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Poetry Magnum Opus

Mr. de Ruid


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At night, barefoot, on the stony tracks

the roots and the rocks would cut your feet

and you'd come home bleeding, angry,

and prepare for the next time. It went

on and on forever, there in the hills,

down by Cuil Aodha and Gougane Barra.

Tell me the names of a thousand stars

and say which of the leaves in the forest

can heal which illness, whether boiled or powdered,

placed in a poultice, eaten, or stuck up your arse.

Twenty years they said it would take, each year

the chance of getting thrown out, rejected,

RTU'd, the weary shame of returning home.


Knowledge they knew was dangerous,

so it was doled out in careful stages; nothing

was allowed to be written; pens and parchment

were things we never saw. Memorise all we tell you

or tomorrow we send you home. In the beginning

it was nigh impossible, but then it became easier,

and our eyes began to see brighter colours,

our ears could hear the mice in faraway barns

and the trout singing softly in the lake,

and we were not asleep even when sleeping;

our teachers slowly, gradually, became less stern

and we knew then we would not be sent home

for us there could be no other home, not then.


Two thousand years later, give or take,

I step off the airplane at LA International

and wave my fingers at the Immigration flunkey

who immediately stamps my passport, blinking.

Out in the hot hazy sunlight I glide into a taxi

and I listen to the tip-wangling whine of the driver

for a few minutes, then wave him into silence.

At the Beverly Hilton I ascend to the Penthouse Suite

obtained with a flutter of the fingers, I telephone

the production company shooting my next movie,

then descend, nattily casual, to the cavernous lobby.

I wave my fingers for an exquisite, well-cooked meal

and eye the elegant blonde sitting four tables over.


A charming little smile, another finger movement,

and she rises from her chair and instantly joins me.

Later, having enjoyed the amenities of my palatial quarters,

I present her with six homemade 100 dollar bills,

far far better than the originals, and she kisses my toes

and bows herself backwards from the room. Ho hum.

Time to call the President, tell him what he's doing wrong,

and accept his usual excuses and apologies. Such a bore,

but one's gotta do what one's gotta do. I find that so true.

One really needs to plan for the next two thousand years.

Had I known in my youth things would end up like this

I might have had second thoughts, felt slightly remiss,

but one grows so used to this business with the fingers.


There is so much to be said for old-fashioned education.

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

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Mr. de Ruid -- I like your play on the word "druid" in this exposé of the modern day master-of-the-universe and his origins. I also have to believe that the poem's structure -- four thirteen line stanzas followed by the one line conclusion -- is the product of craftsmanship and not chance. An entertaining read that's well done, as always, Brendan.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, Bren. You always have plenty to say :). I like your writing style because it always contains a good mixture of realism. Your poetry is always so enthusiastic, and I like that part. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed.



The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia



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