This is how it starts: Assumption afternoon in eighty-six,
Martin A Cummins clacking high-heel homeward
towards that Inchadoney Crib they’ve slathered indoors black, exterior mauve,
in imitation of a rumour about Prince.
The sea in retreat behind the Island filling in
the oncoming distance; its searing ridge,
its grassy, sparkling, quartzy flank,
stone-wall-stitched and scarred by ditch…
…and in the drained bay a black iron anchor
like a Belgian Moustache
is weighing down a Buccaneer that isn’t there,
that sailed away to nowhere long ago.
All Aboard!! All Aboard!! No Rationing!
A buoy half-mired in slop,
green wet head of a merman monk.
Slickly, refuse bulging from a bin-bag
– intestines on a sandy battlefield.
Salt-wind fussing a sycamore copse.
Kerfuffle of gulls at a porpoise’s corpse.
Seaweed crackle in the August heat.
One lonesome Shellduck alarming.
Then Virgin Mary bobbing spotless up the gritty slipway from the slop,
bathed in The Uncreated Light,
pulsing egg-shell aura blue,
spraying stars and Doves.
Eclipsing. Shadow-casting. Hovering.
Sighting Martin A in their cleopatra wig.
Burgundy high heels, sleeveless leopardskin, crimson silky C cup bulked
with Evening Echo supplement,
cleavage rounded out with feathers from an island cock.
Mini-skirt as raw and red and rough as a barricade Marseillaise.
Listen to the rushing in the fields. The howling… Oh Holy Difference!
Oh frilly-garter-mutant-fish! Unclassifiable cratur giving Darwins, Archbishops the slip in this sou-western Galapagos!
Clack-clacking past the Most Holy, Ever-Virgin, Mystical Rose, Vessel of Honour, She-Who-Shows-The-Way, Immaculate Mary, Mirror of Justice, Tower of Ivory, Mother of the One True Church.
Like she really isn’t there, Great Mother.
And so the Virgin, non-plussed, rescinds, or rather sets,
back into the slosh of all ages and all ages hence
and Martin A clacks on into the flaring sun…
over the spiralling bayside road
to Their satanic coastal crib,
Puts the steamy kettle on and listens for a minute to its plaintive
…recomposing in a genie’s dream
man, woman, manwoman,
top, bottom, topbottom,
Crow, Mare, Crowmare,
Lamb, Lion, Lamblion
Told, retold, this tale, in lamplit caravans on Moses Road,
Sunday Morning shush-ins at Sam’s Cross,
the back of convent Geography in Clon
the Bus Scoile twixt Durrus and Schull,
there’s talk of mushrooms,
of delirium tremens,
of pranking UCC students taking the piss.
They’ll be visited by the martians next I bose…
Sure why would Holy Mary appear to that quarehawk, ha?
Wouldn’t it be the Monsignor she’d appear ta?
Yet the immutable punchline remains,
a blessing for transgressors, a slogan shouted
unrepentant from the dock. Back in ‘86,
– when a million ruined Irish stood like moonies in the
staring at a plaster cast expecting
it to quake and talk-
the Virgin Mary, Pregnant with Eternity,
met Martin A, Our Lordlady of West Cork,
on Assumption Day,
along the Inchadoney Road
and twas Mary leapt to Revelation,
t’was she got the shock.