St Patrick's Night 2013


Irish drinking cultureBiddy's man, Mick, is home early,

She heard him fall in.  Now he’s

lying, face down, in the hall. On

she sits, in her room made for sitting,

fingers wrapped round the remote.

Bid long ago quit getting Michael

back onto his feet.


She untwists the cap,

pours her last wine

of the night (usually two

but tonight a small third,

for the evening that's in it),

turns up the TV.


This is the year of The Gathering.

Come visit us, please.

The Irish need bucks. Give us

your poor huddled masses

of cares — for a week; better, two — and

we’ll show you how to hightail them.

We have a word for our way, we call it the c —


Enough, says Bid to herself. In English,

that word sounds a lot like the noise

a thing makes as it breaks.

But she’s not getting caught in all that.


Try the news. The new pope.

All about him since the smoke

went up on Wednesday. Why call it white

when the whole world can see

how it's grey? Fifty shades of it,

thinks Bid with a grin, as she flicks:

That's all we get from that machine

of old men. She’s done time with that book

and knows the suck of sick power when she sees it.

Cardinals bend over, kissing his ring.


Down town, sirens scream.

The kids swarm, swigging cider in fields

shots and cocaine and gin.


Bid's boy, Jim, bangs his glass

on the bar, just like his father, and his

before him, wipes his mouth

with the back of his hand,

gives his grin.


On the box, two Celtic cubs

of the boom, Emer and Sean,

seek TV advice on building

their dream. Stay in London?

Away again to the sun? Heart

bleeds for you, hun, mutters

Bid, settling in on “The Late Late”,

a repeat, where Justin,

the latest poptastic

treat, downs a Guinness in one,

the audience cheering him on.


In the pub, Jim leans in

through the heaving crowd,

the music too loud, tips

the barman his wink. One

more for the road.  Same again.

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