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Poetry Magnum Opus

The Conversion to Islam of Conor MacArt (part 7) [r-]


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An Comhshó a Ioslam de Conchubhair Mac Airt





Níl aon chairde ar nós an sean-cairde.

Tá siad na cinn chun grá agus an brón.*



Holy fuckin Jaysus, here am I in Jerusalem,

dragged out from the dripping tunnels below

with nary a penny to my name. Mazeltov,

says some hairy beaming Jewish gentleman

as he wields a large and rusty Turkish scimitar.

Your most devoted, says I, bending the knee,

I am on an archaeological quest, I am a man of science,

and I greatly fear my poor servant has perished …

Not in the least, a miracle, he is alive, alive!

God Almighty, so he is. My misery is complete!

There he sits, beaming, fackinellmytethortuwozagonner!

I smile weakly, what will I tell O’Sullivan? I collapse.


Days later, on a diet of locusts and honey, I revive

and review the circumstances. Our secret mission

to undermine, to betray these hirsute Hebrews has failed,

and I turn to a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Eat, eat, eat, cries Rachel, the moustachioed burly mother

of Nathan, the man of the ancient Turkish sword. You are

most kind, says I, lapping it up like a kitten. Just imagine,

she chortles, a man of science in these unsettled days!

Haha, I agree, reaching for my spectacles which I cannot find,

then my bruised and bursting head, still, Thank God, on my shoulders.

You are most kind, dear lady, I murmur, most kind indeed,

but I realise my rapier and pistol are no longer to be seen.


As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains

I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was counting

with your Ring-Dumma-Doo-Dumma-Da, no chicken soup

in those easy breezy days. Eat, eat, says the urgent Rachel.

I slurped it to the dregs, (mmm, lovely!) reconsidering my situation.

I was a spy, let’s face it, more or less caught in the act,

under the orders of the sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent,

to whom God should take a spanner, the only living man who could

cause me to shiver more than the murderous Shane O’Neill.

Shane was far far away and gone from the present shenanigans,

thanks be to God, Saint Patrick, and their respective holy mothers:

I never want to behold those mad light eyes again!


A shudder ran through me. You can’t help that thinking of Shane,

and doesn’t the oul wan, Rachel, run up to me with arms outstretched,

poor poor little boy, you are cold, knocking me over with her bosoms,

when Nathan pops in the door, all very bright and cheery: Konbor!

which is what they do be calling me, God bless their little brains,

I have with me your loyal servant, he is so so worried about you!

and in walks Bert, the shifty-eyed blackmailer, the bold rapparee,

Appytaseeyerinthepink , says he, reporting for duty, Sahh! We ogle,

if such a thing can be said, one another. Orrlbleedindeadthebleedinbloighters,

he remarks complacently. So much for the men. Orlbutyouandme. Sahh!

Very good, sergeant, see to my kit would you? Orlloikefackingorninnit?

What? I beg your pardon! Fackingorninnit? Just you and me, sah. Sahh!


Oh, God … (to be continued)




* There are no friends like old friends.

They are the ones to bring you love and sadness.


(Part six and all the previous episodes can be found, I suppose, if you look for them. Mr Thackeray is dead, poor man.)

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

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