Be Jasus! said my friend, one day
(Paddy was his name)
you’ll wake up dead one morning
and just yourself to blame
better give up drinking, lad –
especially on the stout
go on the Holy water now
there’s plenty here about.

Would you look at me, for instance
I’m twice the man I was
since I gave away the posheen
and followed nature’s laws –
I’m as sound as Foley’s fiddle
tuning for the fairs
I’ll run the town from end to end
and still run up the stairs.

I’ll tell a little story now
(said Paddy with a wink)
how a certain fellow in this town
loved a bit of drink
but he woke one Sunday morning
with a fever in his veins
a sweat-drenched sheet below him
and agonising pains.

Well! he went to lift an elbow
to wipe his streaming eyes
but had to give the effort up
and try instead to rise
then found he was immobile
from tiptoe to his head
a helpless, hapless lump of lard
held fast within his bed.

His tongue was an obstruction
preventing him from speech
his mind was but a maelstrom
with reason out of reach
he closed his eyes in prayer
crying, Lord, am I possessed?
Oh Lord! forgive my trespasses
and make me doubly blessed.

The room began to sway then
he rolled from side to side
like a body in the ocean
at the mercy of the tide
his mind became a mill wheel
churning faster every round
in timing to a heart-beat
with a doom-provoking sound.

How he struggled, in the dark hours
he heard the longest chime!
as he fought against the devil force
which wracked him time to time
and viewed his dismal failings
plus his weakness o’er the years
then realised a solace
with blinding, casing tears.

I’ve been forgiven! (cried aloud)
his eyes were open wide
his limbs, no longer spirit-bound
were lifted from his side
he laughed, a trifle wildly
as filtered truth came clear
he’d just been through a nightmare
from the posheen and the beer!

– Dave Rowan
Condon, Queensland, Australia.

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