Back Pain of the Irish
That fellow Elvis could sing.
Hallo Mister Foley, said Mister Foster,
Your hump has got worse,
But don’t worry your good lucks have improved
Why has the Paddy a bad back? I’ll tell you.
I was about my business doing nothing
When I met a German above at Mc Guires Bridge,
And we fell to talking, like.
I didn’t ask him about the war,
And he didn’t mention the cost of things.
It seems that—in another life—he was a man who set bones.
And he put it to me like this:
The Irishman does not work as hard as he used to.
No, I said, watching him carefully.
But for years he did, he said. We still do a little, I said.
Oh yes, but not enough.
For you see the Irish spine was built to carry great loads,
And that’s the trouble. Now it carries little or nothing like it used to,
So you see, the Irish have lost the use of part of their spine.
A few discs are lying idle,
Hence the reason the Irish have the worse bad backs in Europe.
And he stepped off, smart as a reed,
Into the fields of buttercups
Leaving me thinking—
Someone else has been carrying our load
Down the years. And the lighter the load we carried
The heavier the weight grew.
If I was carrying
What I used to, I’d be fit as a fiddle,
And that’s a fact, morning glory—
The richer you become, the worse
The pain in your back will get.
And in a neighbour’s window
A tall bowl of tall flowers
Stands like a woman,
With her hands
Squeezed round her hips,
And head tilted forward
As she studies what’s happening
Out there today
The Birds I know
In the ditch
The grasses collect in families
While the thin conductor, fast asleep,
Waves, ready to begin
Again in a light wind
As the sheep
Cross the field
In a wandering line,
While the birds I know
As their numbers
A bare tree trunk
With the apron strings of ivy
Tied at the waist
As the words go
As the words go
The plot thickens
I can see myself as a lad
Reading Charlie Dickens
But cannot remember what happened
And in the morning when I look in the mirror
I get a fright
Wondering is that me out there
Till slowly I return from above
But as the words go
They even abandon love