"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Friday, December 3, 2010

Breathalyser? Ah forget it, its the Pub Bus...

Well, the Poetry bus is back in Ontario lurching from side to side of the road with the wilfully depraved Kat at the wheel. Here are the instructions

I want you to think of your favourite Pub. If you don’t favour a particular pub, think of a bar or restaurant even, but a Pub would be ideal. Now take the elements from the name of the pub, for example “The Fox and Fiddle” and create characters out of those elements. Now write a funny and fun poem (preferably with end-rhymes) that tells a good story.

Now I haven't actually visited my favourite pub for around 27 / 28 years. Its Mick Cullen's, the only pub in the village of Redcross co Wicklow and for all I know, it could be long gone. We used to live about seven miles away in Blainroe Crossroads, so Mick Cullen's was out unless one of the lads had a car. On the rare occasion that one of us had the lend of a car, we'd head up to Mick Cullen's on a Saturday night. The pub would invariably be shut and we'd have to go down the street and bang on Mick's window to get him up.

Mick'd arrive in a few minutes, an old sack for a coat, tied around the middle with string. The pub constituted a number of doorless rooms in a house, each with nothing in them except a bench around the outside and beer kegs for tables. And a stone floor. And a wall out the back that served as a loo (I never figured what the women did)

One of the lads said Mick used to be a professional boxer so you never messed with him. There was no beer on draught, just spirits and, later on, pint bottles of Smithwicks. But on summer evenings from about eight o'clock, the pub would fill up rapidly with musicians, singers, everybody and anybody and the craic would be mighty till the wee small hours.

Don't forget to check out how much more accomplished poets tackle the same prompt at Kat's place.

Oh beware the temptations of old Mick Cullen

Oh gather round, ye hardened drinkers,
philosophic bar-stool thinkers,
Listen to my dismal story
as your pristine pints are pullin’.
In early married life, I started
leaving home at eight, stout-hearted,
telling her as I departed,
I was off to see Mick Cullen.
Every night, I thus imparted,
I was off to see Mick Cullen.

And so, among the bar-top spillage,
in the sole pub in the village,
I would sit and pass the night
with Dowser Byrne and Rasher Mullen,
while alone my wife sat waiting
in the house I loved vacating,
brooding, seething, loathing, hating
my affair with old Mick Cullen.
To her, it was not enervating
all those nights spent with Mick Cullen.

Several times she begged and pleaded
but I never, ever heeded.
Arthur called me to desist from
linen frocks and cardis woollen.
Off I’d stroll, a fine tune hummin’,
in my heart a guitar strummin’,
forsaking my once-darlin’ woman
for the charms of old Mick Cullen.
The hand of fate, its fingers drummin’,
I ignored for old Mick Cullen.

Then one night, I came home stotious,
gait unsteady, breath atrocious,
doubtless thinking she’d be waiting
up in bed, annoyed and sullen.
Up the front path, I came, blowin’,
a song upon my lips free-flowin’,
but the door key would not go in,
as I came back from Mick Cullen.
Compounding things, it started snowin’
when I got back from Mick Cullen.

I tried and tried to get the key in
(amid some quite flamboyant peein’)
till my temper started risin’.
Jaysus, Mary, was I bullin’!
I staggered back and started yellin’
at the window of my dwellin’
in a slurred and loud voice tellin’
her I’d come home from Mick Cullen.
And the front door was repellin’
me, since my night with Mick Cullen.

Eventually, the top light flickered
as I stood there fully-liquored,
roaring like the Bull of Táin
or like some latter-day Cú Chulainn.
Then out the window, malcontented,
a baldy, grizzled head presented,
muttering threats and oaths demented –
the angry head of old Mick Cullen.
Oh drinkers, are your wives contented
as you sup here chez Mick Cullen?


  1. "Flamboyant peein'" is going to keep me going for weeks!

    Genius! This is reminding me of a combination of all the old Irish songs my dad used to teach me - "Mick McGuire", "The Jolly Tinker" (in this case, "Tinkler" and what a boisterous balladeer you are! "Stotious"??? Where in heaven did you get that one?


    P.S. The namesake pub is posting mine. Yahoo!

  2. Hi Kat, many thanks for that and great news about the Whale pub! (Stotious is actually a fairly common word here, though I've no idea if I've spelt it right)

  3. Yes stotious is the perfect word, as are all the others. One of your best Pete. There is (i think) only a newish bar in Redcross, I wonder what happened to Mick?
    Myhometwon bar was Kelly's that had as a toilet only a backdoor to the wilderness and the stars above for the men and for the ladies a special key, a flight of stairs and a milking bucket in the middle of the floor!
    Bord Failte how are ye!

  4. This was so much fun - especially that last stanza, as usual. You are the master of the surprise ending. I wonder why I continue to be surprised?

  5. Yes - excellent peein'. Very much the folk song too.

  6. Oh, what a hilarious yarn you've spun ... I loved the rolicking motion!

  7. A new word (stotious) and a new image in my head (the wall for peeing), plus a shock of an ending! What great fun. Jaysus, Mary, was I bullin'! - love that line; it just cracks me up for some reason.

  8. Wow, you and Kat surely set the bar high, so to speak! Quite extraordinary in form and sophistication of vocabulary, and I'm not being facetious. I fully expect to hear someone singing it someday, hopefully as I stand listening with pint in hand. I have recollections of "quite flamboyant peein'" myself, indeed I do. Alas, now I mostly associate it with blood pressure medicine. *sigh* Great fun, Peter!

  9. What a fun poem -- as long as I'm not the one home "brooding, seething, loathing, hating"

    I could really see this as I read it! Well done!

  10. I think you have to get the prize albeit an imaginary one! Absolutely fantastic!

  11. Bloody marvellous!

    And 'stotious'! Genius word.

  12. I have some great photos taken in Mick Cullens bar, about 12/13 years ago. I have a great one of him sat by the stove fast asleep !

  13. The phrase "I was bullin" doesn't appear in enough poems if you ask me. Sounds like quite a place

  14. Peter, as the Linthead said, your vocabulary elates me! Thanks to that and the rhythmic flow, you had me hanging by my fingernails or with bated breath or whatever the hell that phrase is (a-Ha! You had me hanging on every word!). My favorite was the penultimate stanza:
    "I staggered back and started yellin’
    at the window of my dwellin’
    in a slurred and loud voice tellin’
    her I’d come home from Mick Cullen.
    And the front door was repellin’
    me, since my night with Mick Cullen."

    You were my role model as I fought to do my piece this week. But you HAVE set the bar (HA!) so high, I'll never reach it with my wee short legs.
    X-rated rhymes

  15. Jolly great read! Pass the bottle.

  16. TFE - a milking bucket. Now there's posh!
    Hi Bug - 'master' is perhaps a bit strong!
    Rachel - glasd you enjoyed my peein'
    Helen - hope it wasn't too rollicking
    Lydia - you can have that line if you like. Many thanks
    Hy Carolina - did you ever try to draw a dog? No, I won't go there...
    SLM - many thanks. Wouldn't like to be on the other end meself
    Socks - you're very kind but there's some humdingers this week!
    Titus - many thanks
    Anonymous - like Kat, I'd love to see some photos. I went on the net and couldn't even find a picture of the outside of the pub!
    Niamh - isn't it odd how we take these phrases for granted? I'm amazed at people commenting on them.
    Chris, oh dear, I have never been a role model in my life! You don't need a role model anyway, you're so versatile
    NanU - consider it passed!

  17. This was wonderfully done and so fun! I enjoyed it quite thoroughly :)

  18. I am amazed and full of admiration. Clever and engaging all the way through, plus a brilliant ending - hat more could a reader ask for?