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tambourine (CW-SW)


dedalus
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Arrows pierced the hut when I was seven,

and my father, transfixed, fell down on the hob;

some big chap with an axe finished off the job

while me Ma was screaming and I was silently

 

cheering them on, wide-eyed, frightened,

peering up from under the table.

Bad cess to me Daddy, thank God he's gone!

 

But me Ma, I couldn't believe it, she was in floods of tears.

How could she mourn him after all those years?

Ochone, he was my heart and soul and moon and sun!

 

I'll never understand women.

 

The French Sassenachs came when I was fifteen

and I was given an old spear, shoved into the line;

hang about in the middle, lad, ye'll be fine!

 

But they hit us in the middle and front and sides.

Bleedin disaster.

 

Dear God, these people had horses

the size of bloody giraffes,

and they were better dressed, too, than we were;

they sliced us up and killed us in hundreds.

 

I went to ground in the woods of Wicklow,

and met a sweet girl, her name was Marie.

She said, young man, I cannot sleep with thee

until this ancient land of ours is free!

 

Female patriots, a scourge, she was my first.

Later I was to meet plump Molly Ivors.

 

I slippy-slided back to Dubbalin:

sure where else could I hope to go?

Malaga

Taormina

Benidorm

Hydra

Phuket

Penang?

 

Well, you couldn't go local in Kyoto:

just one little photo

says it all.

 

Shalangalang. Smack.

 

That was then.

This is now.

 

I have the vision.

I have lived hundreds of years.

It's what I do. No, really.

 

There is a notch in the hills,

just there, please look at the horizon

as the sun goes sinking down.

 

This is why I love Africa.

 

Egypt, on the other hand, reeks; it does;

it has the smell of the Pharaohs,

the stink of their whips and chains,

 

their stone pyramids,

their Nazi mentality.

 

I could get along the Greeks

for no good reason.

They'd talk and talk forever

 

then smash 200 plates

to pre-bouzouki music.

God, how we enjoyed that!

 

There is nothing better

than to sling around plates

when love turns sour in the baking sun.

 

Inspector Robinson, CID,

made an arrest

on Mykonos.

 

Jesus, that took balls.

The walls

gather so close around you.

 

Been there? You know

just what I mean. Deadly.

 

Israel? I can remember it

back in the good old days,

the decade after Titus.

 

They came back.

You knew they would.

 

Now it's fifty-five machine guns

every hundred yards.

Trigger happy maniacs.

 

Bad fuckin bastards,

with about half of them

in uniform. I tell no lie.

 

Food's not bad, though.

 

If you and I could fly

across the deep and wine-dark sea,

there could be hope and love and mystery

 

in the cradle of our history.

 

We could look to the rising of the sun,

but some idiot always has a gun.

Come little lad, come home, be free.

 

They push kids like you and me to take it:

but grow to a man you can shove and shake it

 

like a tambourine; I've seen

that so many, so many times.

 

And not a thing you do

(I loved that girl)

not a single solitary thing

(I loved her from the start)

will make the slightest

bit of difference.

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

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Welcome to the forum, Dedalus! I enjoyed this poem. In several ways, its narrative style reminded me of the Rolling Stones' song "Sympathy for the Devil." Then there was this part which made me think of Yeats and Maud Gonne:

I went to ground in the woods of Wicklow,

and met a sweet girl, her name was Marie.

She said, young man, I cannot sleep with thee

until this ancient land of ours is free!

 

Female patriots, a scourge, she was my first.

Later I was to meet plump Molly Ivors.

I'm somewhat familiar with your work (from PC), and (as is the case with this poem) I always enjoy the cultural and historical allusions which you incorporate therein.

 

Sorry I haven't gotten to your first poem yet, but I hope to catch up soon. I'm about two thirds of the way through it, but I need time to finish and absorb it before I can say anything even remotely meaningful.

 

Tony

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

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Hi Tony, and thanks for the welcome. I must compliment yourself and Alex for the great job you've done in setting up and running such an attractive site. There are a number of familiar names from PC and I look forward to getting to know the other members.

 

Best wishes,

dedalus

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

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Now I feel better- That ringing lyric tone- the eternal poet the unending commentary, the wondrous use of language- well done Ded- Love the reflections on war and love from the roving eye of of the trans-historical narrator...

 

Excellent as always!

 

DC

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

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