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Poetry Magnum Opus

Bridges (was Venti et Mare)


dedalus

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I was roamin in the gloamin on the banks of the lovely Lee

when a fairy sprite all dressed in white came up and spoke to me:

bonny lad, to make me glad, will you do three things, mo chroí?

 

Sweet lady, through battle storm or rain, thy servant I remain,

and if you, ochóne, make your wishes known, neither loss nor gain,

nor the Great Unknown, nor shame nor death nor mortal pain

 

will ever turn me from my path. I fear with reason faerie wrath.

When all of a sudden, bang, like that, I am sitting in a bar in Philly

alongside this black girl with tattoos, feeling fuckin awful silly,

 

and she says, don’t you forget your promise, li’l White Boy,

and disappears. What the! So I order up a couple more beers

just to take things in. I know I’ve been in this state before

 

after that fuckin goddam war, and it’s just a nightmare

from which I’ll wake up soon. Nothing to get excited about,

but why is the jukebox playing Elvis, Pat Boone and the Platters?

 

As if it matters: of course it fuckin matters! What the hell

is happening? Please tell. Please tell me. Hey, you, HEY!

Listen up, son, I think it’s time you took a taxi home.

 

I’ve got a wallet in my hip pocket with American bills

and a Drivers Licence: it reads D. B. Kind, Mississippi.

Death Be Gentle, Death Be Slow, next thing I know

 

I wake up under O’Connell Bridge on the River Liffey,

suspended by spider ropes, staring at the faces

of the sightless, accusing, stone-faced gods.

 

Some things, I tell myself, are NOT really happening,

until the ropes break and I fall like a sack in the river

and go under, get wet, and come up snorting.

 

A few bystanders, faintly interested, line the quays

as I drag myself up one of the ladders: there is,

typically Dubin, a derisive round of hoots and cheers!

 

Dripping wet, shivering, outside Temple Bar tunnel,

you know where it is, just over the Ha’penny Bridge,

a girl walks up and hands me a note: It says

 

Your way of thinking is finished

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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