On Leaving Dublin 17th June 1990
From me book
With a ferry to catch and a morning to kill,
Time on our hands and little to do,
We decided. It was decided. I decided
To introduce my lowbrow current squeeze to Irish lit.
“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of culture.”
Irish literature? My speciality.
I spent three years reading it.
Sean O’Casey, Shaw, and Synge? Lightweights.
Samuel Beckett? What the feck?
They say that Heaney is worth a read
But who wants to delve that deep
Into the mysterious world of peat?
Everyone knows there’s only Joyce
And Joyce and Joyce and Joyce.
Dubliners is readable.
The Portrait? Passable.
Ulysses and Finnegan? Indigestible
Handy though at parties –
If there’s a girl you want to impress.
My thesis – a treatise on the absent apostrophe
In the titling of Finnegan – caused ructions.
My viva voce rent the faculty.
Tempers, voices and fists were raised
Eyes were blacked, noses bloodied. Mine got broken.
Finnegans wake. Do they? Like krakens?
Every sodding one of them?
Or was Finnegan a singular man,
Crated ready for the ground and,
His cronies drinking his memory?
Who gives a quark?
Only academics read past page four
Oh and liars.
Owing to the unseemly spat
The viva ended in disarray
I merited a First Class degree
But they awarded me – on account of my injury
Subject to appeal – an agoretat.
We rode a cab to Sandycove
To stately plump Buck Mulligan’s tower.
I told Liz she’d enjoy the visit.
I figured she might not
I was going anyway.
She would have preferred a coffee,
A Starbuck’s skinny latte
Or cappuccino, say, at a pavement café
But Starbucks weren’t around back then and lattes weren’t invented.
The museum charged a punt per person –
No exceptions, no concessions.
Puntshop culture sine qua non.
I knocked on the door and yelled at a window,
A bleary-eyed quare fellow moaning,
“Knock, knock, knock! Who the feck’s there?
What would you be wanting? There’s no Kinches here,”
Opened a slit in the door.
“I want to have a look round.
I’m a mature student, me.
Doing Joyce for me Ph.D.”
“Suit yourself… It’s feckin’ shite… There’s nothin’ to see.”
“Is Buck Mulligan’s staircase there?”
“Yeah. Rusty though. Needs a paint job, to be fair.”
“His shaving brush and bowl?”
“No, but I’ll fetch you one if it turns you on.”
The doorkeeper rolled his eyes at Liz
She itched to be somewhere else with someone else.
The lust had failed to thrive – our fling had died.
“You go in, I’ll stay outside.”
The doorman didn’t want my punt,
He winked at Liz and said,
“G’wan up with yourself. I’ll tell ye no lies,
After dem gobshites yesterday
The dump is still filled full of floys.”
© coolhermit 2023