cheque.
The priest was replaced by another collar
After I started National School,
He needed the sins of altar boys
To cause the grind and grin and drool.
I finished school as I started,
Promise was my middle name,
We were lower middle, no class at all,
Get work! Find a job! That was the game.
‘A permanent, pensionable, respectable job’
Mother said; what a waste of time.
Got the car, bought a house, a clatter of bairns,
Drank porter, told lies, survived at a push,
Mixed up the cousins; fact and fiction,
Slowed down in a fearful rush.
A Grandad now, maybe not so grand,
Pillar of society; never the ambition,
Or role-model to another generation,
Go my own way, my path to perdition.
To play out my role in peace or in pieces,
Is there ever an option, a choice?
I was never inclined to join in the chorus
Tone-deaf, but still my own voice.
Now is simply a bagful of memories,
Distorted by pale moon and gullible sun,
This world is long on shortcomings,
I have been and remain merely one.