Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The winning Meath Writers Circle team from the Battle of the Books 2010. Tommy Murray second from left also won third prize in the Swift Satire Competition organised by our group for the Trim Swift Festival. He also has a poem included in the just published Meath Anthology edited by Tom French. A good few weeks for Tommy!

My own poem for the Battle of the Books was called Toilet Trained - A Typical Ulster Poem by Patrick Seamus Shortly, a satire on a certain type of poem of which we have read (and written) too many in this country. It praises a father for some action, habit, work practice and indicates how the son, the poet, is carrying on the tradition in his writing styles, themes, methods. Heaney's Digging is a good example.

My poem includes a number of phrases lifted directly from Heaney's work and quite a number of "sound" words, plop, plash etc. What is it about? Well I'm not going to go into that except that in the poem the father refused to use the grant-built toilet and instead

haunted all our windswept hills
our hayfields, cornfields and potato drills

doing what had to be done resulting in lush crops all over the farm. The poet continues the work but the soft rich nuggets he drops are his poems.

One of my favour Heaney lines is that old man-killing parishes one in Tollund Man and I adapted it for a comment on Irish food:

the pungent aftermath of Irish country table
the old man-killing fries, fat and rich and fatal.

Hard work to write but great fun to read. It got scores of two nines and an eight.


chiccoreal said...

Dear Michael: Wow! These competitions sound harsh; but they are looking for a certain Irish mindset so maybe they must be rigourous to keep up the exemplary benchmarks for satire. The very funny story (satire) about the father fertilizing the potato fields with his gift of human road apples reminds one of traditional satire preference!(that's why it is called "man-ure"? The only time I find sexism a good thing!Got a good belly laugh! When you get use to a thing, too! Hahah! I am learning the particular and peculairities of said Irish mindset, never offset, never off-putting (except on Wednesdays). Thanks! Truly enjoying every minute of it your fine stories, etc here! Genuinely funny satire by the Greats!

BarbaraS said...

No worries re comment lost in space. I am intrigued by your poo poem. It sounds like it could be a contender in other poetic circles. Maybe, Strokestown...? I think that would be ironic.