Images Of Ireland

Poetry

 

 

 

He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with gold and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark clothes
of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the clothes under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats  (1865-1939)

This poem is available on a great new video "The Poetry of Ireland"

 

 

THE DIAGONAL STEAM-TRAP

Now they built a big ship down in Harland's-
She was made for to sell till the Turks-
And they called on the Yard's chief designer
To design all the engines and works.

Now finally the engines was ready
And they screwed in the very last part
An' yer man says `Let's see how she runs, lads!
An' bejasus! the thing wouldn't start!

So they pushed and they worked an' they footered
An' the engineers' faces got red
The designer he stood lookin' stupid
An' scratchin' the back o' his head.

But while they were fiddlin' and workin'
Up danders oul' Jimmie Dalzell
He had worked twenty years in the `Island'
And ten in the `aircraft' as well.

So he pushed and he worked and he muttered
Till he got himself through till the front
And he has a good look roun' the engine
An' he gives a few mutters and grunts,

And then he looks up at the gaffer
An' says he `Mr Smith, d'ye know?
They've left out the Diagonal Steam Trap!
How the hell d'ye think it could go?'

Now the engineer eyed the designer
The designer he looks at the `hat'
And they whispered the one to the other
Diagonal Steam Trap? What's that?'

But the Gaffer, he wouldn't admit, like
To not knowin' what this was about,
So he says `Right enough, we were stupid!
The Diagonal Steam Trap's left out!'

Now in the meantime oul' Jimmie had scarpered
- away down to throw in his boord -
And the Gaffer comes up and says `Jimmy!
D'ye think we could have a wee word.

Ye see that Diagonal Steam Trap?
I know it's left out - it's bad luck
But the engine shop's terrible busy
D'ye think ye could knock us one up?'

Now, oul' Jimmy was laughin' his scone off
He had made it all up for a gag
He seen what was stoppin' the engine -
The feed-pipe was blocked with a rag!

But he sticks the oul' hands in the pockets
An' he says `Aye, I'll give yez a han'!
I'll knock yes one up in the mornin'
An' the whole bloody thing will be grand!'

So oul' Jim starts to work the next morning
To make what he called a Steam Trap,
An oul' box an' a few bits of tubing
An' a steam gauge stuck up on the top,

An' he welds it all on till the engine
And he says to the wonderin' mob
As long as that gauge is at zero
The Steam Trap is doin' its job!'

Then he pulls the rag outa the feed pipe
An' he gives the oul' engine a try
An' bejasus! she goes like the clappers
An' oul' Jimmy remarks `That's her nye!'

Now the ship was the fastest seen ever
So they sent her away till the Turks
But they toul' them `That Steam Trap's a secret!
We're the only ones knows how it works!

But the Turks they could not keep their mouths shut
An' soon the whole story got roun'
An' the Russians got quite interested -
-Them boys has their ears till the groun'!

So they sent a spy dressed as a sailor
To take photies of Jimmy's Steam Trap
And they got them all back till the Kremlin
An' they stood round to look at the snaps.

Then the head spy says `Mr Kosygin!
I'm damned if I see how that works!
So they sent him straight off to Siberia
An' they bought the whole ship from the Turks!

When they found the Steam Trap was a `cod', like,
They couldn't admit they'd been had
So they built a big factory in Moscow
To start makin' Steam Traps like mad!

Then Kosygin rings up Mr Nixon
And he says `Youse'uns thinks yez are great!
But wi' our big new Russian-made Steam Trap
Yez'll find that we've got yez all bate!'

Now oul Nixon, he nearly went `harpic'
So he thought he'd give Harland's a call
And he dialled the engine-shop number
And of course he got sweet bugger all!

But at last the call came through to Jimmy
In the midst of a terrible hush,
`There's a call for you here from the White House!'
Says oul' Jim, `That's a shop in Portrush!'

There's a factory outside of Seattle
Where they're turnin' out Steam Traps like Hell
It employs twenty-five thousand workers
And the head of it - Jimmy Dalzell!

Crawford Howard

 

 

 

 

Me An' Me Da

I'm livin' in Drumlister,
An' I'm gettin very oul',
I have to wear an Indian bag
To save me from the coul'.
The deil a man in this townlan'
Wos claner raired nor me,
But I'm livin' in Drumlister
In clabber to the knee.

Me da lived up in Carmin,
An' kep' a sarvint boy;
His second wife wos very sharp,
He birried her with joy:
Now she wos thin, her name was Flynn,
She come from Cullentra,
An' if me shirt's a clatty shirt
The man to blame's me da.

Consarnin' weemin, sure it wos
A constant word of his,
`Keep far away from them that's thin,
Their temper's aisy riz.'
Well, I knowed two I thought wud do,
But still I had me fears,
So I kiffled back an' forrit
Between the two, for years.

Wee Margit had no fortune
But two rosy cheeks wud plaze;
The farm of lan' wos Bridget's,
But she tuk the pock disayse:
An' Margit she wos very wee,
An' Bridget she wos stout
But her face wos like a gaol dure
With the boults pulled out.

I'll tell no lie on Margit,
She thought the worl' of me;
I'll tell the truth, me heart wud lep
The sight of her to see
But I wos slow, ye surely know,
The raison of it now,
If I left her home from Carmin
Me da wud rise a row.

So I swithered back an' forrit
Till Margit got a man;
A fella come from Mullaslin
An' left me jist the wan.
I mind the day she went away,
I hid wan strucken hour,
An' cursed the wasp from Cullentra
That made me da so sour.

But cryin' cures no trouble,
To Bridget I went back,
An' faced her for it that night week
Beside her own turf-stack.
I axed her there, an' spoke her fair,
The handy wife she d make me,
I talked about the lan' that joined
- Begob, she wudn't take me!

So I'm livin' in Drumlister
An' I'm get'tin' very oul'
I creep to Carmin wanst a month
To thry an' make me sowl:
The deil a man in this townlan'
Wos claner raired nor me,
An' I'm dyin' in Drumlister
In clabber to the knee.

By "The Bard of Tyrone"
The Reverend William Marshall

The estate of Margaret Marshall

 

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Owen Brennan
Copyright 1998 belongs with the original authors. All rights reserved.
Revised: July 28, 2002.