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Seamus Heaney RIP August 30, 2013

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In memory of the great man, who died today and whose writing means so much to me.

Mid-Term Break 
by Seamus Heaney

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o’clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

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A duck walks into a bar … June 28, 2010

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A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich. The barman looks at him and says,

“Hang on! You’re a duck.”

“I see your eyes are working,” replies the duck.

“And you can talk!” Exclaims the barman.

“I see your ears are working, too,” Says the duck.

“Now if you don’t mind, can I have my beer and my sandwich please?”

“Certainly, sorry about that,” says the barman as he pulls the duck’s pint.

“It’s just we don’t get many ducks in this pub.. What are you doing round this way?”

“I’m working on the building site across the road,” explains the duck. “I’m a plasterer.”

The flabbergasted barman cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to read it. So, the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman good day and leaves.

The same thing happens for two weeks. Then one day the circus comes to town.

The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint and the barman says to him: “You’re with the circus, aren’t you? Well, I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!”

“Sounds marvellous,” says the ringmaster, handing over his business card.

“Get him to give me a call.”

So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the barman says,

“Hey Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money.”

“I’m always looking for the next job,” says the duck. “Where is it?”

“At the circus,” says the barman.

“The circus?” Repeats the duck.

“That’s right,” replies the barman.

“The circus?” The duck asks again. “With the big tent?”

“Yeah,” the barman replies.

“With all the animals who live in cages, and performers who live in caravans?”

says the duck.

“Of course,” the barman replies.

“And the tent has canvas sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?” persists the duck.

“That’s right!” says the barman.

The duck shakes his head in amazement, and says .. . .

“What the f… would they want with a plasterer?”

Bank Charges From the Dead June 23, 2010

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snopes.com: Bank Charges From the Dead.

An interesting read …

Some Long Shut Place June 10, 2010

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Some Long Shut Place

by the Rambling Man

I thought I heard you today
beyond in the parlour
rummaging through a drawer or some long shut place
a chair emitting your creak, too light to be anyone else

and yesterday too
when the child fell in the bathroom,
hushing her tears and the crying with silence.
Every so often you’d hold her, and she’d stop.

I think I hear you often
in her and in me and in things long forgotten.
A glance or a cough or a smell.
I stop for a minute and check, just to be sure.

I need you today
for the head is full of oul crap
like stale oil trying to start a new engine
churning and flying and not moving an inch.

I think you can hear me today thrun in a heap and distressed.
“Get up now and get out in the fresh air!”, you’d say
“You’re as good as any of them, and better than most!”
Yesterday’s words of guidance, provide my inspiration for today …

In memory of my late father, 14 years lost today.

The Gravestone May 28, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, Poetry & Humor.
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OK so this is a repost – but one of my “most searched for” terms is poetry from New Zealand or about New Zealand (where I used to live) …

So I wrote this one while I was there … hopefully a few people will find something of interest that they can relate to …

The Gravestone
(Kōhatu)

by The Rambling Man

The gravestone lies quiet, at the end of the lane,
open and looking out on the harbour.  It’s raining.
White and tall stands the monument, adorned with simplicity
It is your sacred place, for I am forbidden to walk there.

Is it a man or a woman you hold ? or maybe a few ?
Are you a rangatira, some powerful man of old ?
Alone now it stands, on a misty patch of sage green grass
surrounded by fences and unwritten rules.

Are you a chief who once commanded many ?
Or a warrior, the slayer of taniwha ?
Or maybe a poet, a wise old lady, chin adorned with moko ?
All now lying quiet, looking over the water, guarding the Moana.

Maybe you roam between the lane and the harbour, just watching.
Ready to greet this Pākehā with a fearsome haka, sending me on my way.
But you would slap your thigh in disclosure and we could share a hongi, breathing the same breath, and sit and share our thoughts.

What can you see from your side ?
What can I not see from mine ?

A Photo a Day for 8 years May 25, 2010

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This man took a photo of his face every day for 8 years, stuck them all together in a video montage and hey presto …. he ages before your very eyes …

Living My Life Faster – 8 years of JK’s Daily Photo Project from JK Keller on Vimeo.

Home Along the River May 18, 2010

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An old one, but a nice one all the same …

Home Along the River

by the Rambling Man

“You’ll be alright now, son!” he would say;
My gills as green as the sea being sliced by our bow;
And around the rocky point we would lurch – the tall tower
giving calm to the swell; inching inside her protection,
which could never come quickly enough.

The rocks of Hook draw lines that keep the maddening current in tow.
At Dunmore, the yachts are making for home on the tide.
I stumble from stern to midships, keen not to miss a thing.
The harbour’s form burning it’s place in my mind.

“Call out the bays and the rocks now, son!” he would say;
“Because I don’t want to get lost!”
And I’d jump to attention, glad to be back on hushed water.
Slowly they passed us, the river easing us home …
Hall Bay and then Boyce’s, with Creadan Head to your back.
The hatch patterned seats leaving marks on my knees.

“There’s Dollar and Booley!” I’d shout
Their crowdless beaches a sign that our own harbour was near.
“Can we go digging for treasure?” I’d plead,
until I outgrew the tales of the old folk,
who were rich from ingots found simply out walking !

A turn to the North meant I could command at the wheel …
The diesel engine thrumming a comforting song.
“Keep her straight now, son!” he would say;
“And line up the two towers in your sights” …
Rounding the Barrack, we’d laugh and talk about how
those on the Strand would rather be out here with us.

Tied up and safely ashore, the boat strains ‘gainst the current,
longing to bear us again, home, along the river.

Treadmill Dancing – Classic ! May 17, 2010

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View here on YouTube … they’ve disabled embedding.

The Catch May 10, 2010

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The Catch

by the Rambling Man

What joy it gave to feel the water sliver
with the blurred blue-green of a fish …
tugging at your hand on a string of orange twine;
dead-weight weaving against the strain,
patterns dancing beneath the calm.
Patterns changing, pulled from one world into the next.
Soon water will thread gills no more.
All will be done. Our thoughts will turn to home
and to the taste of the sea.

Phrase of the Day #210 April 14, 2010

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He was so mean he installed double glazing just so the kids wouldn’t hear the ice cream truck !

What can you say ? April 13, 2010

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The best excuse I have ever heard for not turning up to a very important Under-18 County Hurling Final …

A selector goes to the young player’s door to “collect” him …

Man : Is Johnny ready to go to the match ?
Mother : Ah, he can’t come !
Man : What !  Why ?  He’s our star forward !
Mother : Ah, he’s above in the bed with his girlfriend !

17 years old – G.A.A. legend status assured !

Golf March 30, 2010

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Golf
by the Rambling Man

Now golf is a game of very much pain
its like hitting your head with a stick
you swing and you hit and curse when you miss,
sure the game makes the brightest look thick !

From the tee to the green, and to putts most obscene
we weekly subject all our patience
pushed left or sliced right, tis really a fight
not to lose it for lack of adjacence.

But when you hit a good shot, far more often than not
you lose all your anger in seconds
for theres nothing as cool, as watching men drool
when a birdie or eagle them beckons …

So with a good score secured, surely the worst you’ve endured
but your next shot is barely a scuff
and the lie you’ve just found, on scruffy old ground
makes long grass seem like lawn tis that rough !

So you hack and you whack, and damage your back
and grumble all the way to the green
but the ball it pops out, and leaves you a shout
at a putt like you’ve ne’er before seen.

So when out on the links, if your spirit it sinks
just remember the secret to golf
no matter how badly you play, theres always a way
to walk off the course feeling worse !

To those who have gone before March 24, 2010

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So I haven’t published a poem in a long time … here goes …

“To Those Who Have Gone Before”
by the Rambling Man

Your familiar names vault from the page – an unfaltering script
clearing the mist from some long-buried fact.
I carry your blood but could not recognise your face.
Or those of your children; my grandparents.

With each secret uncovered, a new branch on a tree
grows and stirs up the questions that a fresh life can bring.
Was there another ? A name not recorded but who
smiled and laughed, cried and then faded away ?

The gallery above me, my ancestors,
in ranks, are slowly revealed.
I am but one from the bottom, looking above
at the unknown figures of my forebears.

What were you like, ‘my people’ ?
You who have shaped me and made me.
Were you bold, or humble, funny or harsh ?
In those times long since passed, but still present.

Your names I record, so that those who have gone before
shall be known to those waiting to join them.
With each name that I speak, I complete
the patchwork that is me. And my children.

I am proud to be of you. Gardener, sailor, soldier and rebel.
And too of those unknown, unable to read or yet to be discovered.
For I am of you and you are of me.
Your posterity is revived.

World’s Shortest Fairy Tale July 8, 2009

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Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl ‘Will you marry me?’

The girl said, ‘NO!’

And the guy lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf a lot and drank beer and scotch and had tons of money in the bank and left the toilet seat up and farted whenever he wanted.

The End

My Only Lions Test July 3, 2009

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My Only Lions Test

by the Rambling Man

Last night I dreamed a lovely dream, like I’ve never dreamed before
I dreamed I was a Lion and touched down the winning score
their backline was a little flat, plain for all to see
As I chased down the grubber kick by the girl who makes the tea

I cross and dived, just left of post and smothered the rugby ball
three lads dived too, all red clad men, waiting for the call
the referee he raised his hand and we were in the lead
twas only then I realised, to pee I had a need !

I walked past Shane Williams (!), who was lining up the kick
and I remember thinking, Jaysis O’Gara must be sick
and then in that dreamlike way, the pitch was nowhere to be seen
I had obviously found the toilet, just what could it mean ?

Then the rest of the team were heading home and making for the bus
I was taking their congratulations, amidst the winning fuss
Darren Clarke shook my hand, for he had played scrum half
and the man that runs our golf shop, also joined the laugh

At last as I began to wake, I realised I was going mad
Bull Hayes was walking round my room, looking really sad
the local man who delivers milk had just blocked his clearance down
and was charging over the line again, sliding on the ground
the milkman wore a dark green shirt, shattering all our hope
and the Lions had lost my only test. I dream like such a dope !

Post Fodder June 29, 2009

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I’m not well of late so this will have to suffice …

Northsider girl in bed with her boyfriend says, ‘ How dare you call me a slapper, get out of my bed right now and take your mates with you! ‘

Did you ever ask yourself … June 26, 2009

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… why Superman stops bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

An awful joke about a squashed frog June 24, 2009

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There was a 13 year old boy walking down the sidewalk dragging a flattened frog on a string behind him. He walked up to a house of ill repute and knocked on the door. When the Madam answered it, she saw the little boy and asked what he wanted. He said, ‘I want to have sex with one of the women inside. I have the money and I’m not leaving until I do.’

The Madam figured, why not, so she told him to come in. Once in, she told him to pick any of the girls he liked. He asked, ‘Do any of the girls have any diseases?’ Of course, the Madam said no, but the boy replied, ‘I heard all the men talking about having to get shots after making it with Amber. So THAT’S the girl I want!’

Since the little boy was so adamant and had the money to pay for it, the Madam told him to go to the first room on the right. He headed down the hall dragging the squashed frog behind him. Ten minutes later he came back, still dragging the frog, paid the Madam, and headed out the door.
The Madam stopped him and asked, ‘Why did you pick the only girl in the place with a disease, instead of one of the others?’

He said, ‘Well, if you must know, tonight when I get home, my parents are going out to a restaurant to eat, leaving me at home with my babysitter. After they leave, my babysitter will have sex with me because she just happens to be very fond of little boys. She will get the disease that I just caught.

Wh en Mom and Dad get back, Dad will take the babysitter home. On the way, he’ll jump her bones, and he’ll catch the disease.

Then when Dad gets home from the babysitters, he and Mom will go to bed and have sex, and Mom will catch it.

In the morning when Dad goes to work, the Milkman will deliver the milk, have a quickie with Mom and catch the disease…and HE’S the son-of-a-bitch who ran over my FROG!

Move over Tiger ! June 9, 2009

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor, World Affairs.
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Continuing with the theme of North Korean madness …

N. Korea’s Kim Jong-il shot 38 under par his 1st time out !

via WorldTribune.com

-38 !  30 f*cking 8 under par in the one round …. wait now a minute !  That’s eh … 34 shots !  Most professionals would be happy to shoot that over 9 holes !

So he’s a fantastic golfer on top of it all … so come out from behind the curtain Mr.Kim – the world needs ya !  We bow “Dear Leader” in humility before your greatness !

Now where did I put that bloody holodeck key ?

When Adam walked in Eden young June 7, 2009

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When Adam walked in Eden young

from “Additional Poems”

by A.E. Houseman

III

When Adam walked in Eden young,
Happy, ’tis writ, was he,
While high the fruit of knowledge hung
Unbitten on the tree.

Happy was he the livelong day;
I doubt ’tis written wrong:
The heart of man, for all they say,
Was never happy long.

And now my feet are tired of rest,
And here they will not stay,
And the soul fevers in my breast
And aches to be away.

Irish weather May 30, 2009

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The Irish Met Service have officially declared Irish weather as Muslim.

Sometimes sunny …
M
ostly Shi ‘ ite

No offence intended to Muslims or rainy days.

Far in a Western Brookland May 29, 2009

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Far in a Western Brookland
by A.E. Houseman

LII

Far in a western brookland
That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
By pools I used to know.

There, in the windless night-time,
The wanderer, marvelling why,
Halts on the bridge to hearken
How soft the poplars sigh.

He hears: no more remembered
In fields where I was known,
Here I lie down in London
And turn to rest alone.

There, by the starlit fences,
The wanderer halts and hears
My soul that lingers sighing
About the glimmering weirs.

The Loner May 4, 2009

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The Loner
by the Rambling Man

A laughing scar adorns his face – this man
smiling a grudging smile that his mouth does not show;
his eyes cast down upon his dreams, gathered close around his feet.
Where a broken cup saves the shrapnel coins of annoyed passers-by,
but there still sits the loner.
alone but for his thoughts –
And the looks that friendly eyes might throw.

I was once like you, you know.
you upright man with a fine coat
and more worried about the rain than about a bed.
or thinking how to face another day in the crowded desert of this town;
its walls that once gave me comfort long torn down;
The roof that shelters me is not my own.
on a friday night you laugh and drink your cares away …
I do the same and cry.

My remorseful thoughts diminish with every further step,
and soon the loner enters not a notion.
until again we meet, three hours hence for me
and longer space of time for him.
for all that he sits, his reason still below his feet.
His eyes meet mine and tell at once a story,
of a man once like me, you know.  speaking reems with every
silent moment that passes like the damp air between.

I remember you, kind man, from the eyes that glanced before
with smirk of sorrow and the muted words, as you went along your way.
for the coins you found and fumbled, i give you thanks;
they less good to me as a connection, however brief.
For it is the small reminders, that i was once like you, which allow
the ounce of hope to smoulder that i might be again.  i feel like saying
there good sir but for the greace of god go you
but this burden is mine to keep, for as long as i must.
For those are not dreams that lie at my feet but stones that do not judge.

Without Custard December 10, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, General Bloggery, Poetry & Humor.
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Well dear readers, the good news is I’m back !! but not just yet … I am returning from the Antipodes early in the New Year and blogging can again start in earnest – I must say I’ve missed it.

Now on to a little New Zealand ditty picked up this morning in my local bakery …

Me: Can I have an apple scroll please ?
Assistant: Sure. Do you want the one with custard in it or the uncustarded one ?
Me: Erm … the one with no custard perhaps ?
Assistant: Sweet. The uncustarded one it is !
So there you have it … the adjective to describe the lack of custard in a scroll … uncustarded !  You heard it here first !

Some Long Shut Place September 24, 2008

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Some Long Shut Place

by the Rambling Man

I thought i heard you today
beyond in the parlour
rummaging in a drawer or some long shut place
a chair emitting your creak, too light to be anyone else

and yesterday too
when the child fell in the bathroom,
shushing the tears and the crying with silence.
Every so often you’d hold her, and she’d stop.

I think i hear you often
in her and in me and in things long forgotten.
a glance or a cough or a smell.
I stop for a minute and check, just to be sure.

I need you today
for the head is full of oul crap
like stale oil trying to start a new engine
churning and flying and not moving an inch.

I think you can hear me today
thrun in a heap and distressed.
get up now and get out in the fresh air, you’d say
and so i did.