Monday, 4 June 2012

And While I Last.

I can’t last unless I begin
A hapless product of original sin
What is original, what is sin?
Venial, mortal, rib or skin.
Still, where I am, and what I am
Part womb, part air, part crib, part pram
With likes and sulks, storms and calm
Like Uncle Sam or Viet Nam.
And I think I’m sure of what I’m not
Acts remembered, scenes forgot.
In Po, Limpopo, chamber pot
I can’t recall where I lost the plot.
But still, I like O’Gara’s slice
And Heaslip power, Leinster’s price,
Sexton’s average once in twice
Hay foot-straw foot, virtue-vice.
Liquid honey, glassy jar
Melted crystals from afar
Mixed with saccharine and tar
Blended world-wide, bee’s bazaar.
John McGahern, garda’s spleen
Some thoughts written, most unseen
Hints of grey spliced into green
Found your witch at Halloween.
Yeats and Shaw and Beckett, Wilde
Come away o human child”
To the waters and the wild
Like Narcissus, at you, you smiled.
And I know now what makes me smile
Seven furlongs in a mile
And the angelus seamstress for a while
Needle locked in lip; some style.
And grass to the colour-blind so green
New blades, sharp spades, guillotine
For the herm, the worm, still unseen
Possible clones, at least seventeen.

And the things I want and the things I can’t
And what He might pull and what He could grant
Or why Willie Flower’s first cousin is Plant
And on Sunday they drone a Gregorian chant.
Red-brown fillet hanging three weeks
Red onions, red carrots, red cabbage, green leeks.
National, Secondary, Techs and techniques
Blended together like Kilimanjaro peaks.
Mel and Frances and Assumpta too
Postulants and sisters and mothers in blue
Everything they uttered unquestionably true
The truth from them, no lie to you.
And I dream of babies past and babies to come
And their mothers and their issues and no one and some
Why the deaf mightn’t worry for their sisters’ dumb
You can play the dead march on fife or drum.
And the loyal dog and the heartless cat
The impeccable credentials of Norwegian rat
And the udders in synch leaking tit for tat
Modigliani’s models, face under hat.
Wells and bells and hovels and halls
Streams and dreams, hucksters stalls
Hops and gigs and masquerade balls
Castles and moats and cardboard walls.
Tell me what’s important, tell yourself what’s not
Forgiven, forsaken, forfeit and forgot.
A snipers scope or a passing shot
The nosy crone or the Lady of Shalott.
What the local said, what the stranger saw
The hay, the whey, the wheat, the straw
The pig, the jig, the ready and the raw
Wither within her, without withdraw.

And while I last I’ll be irreverent still
In word and silence, paint and quill
And confuse the coins in life’s lonely till
Like blackbird, brown wife and yellow bill.
But how do they know; how can I?
What respect is worth; what respect can buy.
Hacienda for a pig or a virus in the eye
Sight restricted by humble sty.
Conviction, confusion, conspiracy and trust
On a McNamee’s pan not worth the crust,
Polished with egg white from dough to dust
A shine, a sheen, a longing or a lust.
Yellowed with yolk from gullible hen
A virgin now, non productive then.
Still picking and pecking and picking again
Jaw full, craw full, ink in pen.
And she telling me just where I’m wrong
And where she believes I might belong
Why she left, cleft palate stuttering song
Lip gap, claptrap, siren-gong.
This way, that way, any way at all
I’ll do it my way, balloon or ball
Cocks in the haggard, mirror in the hall
Rise three times if you have to fall.
And I rise when I rise at seven or nine
And I believe in me and hesitant shine
And when I pass over poverty will pine
At losing a pal, best pal of mine.
So I’ll do it my way for better or worse
I say a blessing, they say a curse
Morning sickness doesn’t need a nurse
Sovereigns in the travel bag, pennies in the purse.

And while I last I will speak with one voice
One head, my own, one heart to rejoice
One truth one fact no Rolls no Royce,
And toss to the liars the tyranny of choice.
And I’ll talk to the trees their limbs and leaves
The message translated by their sister breeze
And when we die nobody grieves
Our mother; fathers earth our body receives.
And I will bury me, in the here and there
Brains for the Inny, head with the hare
And limbs and lungs in Ballymulvey fair
Newcastle forest with the badger in her lair.
And while I last I’ll still command
My legs to stop, to stay, to stand
Not melt away like shifting sand
No second glance at minute hand.
And I expect to be oft detested
Tough until tried and best when bested
And I’ll face them down when I’m arrested
And no injustice will walk untested.
And the ones who claim to own it all
Will perish at the gable wall
The thoroughbred will leave the stall
And live on whins and dry grass gall.
I’ll make no will for faction fight
No candle for the priests delight
No spark for issue, be it day or night
No wrong of mine for them to right.
Before I go I’ll check the lips
Of my soul’s pulse with fingertips,
Feel the tremors, bounces and skips
And rejoice in watching my life’s eclipse.
And I know truly, how long I’ll last
I’ll make the present into past
And pander to no type, typecast,
That’s while I last!


  1. To a poem, I comment. To a person, I listen. There is a person to this poem. And so I listen.

    1. Turqouise, your comment is priceless! Walter De La Mere would be proud of your power of assimilation.We trust you are familiar with his wonderful poem "The Listeners".
      ‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
      Knocking on the moonlit door;
      And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
      Of the forest’s ferny floor:
      We so appreciate your comment!

  2. I send a smile. :)


    1. Mercury delivered your smile this morning and we got an extra smile from him as well! Thank you.