The Vernacular

‘You remember that business. It was in Charlie Haughey’s time.
There was a plan to build a big extension to a creamery in Cavan.
No-one wanted it, except the owners and developers
and certain politicians: snouts in troughs all round.
The local Deputy was Minister for… I forget what now;
he’d a snout as long as any.

John McGahern lived nearby. He organised a protest.
One, the thing would be an eyesore.
Two, the extra run-off would pollute the lake.
And three, the plant already had enough capacity.
Next thing you know, it’s in the papers, there’s a whiff of scandal
(not for the first time), and the matter comes before the Cabinet.
Haughey asks the Minister to comment on the case.
They’re sitting there. The minute-taker’s pen is poised.
“I’m very sorry, Taoiseach,” says your man.
“That fucking writer cunt above has them all ris.”
The minute-taker puts his pen down. All the Cabinet is looking at their boots.
And Haughey coughs and says, “Well, let’s move on.”’

Listen to this poem — read by Joe Mahon