(Heuston Rail Station, Dublin)

I’m back in the Galway Hooker,
heading out to the west
and, as usual, it’s teeming
with the scheming 
pond life of Dublin:
the newts
and wits
who twinkle 
in this bowl 
of moving humanity,
at swim
in sunlight,
in a beaten economics
and those boom days 
that are past.

And Jimmy Joyce and his literary travellers
leer at us from a corner 
of streaming consciousness
and bad girls’ skirts
drift upwards
in an afternoon 
with miles ahead
and the promise
of a kiss 
of Irish Coffee.

I’m crawling
today along
this beaten track to Limerick,
the chance occurrence
of a poetry event,
the opportunity for fickle friends
to catch my dreams
in inquisitive ears
and despatch 
my skimming words
to the gutters of shot memories.

‘By God she’s a looker,
that one on the stool,
making an awful fool
of  a lad in the Hooker.’

‘Her legs go the whole way,
her terrible sin,
she sings
from here to Galway.’

And then The Boys from Tipperary 
they’re here
in a clump of blazers and ties
and every one has a lass
on his hurling arm
and a pint of Guinness in his face.
We envy them
their youth and not their sense,
we wise old men of Heuston
who’ve seen the heroes come and go,
heard the guns ring out
across the Station
and learnt 
to savour
the slaughter
in our glasses.

But now friends 
we must be 
heading off 
to the dawn
and hope 
that these trains 
we leave behind
can find their way
to that which our history 

So remember
Sean Heuston,
the railway clerk,
a crucifix he kissed
and the freedom he died for,
every drink
that you down 
in the Hooker. 


The Galway Hooker is a traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. The hooker was developed for the strong seas there. Its sail plan consists of a single mast with a main sail and two foresails. Traditionally, the boat is black (being coated in pitch) and the sails are a dark red-brown.

the jingling geordie

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whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur