The Vernacular

‘You remember that business. It was in Charlie Haughey’s time.
There was a plan to build a pet-food plant by Laura Lake in Leitrim.
A certain local senator-cum-businessman had made an application to the council:
snouts in troughs all round, and he’d a snout as long as any.

No one in the district wanted it
and John McGahern lived nearby. He joined the protest.
One, the thing would be an eyesore;
two, the run-off from the offal would pollute the lake.

Next thing you know, it’s in the papers, there’s a whiff of scandal
(not for the first time under Haughey) and the matter comes before the Cabinet.
The senator’s invited in 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