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The Tale of Tadgh O'Sullivan (Parts 1 - 4)


dedalus
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O’Sullivan treads the bogs of Ireland,

his feet squelching in peaty puddles,

and a great big happy grin on his face.

 

The face of O’Sullivan is not handsome,

but broad and raw and of red visage,

generally smiling, a display of broad teeth.

 

Maureen Rua O’Flanagan, a witch I suppose,

in the English understanding, has been planning

the fatal demise of Tadgh O’Sullivan.

 

Three months she has been thinking,

mulling over one plan and then another,

keeping all these things to herself.

 

Why, you might ask, would she do such a thing?

But this is a ridiculous foreign sort of question,

since she takes her orders from Those-We-Donユt-Know.

 

Every single night over the West of Ireland,

night descends in a fearful sable shroud,

lit from above by bright shining stars,

 

while in the townland of Ballynasallagh,

amid the stone ruins of a Franciscan abbey,

prayers are no longer chanted or sung.

 

But this is the wreck of medieval Ireland,

seen by all encircling families

as five or ten minutes ago.

 

What is the sin of Tadgh O’Sullivan,

a man of the present modern age,

as seen by the ancient gods and faeries?

 

We may never know.

But Maureen Rua O’Flanagan

is working towards his end.

 

Tadgh was a great traveller

not only in youth but after:

he’d been to Kerry and even Donegal,

 

and he had a lovely soft Irish

learned from his grandmother,

who spoke nothing else.

 

In the digging of the ground,

not far from the place that was his home,

a body was uncovered,

 

and this was no skeleton,

but a dessicated bog-preserved body,

with an armband and a hank of hair,

 

and so Tadgh did the normal things,

a preservative plastic and canvas cover,

and a telephone call to the people in Dublin,

 

who came down over the next few days

in their vans and white forensic coats,

dug down and took the body away.

 

And yet the gods were angry,

and it was very hard to know what to do,

so that Maureen Rua O’Flanagan,

 

alone and half-mad

in a tottering cottage, the three scrawny cats,

had visions and dreams.

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

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