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Mary C. Lennon

David Sloan

Poems from my Daddy

sign my guest book please 


I hope that you will like this poem and that it will stir up old memories, David.
Based on an original idea
By Bill Nesbitt

I'll speak to you, dear stranger, if you really want to know,
So listen , and I'll tell you why I love this city so.

Belfast is an Ulsterman with features dour and grim,
It's a pint of creamy porter and a Sunday morning hymn;
The dingy little café where they serve you dainty teas.
It's up the road to the anchor, for lots of vinegar on hot peas.

It's a banner on July the twelfth, a sticky toffee apple,
A righteous little gospel hall, a roman catholic chapel;
It was a paper boy shoutin telly, a piece of apple tart
A fry upon a Saturday, or a coal breek on a cart.

Do you mind a Corporation gas man, complete with bowler hat,
A wee shop at the corner, a friendly bit of chat;
An oul lad in a duncher, the woman in a shawl,
A pinch of snuff, a tattie farl, a loyal orange hall.
The tobacco smell in York street, a beg of yella man,
An Easter egg that's dyed with whins, a slice of ormo pan
The wee lad with spricks in an oul glass jar,
The preacher at the customs house, or an old Victorian bar.

Mud banks on the lagan when the tide is running low,
The men collecting refuse , bonfires in sandy row;
A bag of salty dullis, a boul of Irish stew,
A goldfish bought in Gresham Street, a preacher at the queue.
It's a portrait of King Billy upon a gable wall,
A flower seller on a stool, outside the city hall;
A half moon round the door step, a polis man on guard,
A man whose crying "delf for regs", a little whitewashed yard.

It's the Mays market on a Friday, the ships lined at the docks,
It's a shiny polished fender, a bunch of green shamrocks;
It's herrings fried in oaten meal, with a drink of buttermilk;
It's a snowy linen handkerchief as soft as finest silk,
O'Hara's bap with country butter, a dander round the zoo,
A climb up tough Ben Madigan to get a splendid view.

It's a bunch of savoury scallions, a plate of buttery champ,
Hopscotch on the footpath, a swing around a lamp,
Delf dogs on the mantelpiece, the wee man from the pru,
The chimney sweep on his bicycle, coming to do the flue;
The ever present vista of the hills of Castlereagh,
The deathless hush on Saturday when linfield play away,
Killarney's lakes and fells, on the bells of the assembly hall,
Spikey broken bottles stuck on the backyard wall.

It's bacon boiled with pamphrey, served when piping hot,
With skerry spuds, balls of flour, cracked laughing in the pot.
It's the smell of mansion polish on the lino in the hall,
Sunday school excursion, a treat for one and all;
It's the islandmen who build great ships that take us far to sea,
S.D. bells in Ann Street where they sell the finest tea;
It's fish and chips in paper, on a Friday from Johnny longs;
The sally army band on Sunday to save the sinning throng.

It's a wee walk up the Lisburn Road and back by the Malone,
The Albert clock in High Street with its rich and mellow tone.
It's a barney Hughes hot cross bun, a canary in a cage,
The old men talking in the park of a past and better age;
It's the sharp expressive dialect of everyone at large,
A ton of coal on the lagan a floating in a barge.
It's wemen on the windystool when the summer sun shines down,
A "v" of apple tattie or a wee race into town.

It's a needle to an anchor in Smithfield's famous mart,
I think I'd better call a halt before I break my heart.
And that's the answer stranger and now I'm sure you'll see,
Why Belfast is the only place in all the world for me.


by Elaine Gaston

He cannot bend to tie his shoe.
I stoop to make the knot
that takes me back
to when he carried fully grown men
down stairs in the middle of the night

found them in floods or snowdrifts
hauled them up cliffs on stretchers
pulled them out of sheughs and bogs
all in a day's work

he held mothers' hands in ambulances
gave the kiss of life
in porches, on roadsides
delivered babies in toilets
of country bars long after closing.

At home he bathed us on a Saturday night
bent over the tub, sleeves rolled up
arms covered in suds
told stories of him as a boy
when once he cycled twenty miles to run a race
and won, then cycled twenty home.

His back, a solid Irish oak,
bent, moved, straightened
to each particular need.
Now its knots tell the years
of a thousand people who leant on him
shoulders that carried other people's lives
as well as his own.

He cannot bend to lace his shoe
and I have learned to make the loop.

I really liked this little poem, it gave me heart the chills,
Made me think about the times I went roamin' round the hills.
Trekking up the Cavehill to roll me Easter egg,
Or spend the day at Banger with me lunch packed in a beg.

Sunday School trips down to Millisle, Lord those were the days.
Lunches packed up in a beg and all the games we played.
Or down to Gannaway with the BB, we'd stay there for a week,
At the end of day we'd be so tired we could hardly speak.

It made me think of Portrush The rides and of course the beach,
Now it seems so far away, almost out of reach.
But I'm going back in April, I'll see them all again,
Tho' I know that it won't be the same as when I was a wean.

But that's OK, I'm still excited just to see the good ould sod,
To know that here on earth it's the closest thing to God.
I'll stroll the streets of Belfast and to Carrickfergus take a trip,
And then I'll stop along the way for some good old fish n chips.

Dave Sloan 3-13-06

Jimmy Rafferty - The Bard of Armagh

The Barred of Armagh

Oh, list to the lay of a poor Irish boozer,
And scorn not the groans from his poor withered throat,
For I'm dryer than an oul camel's arse in a sandstorm,
And it's really beginning to get on my goat!

The tale I've to tell you is sad and depressing,
It would wring a wee tear from the hardest of stone,
For I can't get a drink in my own native city,
And I'm sure you'll agree, through no fault of my own.

One evening I dandered up town, to my 'local',
For a mouthful or two of the nectar that cheers,
And soon I fell in with the best bunch of fellas
You ever could wish for to share a few beers.

Now we talked and we blathered on subjects wide-ranging,
But the crack turned to heroes of the great Gaelic game,
McGeeney and Marsden, and others were mentioned,
All known far and wide as men of great fame.

But some bloke from Tyrone chimed in with a mention,
Of a fella called 'Caravan', or something of the kind,
He seemed to think that this bloke was so special,
That the sunshine did emanate from his behind!

The discussion was heated, and remarks became personal,
And parentage sometimes was called into doubt,
And expressions were used that concerned sex and travel,
And numerous insults were bandied about.

Now these things are common with the best of companions,
When football's discussed from the North to the South,
And so in keeping with the finest of Gaelic traditions,
I drew out and hit him a slap in the mouth!

Now you'd think that the barman, being from Armagh city,
Would understand my strong feelings, in this regard,
But the two-faced oul turncoat, he let me down badly,
He roared in my face, "Outside, Boy- You're barred!"

The very next night, I went on a bit farther,
To a pub where soccer was the game that they played,
And fell in straightaway with a great bunch of fellas,
And sure the crack it got better the longer we stayed!

We were SO sorry England were not the World Champions,
But them Boys from Brazil, they were just different class,
And no wonder Roy Keane could not play for Ireland,
With Dunphy's oul' head stuck so far up his ass!

But then I heard one of them footballing arseholes,
Who talk Man United from morning till night,
And never cop on that the rest of the universe,
Thinks that they're just talking absolute shite!

It was 'Giggsy', and 'Keano' and brilliant wee 'Scholesey',
And there's only so much of that crap you can take,
So purely to shut off the dammed noise pollution,
I drew out and hit him a slap in the bake!

Now the barman turned round, and I got a shock,
For across his back of his shirt was wrote 'Beckham'
He refused to accept that I'd the best of intentions,
And he landed me out on the street, so feck'im!

Then I thought I would travel a little bit farther,
And the Rugby club bar I would give a look-see,
And sure enough I fell in with a great bunch of fellas,
Who looked like them wrasslers you'd see on TV.

They talked of fly halves with funny-shaped balls,
And men with loose heads and lineouts and scrums,
They kept getting down and hugging each other,
And sticking their heads between other's bums!

Now one of the biggest came over, and told me
These boys are all forwards, and men with no fears,
I thought to myself that they looked a bit backward,
For they all had flat noses, and cauliflower ears!

If the forwards were backward, the backs were more forward,
And the three-quarters looked like they'd been in a ruck,
The prop had to lean on the bar to stay upright,
And the fullback was so full that he didn't give a damn!

Now your man tells me this fella here is a hooker,
Indicating a young man exceedingly large,
I'd never met a MAN from that noble profession,
So I thought I would ask him how much did he charge!

This innocent question seemed to greatly annoy him -
Maybe he had not been long in the trade!
But he called me for all the bad names he could think of,
A nasty and noisy abusive tirade!

Now I wanted to hit him a belt on the head,
To show the big bugger how angry I felt,
But I'd have needed to stand on a chair just to reach him,
So I drew up, and gave him the head in the belt!

The barman, he charged round the bar like a rhino,
He refused to accept that it all was a lark,
Grabbed me by the neck and the arse of the trousers,
And landed me half way across the car park!

Well, then I got thinking some more on the subject,
That the bar in the Golf Club might suit to a tee,
I fell in right away with a great bunch of fellas,
The dacentest craythurs you ever would see.

One fella kept saying his wife was a hooker,
But he played with a slice and he couldn’t do a thing,
I said not a word, for I’d learned my lesson,
But then sure he asked me what way did I swing!

He asked who I played with first thing in the morning,
A remark I thought personal – it cut like a knife!
He said they were short of a man for a foursome,
Would I like to play a round with him and his wife !

Well, his Missus, she waved across the room at me,
A woman so huge that a bus she could fill,
She’d a grin like a set of headstones in a graveyard,
With a set of false teeth Shergar left in his will!

Well, I thought to myself, this is worse than Ballymena,
As I stood in the corner, with my back to the wall,
Then the wife headed over, and at that point I panicked,
And knocked yer man down, as I run down the hall!

The next night I headed for a part of the city,
Where the kerbs are all painted with gold, white and green,
And all the graffiti was written in Irish,
And there wasn't a tax disc on any windscreen!

I fell in straightaway with great bunch of fellas,
With great big long beards like your man Ronnie Drew
They were talking of setting up a Workers Republic,
Which seemed a bit odd, 'cos they're all on the Broo!

One fellow asked what I thought of Karl Marx
His works, his ideas, his brilliance and flair,
Says I, "The only one I knowed was Groucho,
Was it Karl had the hat, or the wild curly hair?"

He asked me again if I knew much of Lenin,
And the role that he played in the great workers fight,
Says I, "He was great when he worked with McCartney,
But thon Yoko Ono - she wasn't half right!

This fella, he called me an Ignorant Gobshite,
And a Tool of the Capitalist Oppressor to boot.
He shouted "Agus na habair aon focail eile"
As he waggled his finger right under me snout.

Now, sad to relate, I don't speak the language,
What he said was not what I thought I had heard,
So due to the lack of an accurate translation,
I drew out and hit him a smack in the beard!

Now a fella come over and whispered a message,
Says He "Now don't think that I'm trying to be rude,
I reckon you should leave before he recovers,
Unless you've a hankering for Hospital food!"

By now things were bad, so I thought I would venture
To try my luck on the 'far side of the tracks',
So I headed down town, and found a small tavern,
Where all their tattoos had wee Union Jacks!

I fell in with the best bunch of lads you could wish for,
With muscles all bulging out through their vest.
They seemed to be some kind of Tina Turner Fan Club,
They were all wearing T-shirts with 'Simply the best'!

Now the place it was cozy, and I felt rather warmish,
So I took off my jacket, for a wee breath of air,
The temperature dropped like a stone in an instant,
And all of them gave me the funniest stare.

I looked around to explain this change in the climate,
(Frank Mitchell said nothing in his evening report!)
But then I copped on at what they were staring,
I'd forgot I was wearing my old Celtic shirt!

Now they all carried on as if nothing had happened,
A better reaction than I dared for to hope,
Except one wee skitter, who staggered across to me,
Shouting something about having sex with the Pope!

Now, me and Old Red Socks is not all that friendly,
For some of his statements I've got no great use,
But a man of his age and his physical condition,
Should not be subjected to sexual abuse!

Your man he continued to read out his pedigree,
With insults I'd only seen written on walls,
So to help him control his old sexual perversions,
I drew out and gave him a kick in the balls!

As he lay on the floor, sort of groaning and writhing,
The barman wagged me over to have a wee talk,
He says Sammy has friends who are not very friendly
I think you should run, while you're able to walk!

The next day I was wandering around up in Thomas Street,
When I spotted a sign saying 'Pub With No Beer',
But I headed in anyway, for by now I was desperate,
And sat down at the bar, though it looked a bit queer.

The barmaid was older than what I was used to,
And there was only one customer, dressed all in black,
Says I, It's an odd way to run a such a business,
But I'll try a wee whiskey, just for the crack!

The Old Doll looked at me like I was the Devil,
And says, "We never serve strong drink in here,
This is the Pioneer Temperance Society,
That's why we call it the 'Pub With No Beer'!

She gave me a spiel on the evils of liquor,
It rotted your guts and it addled your brain,
I ought to give money to help out good causes,
Instead of pissing it all down the drain!

Says I "Sure Missus, I know what you're meaning -
The drink is the reason I'm here in your club!
I'm too easily annoyed when I'm under the influence,
If it wasn't for drink, I could go down the pub!

Well, your man came across with a tin that he rattled,
We're collecting to save fallen women, says he.
There's no better thing you could do, sure I told him,
If I slip you a tenner, could you save one for me?

The Old Doll, she called me an ungrateful heathen,
A spawn of the Devil, and a black-hearted brute.
Now you surely don't think I would hit an old woman,
So I took a good thump at your man in the suit!

It was not till he fell with his eye sort of blackened,
That I noticed his shirt collar looked a bit queer.
It seems I had walloped a Priest of the Parish,
So I'm bloody well barred from the Pub With No Beer!

It seems that I'm cursed with the oddest affliction,
Wherever I go, it just follows me there,
Each time I go out with the best of intentions,
And some buckin' eejit starts driving me spare!

Each pub that I enter I get the same greeting,
A rapid Bum's Rush, straight out through the door!
I've had to give up on my wandering and drinking,
For I'm known to each barman as a Nasty Wee Hoor!

So at home with my Kathleen, my poor wife, you'll find me,
Sat by the fire, with a can in my paw,
For there isn't a pub that I dare set my foot in,
And that's why they call me the 'Barred' of Armagh!


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 yez 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


On Carrick shore ah stud an' stud.
An' luked across at Holywud.
An' luked and luked an' there wuz her,
A wavin' from the Kinnegar.

Ah cudn't thole at all, at all,
White suds wuz batin' Carrick wall.
But wind an' waves ah'd be to dare
To reach my love on Kinnegar.

The breakers ris as high - as high,
The scrakin' wind got worse forby,
But thonder wus me guidin' star
A wavin' from the Kinnegar.

Ah tuk me boat an' rowed an' rowed,
Across Knockfergus Bay she goed.
Nor wind nor wave cud Houl me far,
From her that waved on Kinnegar.

Ay, many years has went an' went,
An' now ah'm oul an' gray an' bent,
An' married till a wumman - her
That waved me till the Kinnegar.

An' whiles ah stan an' stare an' stare,
An' mind thon day in Carrick - there.
An' wish ah had bin drowned afar
Afore ah reached the Kinnegar.

published in News Letter many years ago

I Wish

My breath catches as I rise from the floor,
Swooping and graceful and out through the door,
I know where I'm going, I just don't know how,
A question for later....but not for now!

The cool mist of evening is fresh on my skin,
As I soar even higher my flight to begin,
Looking in windows at people within,
Following currents and updraughts of wind.

Sensations abound as I fly down the street,
Guiding my path with a flick of my feet,
Arms stretched before me, hair blowing behind,
Visions of Superman float through my mind.

High over tree tops I marvel at sights,
As wildlife reacts to my singing in flight,
The night owl stops hooting and quickly alert,
Watching this human in spotted nightshirt.

I throw back my head and laugh with delight,
Oh! What an incredibly wonderful night,
I see up ahead the moonlight on a stream,
And I know I must fly through the path of it's beam.

I swoop and I duck as the rays touch my hair,
It's one of those things where you had to be there,
And then as I raced to the heavens above,
Surrounded by clouds like a soft silky glove.

I heard from afar the bells peel from a church,
And I changed my direction and sped with a lurch,
As the rising of dawn washed the spire in sunlight,
I awoke with a start in the darkness of night.

The loss and the sadness that wash through my mind,
As I open the curtains and pull up the blind,
But I smile to myself as I look into the night,
At least in my dreams, my mind can take flight!


We used to watch the raindrops sliding down the glass,
Streaming patterns glistening, starting to amass,
Single rivulets joining others to journey on their way,
We really used to be entranced for hours every day.

Now as I sit here watching them slither down the pane,
They hold no fascination, it's just another rain,
I find it hard to venture out and feel them on my skin,
They bring a sorrow to my heart like raindrops from within.

We always ran like children to the beach when it would pour,
Remember when you ripped your jumper, caught it on the door?
Hand in hand we'd walk along the breakers on the beach,
Getting just as close as we could get before they reached.

Then walking back home soaking wet from top right to our feet,
Shedding boots and coats and clothes, searching for the heat,
From the shower to warming robes, we'd venture to the fire,
Sip cognac, let the heat and music add to our desire.

We'd watch the raindrops falling, beating on the glass,
And lie within each others arms and wish the time could last,
Flames flickering on the ceiling, dancing while we slept,
Then reaching for each other once again as they still leapt.

We vowed to love each other for ever and a day,
And never let the outside world try to get in our way,
And we did, and we didn't but the one thing we couldn't know,
Was that our time together would be short and you would go.

They say I should be thankful for the time we had to share,
I am, I'm not, I still don't understand why you're not there,
If I am being selfish, feeling our time was too brief,
Looking at the raindrops doesn't help to ease my grief.

The rain......it once meant passion and now it brings on pain,
I'd sell my soul to have the chance to hold you once again.


A star was born one summers day,
and all around you felt the ray,
tho' shadows crossed your tiny face,
as delicate as woven lace.

Now God requires your glow with him,
beckons warmth to let you in,
your time with us, so short, so sweet,
without you life is incomplete.

Touching hearts and reaching minds,
now leaving us before your time,
but deep within our hearts we hold,
your tender little glow of gold.