Eileen Aroon

G. C. G

I know a valley fair Eileen Aroon

G. C. G

I know a cottage there Eileen Aroon

G. C. Em

Deep in that valley’s shade

Am. D7.

There lives a friend I’ve made

G. Em. C. G

Think that’s where I’m going to stay, Eileen Aroon

Is it the laughing eye Eileen Aroon

Or is it the gentle sigh Eileen Aroon

Or is it the tender air, sign of a heart that’s fair

All in all a spirit rare, Eileen Aroon

Beat I was by less than truth Eileen Aroon

Found me space I found a truce Eileen Aroon

So dear your charms to me, dearer your laughter free, so dear your company Eileen Aroon

When like the rising day Eileen Aroon

Here comes the morning rays Eileen Aroon

What makes the dawning glow changeless through joy and woe,

Only the constant know, Eileen Aroon

Only the constant know, Eileen Aroon

A song in Irish tradition. Written originally in Gaelic. Covered by, among others, (in English), The Clancy Brothers and Bob Dylan.

Eileen Aroon is widely spoken about on the net. The Aroon part of the title is not a surname. The title Englishified, completely, would be ‘Eileen my dear love’. Aroon standing for three words – therefore the Gaelic was kept by the original translators.

The words above are my particular version. I used the original words as template then altered things so I could do the song, without the thought that a listener might turn off for other reason than the song’s *quality*.

In the first verse, for instance. Every other version I’ve seen runs as ‘there lives a gentle *maid* …’

How Karma Came To The Canteen Kitchen

When the head, and assistant chef, stepped into the pot-wash, on most occasions, they would accompany the pans and dishes they set down for washing, with a comment.

Almost all were directly aimed at Barry, the permanent employee I was partnering.

When I had started the holiday cover week, the head, and assistant chef had spoke about Barry.

‘He’s simple-minded, slow.’

The comments they made on their visits to the pot-wash weren’t so nasty. But they got irritating. The same thing. Recalling a verbal half-slip Barry had made the week before.

After about the fourth incidence, I asked Barry about what was being said.

He explained, insouciantly.

After about the fifteenth time, over the course of perhaps an hour-and-a-half, the paucity of imagination of the head and assistant chef struck me.

‘Speak your mind gents,’ I imagined intoning, and enjoying the silence.

Perhaps the head-chef, realised he needed to mix it up. Very shortly after that he started producing some pre-school French phrases:

‘Bonjour Monsieur’ and

‘Parlez-vous Francais’ to which I reacted by saying:

‘Estoy aprender un poco espanol’ and similar and the head-chef recognised I was saying *something* back to him and eventually a small exchange took place in which I, courteously explained I knew a little holiday Spanish. (With detachment there is a sickening thought that I was trying to explain I was not just a dish-washer… oh pointless pride.)

‘You should say something to Barry,’ the head-chef said, who continued as though speaking in almost wonder, ‘he’ll just look at you.’

‘Why would I do that?’ I answered the h-c immediately – and the h-c said nothing as he customarily left the pot-wash, and me with my thoughts.

Immediately my thoughts were not kind to the h-c. He was supposedly a grown-man, yet his treatment, his, empathy/humanity toward Barry, was no better than a snobby late-teenager.

I slightly admonished myself. I wished I’d said:

‘*What* would I do that for?’ – in order to give the h-c a question he might think to answer for himself. Perhaps the more directly interrogative *what* would find the answer – and the h-c would be ashamed at the answer he couldn’t avoid:

He liked the thought of making another human being a spectacle, a figure of fun.

Part Two

Slightly later on in the morning, a blonde woman, who I had, in my first days found sociable – but who had become un-sociable, nudged my uncomfortableness with her, a whole lot further.

‘Can we …’ she started, as she suggested a task for myself and Barry.

I find the indirect verbal construction ‘can we?’ especially irritating. I wonder at its origin. I think the phrase’s only possible decent use, might be as part of a podium speaker’s rhetorical question.

Off the podium, no-one, who has ever used the phrase ‘can we’ has ever took any part in the task they want others to perform.

No-one who has ever used the phrase ‘can we’ has ever had any intention in helping in the task they want others to perform.

I believe the ‘we’ when used by one person, toward a small group of others, is a method of detachment.

The person has an inability to say the more human and natural ‘can you.’

Perhaps the person who uses the phrase should be pitied.


At the time, I was in the middle of a sweating, working day, and pity for a virtual boss was in short supply.

In fact I felt the opposite. I wanted revenge from this mealy-mouthed blandity.

A thought crossed the mind. A direct approach:

‘My father told me never to trust anyone who said ‘can we’ cause everyone knows – they never will.’

I discounted the consideration. I was a temp. Making an issue of something like that, *like that* would be seen as misfit aggression. But how was I to vent my sudden and demanding frustration?

I found a way. And maybe, ironically, I have to thank the head-chef – for his earlier attempts at continental tongue.

Perhaps without the head-chef’s earlier words, my month’s previous dalliances on the Babbel app would have remained dormant. But they didn’t. From somewhere I remembered the Spanish for *blonde* – and from other reading the fact that in Spanish, ‘burro’ is synonymous with donkey, and stupid.

Stupid is not what I wanted to say about the blonde, but it was near enough.

‘Usted Rubio burro,’ I said to myself.

Anyone with Spanish, might point out that as I was not addressing the woman I should have said ‘ella’ not ‘usted’. But it doesn’t matter. I had satisfied, articulated my frustration.

‘Usted rubio burro’ I said at the head-chef when he stepped into the pot-wash. And *that* made it even better.

Because the head-chef looked at me, blankly – and said:

‘What are you talking about?’

He spoke. He didn’t ‘just look at me’ but it was virtually the same happened, as he had told me would happen in another.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up About It, But … (After Plato?

If we live in an infinite universe, and the science says it may very well be the case, there is an ideal planet somewhere, that you are a part of, where you are your ideal you. 
If you met that you, living your ideal life, is there anything you, living your life now, would want to avoid in conversation? Would have to explain, excuse, be ashamed of?

Good Western Story? (30 sec read)

Alternative words to a standard song from the 1960s
Ten years ago on a cold dark night somebody got shot by the town hall light

Few were at the scene but they all agreed. the one who did the shooting looked a lot like me

The judge he said ‘Son – what is your alibi? If you were somewhere else, then you don’t have to die

I spoke not a word though I knew it meant my life for I was in the arms of my best friend’s wife

She walks these hills in a long black veil, she visits my grave and when the night winds wail, nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows at all, but me

The gallows was high eternity near I looked into the crowd I saw my brother Jake

A travelling man and my worst enemy I didn’t know he had returned he shrugged a smile at me

She walks these hills .. repeat

Five years ago on a moonlit night somebody shot Jake out at Abraham’s Heights

An alarm was raised and a chase was made but the someone got away they must have known that terrain 

She walks these hills … repeat twice

After a Facebook Post Concerning Israel

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is inhumane, only a liar can claim otherwise. However: the Arab world is contributory to Israel’s behaviour only a fool would argue not. Israel is as an insecure child. It has learnt to be forever on a war footing. It has learnt that – to not be on a war state-of-mind is to invite street attack on its citizens. The war crimes it has committed, the land-grabs, are all symptomatic of Israel’s insecurity turned wanton.

What is lamentable, criminal, puzzling to myself is that Arab countries that have enjoyed wealth beyond dreams via oil – have not used their money to help Palestine – but to arm terrorists. And while I’m on the subject, where is their help for Syria now? 

From interview with poet Les Murray

From interview with Les Murray

Freddy Neptune Elias Canetti
The Murrays were old-style Free Kirk Presbyterians. They ranged from devout to indifferent, but most had at least a touch of that Calvinist moral snobbery I’m myself still not free of. They were prone to have a good conceit of themselves, as the old family toast went. Only two of us that I’ve heard of ever converted to Catholicism, my cousin Alice Gleeson and I. My father was so disgusted that he never, in nearly forty years, deigned to speak of my perfidy. Or not to me. Many folk assume I converted because of Valerie, who was and is 
But not a bit of it—I came in because it is the best and only reliable Big Poem. I’d never taken much notice of Catholicism in my childhood or youth. But at university, I began to get a feeling—from people I started meeting—that they had another culture, hated by many but having some very interesting features. It had morals, in a different way from the Calvinist shame-culture I’d grown up in; and it had forgiveness. Catholicism was something of a bulwark against the 
Nazism of sex 

that I’d observed everywhere in society already, and would see even more of after the Pill came along: 
worship of youth and beauty; 

ruthless relegation of the dowdy, 

the unhandsome and the shy. 
And I would gradually discover that orthodox sacraments had the answer to human sacrifice, which I saw was regularly demanded by all ideologies. Really, I think my assent to the full sacramental dimension of the Church happened long before I realized it had. And that’s what I have held on to. The crux for me is summed up in lines from The Boys Who Stole the Funeral spoken by a dead World War One digger: “The true god / gives his flesh and blood. Idols demand yours off you.”

an idea is the worst thing to start building a poem from. 
By that I mean a formed idea that you’ve already worked out in advance of starting the—though I gather Yeats always worked this way, from a prose epitome, which he’d then deepen to a music. We have three minds, I reckon, one of which is the body, while the other two are forms of mentation: daylight consciousness and dreaming consciousness. If one of these is absent from a work, it isn’t complete; and if one or two of them are suppressed, kept out of sight, then the whole thing—whatever it is you’ve created—is in bad faith. Thinking in a fusion of our three minds is how humans do naturally think, at any level above the trivial. The questions to ask of any creation are: What’s the dream dimension in this? How good is the forebrain thinking, but also how good is the dream here? Where’s the dance in it, and how good is that? How well integrated are all three; or if there is dissonance, is that productive? And, finally, what larger poem is this one in? Who or what does it honor? Who does it want to kill?
Saint Moling told Saint Mochua, when the latter’s pet fly perished, only grief can come from the lust to own things.

You need to be able to interweave and contrast all the levels of language, so I don’t proscribe any. In Australia, “modernist” is mostly code for “totalitarian”; but there is one benign effect it had, of permitting and promoting use of the full range of language.

Dealing With Someone’s Death

It is all more real than it was yesterday 

The car that passes in the street outside

Drips from a tap in the bathroom

The pause your leaving has brought

Your going was sudden, this time last week

You were in my mind as someone to call on

I had something to tell you, I knew you would like

I liked your reactions they made you, you

Not dead, not really gone my mind still has you

Saves you, and asks, what you think of, whatever

You comment I hear and agree disagree 

You laugh and enjoy and remind me of life

After ‘To Ramona’

Agony Aunt has been around

Worn stupid clothes in dirty places

Agony aunt has settled down

And now sees loss in attending races


Lord its a comedy for jokers wild

Stretching out their lust for eternity’s fire

Lord it’s a ride we build our own fire


Agony aunt trying to help those

Who have learned to be blind

Agony aunt diverted and chose

Teacher over being unkind


Lord its a dead-end if your eyes are open

Lord it’s a saver if you never shut them


Agony aunt knows the library

always needs a book

and Agony aunt knows about hunger

Agony aunt has felt wanted and other looks

Agony aunt has been three kooks

Lights Are On, Nobody Is In Your Home

Just a swirling mass of no *thing*

that wants to get away from this 

and that 

And onto some *thing* else
What’s a *thing*?

A thing is a *sense* of some thing.

A thing is a thing you have 

give to yourself

how you look at something 

Others will tell you how they look

at some things, their thing working

and times, you and their thing 

will agree. Nice smells, nice food