The Hood

This is a poem about one of the less pleasant features of our society. In recent years the hood has become a symbol for a particular group of young people who seem intent on both being unhappy and making others feel that way too. It is based on a real encounter I saw while out walking my own dog at night.

Old man shuffles
Stooped, shrouded, muffled
Against cold and damp
Uniform of age
Coat grey
Woolen scarf
Hi-shine shoes
Capped head bowed
Furrowed brow
Sunken cheeks
Age-dimmed eyes
Lines of life
Life lived
Duty done
Passes by
Nods hello

And the dogs watch
And tails wag

Young man struts
Perma-scowl
Too-young
Too-deep, furrowed brow
Thin stretched lips
Suck
On the last of ten
Smile proof
Sunken eyes
Beneath
The Hood

The Hood
Hides, covers
The accused’ blanket
The judges wig
Executioner’s mask
Hiding feeling
Hiding all

The skunk cloud
Beer puddled brain
Swaggering
With sham-strength
Confused values
Misplaced, replaced
Aggression, size
Anger, power
Resentment brimming
Arrogance wrapped

And the dogs bark
And he

Wonders why!

The Never Ending Journey

This poem harks back to a time before the modern car ferries or planes made travel “home” to Ireland so quick and easy. In the days of the old “Mail boat” things were rougher, slower and uncomfortable. But it was going home and that’s something the Irish will always do!

So!
I’m stood on the quayside
On a wild windy night
As the storm brews over the sea
And I wait in the rain
With a hundred others like me
For a boat that tosses this way and that
And just as I think
There’s no way we can make it
We will surely all drown
We’re rushed into the harbour
Of Dublin’s fair city
And a train that’s ready to leave
And it blows a loud shrill whistle
And we set off quite quickly picking up speed
Doing sixty as she crosses the Liffey
But slowing to a crawl up the hills
The heaters don’t work ‘cept in Summer
There’s no way on God’s Earth to keep warm
And our teeth and bones rattle and shake
Through the Midlands, Longford, Roscommon
To Mayo at last
To be met at the station at Claremorris
By Pat the baker and his son
In their rickety cart
As we jolt and bump to Kilkelly
Where every man has the gift of the gab
And you can take the man out of Ireland
But you can’t take Ireland out of the man
So of course I join in their chatter
To tell of my journey last night
So!
I’m stood on the quayside
On a wild windy night
As a storm brews over the sea
And I wait in the rain
With a hundred others like me