Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

One Celt, Armed

Poetry by priests?
Who gives it more than mock attention?
We read their poems, yes,
author first, then the title,
finally the verse itself.
Not much, except for Hopkins.
We wait for Rome, you see,
to give us in addition to its saints
one more decent poet.
A sot once said
“When things get bad enough,
you will see a Celt,
armed with a quiver of poems,
ride flaming out of the hills,
soaring over the lakes,
wearing a rainbow for a Roman collar.”
Things are bad enough right now by half.
We need to hear his gallop soon.

Song for Ballyheigue

County Kerry, Ireland

Twig fire limn
eight fairy
in a lour cave mouth

Four of whom
a tabor thrum

Four of whom
breathe zephyr
through wee fife

All of whom
leap star,
the joy of life

All of whom
sing lark,
the yet to come

The Widow Murphy Sets Her Cap

Mrs. Ryan keeps her cat inside at night
but lets it out at dawn to go anywhere it likes
while she's at work. Every day the cat

crosses the road to call on the Widow Murphy.
Mrs. Ryan doesn't know her cat calls on Mrs. Murphy
but she has told the widow twice her cat is on a diet:

a little kibble in the morning and a little water at night.
Nothing else. When the cat arrives at Mrs. Murphy's,
the widow lets him in and gives him warm milk

and a dollop of salmon on a porcelain saucer.
Afterward the cat takes a long nap on a Persian rug till
the widow lets him out in the afternoon

to cross the road and wait for Mrs. Ryan
to pull her Lincoln into the driveway.
Mrs. Ryan's husband, Paddy, now retired,

has never called on the Widow Murphy.
He doesn't know the widow's waiting.
Paddy likes his tea strong, his wife once said.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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