The Percy French Award for Comic Verse.
1st. Prize – €300
2nd Prize – €200
4 shortlisted prizes of €100 each.
Siobhan Flynn, Churchtown, Dublin 14 - "In the Ether 2016"
James Kennedy, Craughwell, Co. Galway - "The Lady's Revenge"
Taria Karillion, Chester, U.K. - "Holy Service"
Shuna Le Moine, Tam, France - "The Happy Ghost Choir"
Damien McConville, Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone - "The Stammer"
Michael Moriarty, Artane, Dublin 5 - "The Bucket List"
1st Prize Michael Moriarty – Dublin
2nd Prize James Kennedy, – Galway
3rd Prize Taria Karillion – England
In The Ether 2016 – Siobhan Flynn
Siobhán’s poetry has appeared in Wild Atlantic Words, Brain of Forgetting, The Pickled Body, Hennessy New Irish Writing in The Irish Times and others. She has been shortlisted for the Hennessy Awards 2016. She lives in Dublin where she is a member of Airfield Writers and is working towards a first collection.
I have seen them on my screen
Smiling with altered faces,
Posing on glossy pages in their finery
And unposed falling out of dineries.
I have turned the page
Or pressed a button,
Or have lingered and watched awhile
As they live their meaningless lives,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a poem
To please my companions
When we are alone
Being certain that they and I
Don’t care what was worn:
We are aged, aged fuddy-duddies:
Celebrity groupies are spurned.
Some people’s days are spent
In pursuit of fame,
Their nights in public places
While paparazzi call their names.
They possess no real talent
But are young and beautiful,
And paid to let us watch
Them carry on like fools
With their so-called friends,
Who hope their proximity
Will bring them fame too in the end.
Some may indeed have sweet natures
Or at least are like that at the out,
But they are, more often than not,
Drunken, vainglorious louts.
I suppose they have done no great wrong
But their success pains my heart,
Compared to the singers of songs;
The actors who inhabit a part
Or the joy bringers of comedy;
They do not get a fair turn,
Those who perform subtly:
This scribbler acutely does mourn.
“Fame is the spur” to urge us on
To better things, to greater heights
Not just be enchanted by renown
Fifteen minutes in the sun.
Minute by minute they change;
The shadows on our screens.
Their hunger to be seen
Weighs on them like a stone.
Reality tv becomes unreal,
“Look at me” is their appeal.
The long-legged wannabes,
The guy who almost won,
The woman who cheated
And their queen the great Kardashian.
They are all in the gutter press
and some of us are looking at her arse.
The worship of celebrity
Can make a mush of the brain.
What is this need to idolise?
Why do they queue in the rain
Murmuring famous names?
In breathless thrall they wait
For a glimpse of the latest
Or push and shove their way
To the front of a crowd,
Their favourites illuminated
In the light of their phones.
Why do they do it at all?
Is this the new faith
the new opium of the people?
It doesn’t matter what you do or say
What matters is your clothes, the way
You wear your hair,
The brand of watch, your car.
These are the new dreams;
Dreams of things, ideals are dead.
I write it out in a verse;
none of this adulation is deserved.
I’ve explained, mainly sullenly:
our cerebral duty is scorn.
The lady’s revenge James Kennedy
“A ruptured deesk, the doctor say, me translate good for you, ok?
He feex you good in week or two, he good with knife, is good, ok?
Don’t worry meester, is good ok, just get some rest, is good ok?
And lady, lady cry no more, we feex him good, is good ok?”
Consuela, our translator, fluent in Swedish, French and Greek,
And like the doctors and the nurses, she found English tough to speak.
But my ten days there were Valium-filled and pain and worry free;
The low point of my hospital stay contrived by Anne Marie.
I awoke day 2 in a clean white room, the sunshine pouring through,
“Buenos dias,” said the pretty ward nurse and with her smile my worries flew.
They brought me breakfast, fluffed my pillows, pumped in more Valium pills
With levels of service you might just expect from the Hilton in Beverly Hills.
“Well this is the life”, I thought to myself, “improvement there could hardly be”,
When up to my bed two ladies arrived asking if they could wash me.
“Of course, of course,” I hastened to say, fearing paradise might be lost,
And these two sultry Spanish beauties began my body to accost.
They washed my face and arms and legs, my oxters, sides and chest,
My heart was palpitating as I wondered, yes, you guessed.
“You wash? Or me?” one said to me, while pointing to my crotch
“Sure go ahead,” says I to her, “I’ll just lie back and watch.”
And watch I did with great intent, thinking this is surely sin,
That’s when the door it opened wide and Anne Marie walked in.
She did not scream or yell or throw, just smiled and sat instead.
The erotic potential I saw with relief appeared only to be in my head.
“Hasta Manana,” the washing girls waved, “see you tomorrow, each day.”
With my under-sheet deceit it seemed, I had clearly got cleanly away.
“Goodnight my love,” said Anne Marie later, as she left me with kisses and hugs,
And though I was bothered with conscience and guilt, I took solace in blaming the drugs.
Awake bright and early the following day – me all in my own morning glory,
I awaited the start, of the second part, of my 50 Shades Spanish short story.
The door opened slowly, a girl’s head peered in…’twas Consuela, the aforesaid translator,
And following her, two big burly bruisers – one built like a bull and one greater.
“So sorry so sorry Meester Kennedy, so sorry for bringing you pain, ok?
Your wife she explain to me yesterday, those two ladies they cause you such shame ok?
Don’t worry, don’t worry, Igor and Manuel, they wash you good and strong every day
You wife Anne Marie she arrange all with me, she very good lady ok?”
Holy Service Taria Karillion
An active young Curate from Cork
Decided to go on a walk
From a rugged cliff base,
he set off at a pace
With a picnic, a flask and a spork.
By lunchtime he’d reached the cliff’s top
where his stomach obliged him to stop.
Mrs. Doherty’s cake was perhaps a mistake
As he then felt so full he could pop.
But the views were so splendidly grand
Azure sea and an emerald land.
He gave thanks for it all, then sat on a wall
to empty his boots of the sand.
Alas, when he tried to depart,
His belly was too full of tart.
Mrs D’s baking talents had hindered his balance,
And he tripped and fell flat on his arse.
“Oh help me! Please merciful Lord,”
the wobbling Curate implored,
as the wet muddy ledge slid him over the edge
and the forces of gravity scored.
Well, the Lord must have answered his shout,
For his foot caught a branch that stuck out
It held him, up-ended, by one leg, suspended,
A hundred foot up, ten foot out!
“Oh thank you God, thank you!” he cried.
Looked around, genuflected and sighed.
Said a prayer, gave a frown, as he hung upside down.
Then asserted “The Lord will provide!”
For the priest had a faith that was strong
And he hoped for an angelic throng.
A miraculous tale to make most sermons pale,
Sure, the Lord wouldn’t leave him there long.
A passing Gardai, Pat O’Brian
shouted “Hold tight!..I’ll throw down a line!”
But the curate replied
“No, the Lord will provide –
He’ll save me! You go, I’ll be fine!”
By teatime he dangled there still,
Til’ a voice from a boat – loud and shrill –
Called up “We’ve a net!
We can catch you, I’ll bet!”
But the priest said “No thanks, angels will!”
At sunset a chopper appeared
“We’ll winch you up, Father!” they cheered.
But again he declined
His Divine save in mind.
Til a *SNAP* from the branch interfered.
Before him were gates, bright and pearly
And St.Peter, all bearded and burly.
He enquired of St. P
“Why’d this happen to me?
Why no Angels? (or one, even, surely?)”
St. P took the Curate aside,
And checking his clipboard, replied.
“We sent you a Copper,
a boat and a chopper!
What more did you want? – get inside!”
THE HAPPY GHOST CHOIR. Shuna Le Moine
Shuna moved to France from Sussex, to escape the ugly unimaginative housing that marches across the south east and to defend herself from relentless bad news hurled at her from billboards, newspapers, radio and tv. She knew she wouldn’t understand it all in French so could imagine it to be ‘safer’. In her delightful haven of ‘tranquility’ in the Tarn where plumbers, electricians and roofers reliably fail to turn up when expected, Shuna waits in most days still hopeful that one of them might, just might arrive to fix the leaks or stop the lights from going out when the kettle boils. As she waits, she writes story poems which she hopes will make you smile.
It was a day they all remembered, a monumental time,
when brother sun had stayed in bed as he simply couldn’t shine.
He’d felt so ill with ‘measles’ that he’d stayed there all the day.
It was rare in fact unheard of for the sun to act this way
It was on this day the darkest clouds all gathered close together.
And the rainbows hid the pots of gold they’d been saving in forever.
Sister moon was feeling blue as she’d had to stay awake.
To try and keep her shining the stars bought her cheese and cake.
So the Angels they decided they would cheer the sun with song.
And invited ‘passed on’ vocalists to come and sing along.
To gather all together in the church beside the stream
And to sing and hum in harmony. It was a perfect dream.
Kathleen Ferrier lead sopranos Judy Garland too of course.
Bing and Pavarotti stood behind and sang the chorus.
Amy Winehouse jazzed it up a bit with Janis Joplin by her side.
Michel Jackson whooped and strutted, Freddie Mercury sang with pride.
Marvin Gaye and Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Syd Barratt.
Bob Marley and Mike Hutchence, Sandy Denny, Wilson Pickett.
Woodie Gutherie, Donna Summer, Maria Callas, Patsy Kline…
They all just kept arriving and each one stood in line.
And it wasn’t long at all before
the ‘Happy Ghost Choir’ rocked the ‘night’
With Perry Como’s ‘falling star’ being tossed
from left to right.
George Harrison he had started things,
leading off ‘Here comes the Sun’
Then Jonny Cash ‘You are my sunshine’,
Karen Carpenter…. ‘Just begun..’
Then Marc Bolan asked ”Why ‘measles’ – It surely can’t be true?
Sun’s can’t get the measles, unlike me and you”
John Lennon asked the sun ”So why d’ya think you’ve got this virus?”
He said “cos I’ve spots on my photosphere,I heard it on the wireless.
And also I feel so very hot, that too I’ve heard’s a sign
of a malady or virus….Otherwise, I think, I’m fine….”
And the Happy Ghost choir stopped their song,
and looked at one another
“Measles my foot” said Elvis
And they nodded altogether
“Sunspots are normal for a sun”
You’re as healthy as can be!
And of course you’re ‘hot’,
You are the sun and we here all agree:
The world needs you to rise and shine,
You are our golden treasure”
The sun, relieved, beamed back his smile
and said “Of course, my pleasure”
The Bucket List Michael Moriarty
Michael is a true Dub – born in Islandbridge near the banks of the Liffey, on the cusp of the great North/South Dublin divide – he grew up in Inchicore but moved to Artane when he got married. As his surname suggests he also has strong Kerry connections – both his parents being from the Kingdom.
He has written poetry since he was 10 and has previously been shortlisted for the Percy French prize at the Strokestown Poetry festival. He self-published his first book of poetry ‘Halcyon Dreams’ several years ago.
You know what gets me miffed?
All you hear now is the List
Of the things that people wish before they die:
Paragliding from K2,
Camel treks to Timbuctu
Or bog snorkelling in a pothole near Athy .
You can kayak, drinking cocoa,
Down the winding Orinoco.
You can help a lonely leopard count its spots.
Or perhaps your greatest goal
Is to walk on red hot coal,
With a Shaman wearing garlic and shallots.
If you want a bit of craic
Try sunbathing in Iraq –
In Baghdad they say its Sunni all the time!
You can wander nude in Petra
If the Fellahs there will let you;
But I think they see it as a major crime
The latest must-do craze
Is shark diving in a cage
With raw meat attached to helmet, glove and socks
Sharks will swim along to greet you
And you think that they can’t eat you:
Till the little feckers learn to pick the locks.
Walk with Masai in the bush:
That will give you quite a rush,
It will also give you snakebite and Dengue.
And don’t think that it’s a joke:
Those mosquitoes like pale folk;
Seems we’re tasty and much easier to chew
Try a temple in Nepal
When you think you’ve tried it all,
You can contemplate your navel and your knees,
‘Til you scarcely give a damn
If you’re Ying or you are Yang
Just as long as you smell nicely of Febreze
You’re still bored? Then join the race
For that trip to Outer Space
And hope Mars will help you work and rest and play;
While you’re there you could be famous
For a comet round Uranus
Or for Asteroids upon your Milky Way.
Well I guess that’s about all
For I hear the Master call –
(there’s a list of things that I have yet to do) –
‘Would you shift your bony ass
And get out and cut the grass,
Get yer Bucket and put Dettol down the loo’.