Tuesday, 16 October 2012

On Shannon's Bank

She perched on the bank, shameless; to dive is to fly,
Naked and shameless, as the naked sun in the sky.
Mute she said “look at me, look at me”
A pale back-front slash, fleshy thong,
And the Shannon said “look at me too,
I won’t be here for long”.

And she postured and pranced, hands joined, knees slightly bent,
And some people stayed on the bridge and some people went.
An older man shouted “piss, or get off the pot”
A younger girl whispered “I think she’s losing the plot”.
She rushed once again, ready to dip and to duck,
And the Shannon said “I’m moving on, you’re out of luck”.

She said “I can do it, I’ve often done it before”,
And the old-timer grimaced, was she a mermaid or whore?
An old nun passed by, never altered the angle of head,
“Heat to an ageing virgin” somebody said.
And the river still rolling, not waiting, not waiting at all,
“If you don’t come and join me I’ll soon be an old waterfall”.

And she summoned her courage again in her pale birthday suit
And the goose pimples went on parade; took the salute.
“Just give me a chance, all I want is a suitable wave”
So we all ‘waved’ our arms, on her way to a welcoming grave.
And the Shannon kept moving, moving in the very same bed,
He said “I’m in a hurry, I’ll ferry the living or dead”.

Then the Gardai arrived; took situation in hand,
The sergeant looked sombre as befits a man in command.
They wrapped a shawl round her and led her gently away,
And the crowd ambled off for more diversion that day.
And the river was sombre and sad and cheated and more,
“Today I lose out, but I’ve claimed her often before”.

And the man from the Corpo said “thanks be to Jesus for that”
We don’t need a scandal, remember Diageo’s vat.
We’ve closed all the barracks, police stations, hospitals too,
All they’ve left is the Shannon; we need it for Guinness’ brew.
We’ll close down Kilkenny; Dundalk is next on the list,
And the natives won’t open their mouths except to get pissed.

And the Shannon glanced, skywards, winked at his maker above
And the Lord said “don’t worry, I am the lion and the dove,
The plans of mere mortals are as a nod in the night
You’re still my creation and by you I’ll do what is right.
If they had their way your arteries they’d sever apart
But when its all over for them you’ll still have your heart”.

In gratitude to "Dasies and Vinegar" for her interest.


  1. Haunting on several levels . . . utter bleakness (politically wry) . . . but a mighty faith at the end so beautifully expressed.

    Thank you for the thought. It's truly the first time I've ever felt "called" by a river -- wild, peaceful, and (as of yet) free.

  2. say a little prayer for our River;I think she might need it.
    the sentiment is greatly appreciated. the man with the white collar puts a price on everything but not everything is expendible. Regards, P+P.