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Poetry Magnum Opus

Let Us Now Speak Of Famous Men


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Eamon DeValera


So here comes the Old Boy at last

about six foot three in a grey fedora

wearing pebble glasses but blind as a bat,

the last Leader of the ’16 Rebellion,

not executed, not like the others,

(a bad mistake on the part of the Sassenachs)

and now he’s mildly gliding beside my bayonet

all eight inches of polished blue steel

on top of an empty rifle, it seems

we cannot shoot him, only stab,

and I take a glimpse at M’Glinchy

scion of a well-known Stater family

whose uncle got knocked on the head

permanently, but he’s all a-daze with shining joy,

here in the light slanting rain , and we’re all dolled up

in our green serge uniforms, the hand-picked youth

of Éireann, Hitler Youth at the GPO.


Emperor Hirohito


An engraved invitation from the Embassy

so much like the ones for Paddy’s Day

jerked us out of our springtime somnolence

and all in a sober suit and stylish dress

we bullet-trained it up to Tokyo, not for

to see some forgettable Irish President

(fat self-satisfied Hillary, I believe, this was

before we got in the habit of electing women)

but to see the little man Himself: the Fucker

Who Started the War. The invitation was golddust,

getting you past the armed security, the gonzos

in sunglasses and dangling earpieces. We just

sailed through, don’t you know, picked up

our combined little Irish-Japanese flags,

the things we were supposed to wave like idiots,

and waited in the swelling crowd. Here comes

a Limousine! Never mind. It’s the fat Irish fucker.

Wait, here comes another … Yes, Yes, it’s Him!

A wee stick insect about three foot six

stumbled for three steps, got surrounded by uniforms

and that was it. No more waving of flags.

Two or three million died for this joker.

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

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