"On Leaving Dublin - Bloomsday plus one"

(this is one of my earlier pomes - written last year on the 17th June - I'll set about licking it into shape)


With a morning to kill

before the ferry,

to Anglesey,

and nothing to do,

we decided,

it was decided,

well, I decided,

to introduce my squeeze to Irish literature.


I told her, "Nothing wrong with a bit of culture".


Irish lit?

A subject I knew all about

after reading it at university

and all but landing a first class honours degree.


There’s Joyce and Joyce and err Joyce,

“Dubliners” is readable.

"The Portrait?" I suppose, passable.

Finnegan and Ulysses?


but great when you want to impress.


Beckett has his moments:

And there’s always Synge...


We were told that Heaney is worth reading,

but I didn’t want to delve so deep

into the world of peat...


My final thesis,

a piece on the controversial,



missing apostrophe

in the titling of Finnegan – caused ructions.


My seismic viva voce rent the faculty.


Tempers were raised, fists and voices too,

and, with abrasions ensuing, blood and gore,

the examination folded in disarray

My degree?  Second division (no honours)

A dead liberty.


Finnegans wake

Do they?

Like krakens?

Every single damned one of them?


Or was Finnegan just a singular man,

deceased but his mates were waking,

his memory, drinking,

and the fiddler’s elbow achin’?


Who gives a quark?

Nobody ever made it past page four.


We rode a cab to Sandy Cove

To stately plump Buck Mulligan’s tower

It’s a museum now.


Cazzie was lowbrow but teachable.

I told her she’d enjoy it.

I hoped she might.

I reckoned she wouldn’t.

I was going anyway.


She would have preferred a coffee,

a Starbucks skinny latte at a pavement table

nearby the Ha'penny Bridge.


(Only Starbucks weren’t around back then

And lattes weren’t invented.)


Entry was just a quid per person,

Poundshop culture sine qua non.


We knocked on the door

And knocked again.

No answer came.


I curved down to the open letter slit

yelling, "Kinch Ahoy!!"


And smirking back at my blinking blank

none the wiser girlfriend

shrinking in the shadows.


Muttering, “Knock, knock, knock! Who's there?”

And sniffing at a runaway dewdrop

A bleary eyed chin obscured with

stubble beard appeared.


“No Kinch here. What would you be wanting?”  beard chin asked,


Carolyn sighed as, trying to evoke literary fraternity,

I lied, “Have a look around inside, to get a feel for Joyce –

I’m doin’ a dissertation, me.”


The beard and chin, with shoulders, shrugged.

“Suit yourself…there’s nothin’ much to see.

It’s feckin’ shite.”


With benefit of hindsight,

The beard, or was it the chin?

Was 'feckin' right.


In frames, on walls, two portraits of yer man himself to see

and a blown up replica of a kinema ticket

front stalls threepence halfpenny

like Nora Barnacle ripped in two;

if she had nothing better to do

than splicing herself to the clientele.


“What about the staircase that Buck Mulligan descends?”

(I had not read through to chapter two)


The stubbly chin was stroked

It went, “Well, yes, that’s still there.

Rusty though. Could handle a paint job, to be fair.”


Excitement rising, eyes aglow

I pushed the envelope,


“And Buck Mulligan's shaving brush and bowl?!?”


The doorkeeper stood and shared

a silent stare

with Carolyn standing there.

Her arms folded.  Bored.


I sighed within

Wondering how long our flingette could survive,

once the lust wore off – it couldn’t thrive.


I handed the beard two punts.

It shook side to side

and handed them back.


“G’wan up wi y'sels,

I won’t tell yer no loys

You couldn't like it, you couldn’t…

 And after d'em feckin gobshite 

eejits here yesterday,

the dump is still filled full of floys.”

◄ "Cuddles"

"Adieu" ►


Profile image

Harry O'Neill

Thu 1st Sep 2016 14:21

I knew a girl who was doin` a doctorate on the hyphen...But Finnegans wake!!!...even if it was only the
missing apostrophe!!!...You deserve the Literary V.C. just for the attempt man.

(what an enjoyable - out -Irishing - the Irish read )

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message