Excerpts from a children's poetry collection
The Banshee in the Bath
with illustrations by the peerless Davy Dummigan
We moved into an old house,
On the west coast of the isle,
My Mam and Dad and Aoife,
Who’s my sister - I am Niall.
My bedroom had a perfect view
And we could see the sea,
Everything was wonderful
Or so it seemed to me.
But when we turned the bath taps on
We got an eerie noise,
A scream of water hit our ducks,
And other bathtime toys.
“There’s something wrong inside the pipes,
An airlock.” Father said,
But when the tub filled up a bit,
A screechy old voice said:
“I’m the banshee of the bath,
Don’t think you’re climbing in,
Nobody shares the bath with me,
Unless they make a din!”
And then she kicked her bony legs,
An old hag made of steam,
She splashed the water with her hands,
And gave a piercing scream.
She screamed and screamed and splashed and splashed,
Till father pulled the plug,
And as she gurgled down the hole,
She gave his hair a tug.
“We can’t have this!” My mother said,
“Run the bath once more,”
But when she turned the hot tap on,
We heard the banshee roar:
“I’m the Banshee of the bath!
It’s mine this ancient tin,
Don’t even try to wet a toe
Unless you make a din.”
Again she screamed - the toothbrush glass
Just shattered into bits,
We stuffed our fingers in our ears
As she had twenty fits.
She splashed us all and threw a duck
Which hit dad on the chin,
He pulled the plug and down she went,
Wearing a ghostly grin.
What could we do? For every night
Our bath-time she would stymie,
And shriek with laughter at our skin,
And say: You’re getting grimy!
Trying to reason with her, Dad said:
“Banshee, tell us why
You’re not screaming under windows
When some poor soul’s going to die!”
But all she did was splash him,
And throw flannels with a “Wheeeeeee!”
“You’ll have to smell you unless you yell
When you get in with me!”
We really had no option,
So we all agreed at lunch:
We’d leap in the bath that evening
And scream in one big bunch.
The four of us squeezed in with her,
That spooky wraith of steam,
Dad shouted: “All together!
Teach this banshee how to scream!”
We splashed the water in the air,
And threw ducks with a yell,
Her toothless mouth laughed wildly
At each rising decibel.
She slapped us with a flannel,
Whilst we screamed till we were blue,
And then most unexpectedly,
She bellowed: “That’ll do!”
And vanished in a vapour,
Not a hair or silver comb
Remained, and then we all felt sad
Our banshee had left home.
We dried ourselves and went to bed,
Then first thing in the morning,
We ran downstairs to turn the taps
And hear her cackled warning:
“I’m the banshee of the bath!”
But nothing trickled out
Apart from lots of water,
There was not one single shout.
“Never mind,” said Mam, “At least
From now on we’ll be cleaner,
Niall, feed the cat she’s at
The back door - I’ve just seen her,
The Puddle Jumpers
Beside a puddle, waiting,
Three sweet children stand,
When I pass they leap as one
And splash me when they land.
I gasp and feel cold dribbles drip
from chin and mouth and nose,
I look down in dismay to see
My saturated clothes.
‘Lads, why did you do that?’
I ask each wellied one
The littlest grins up at me and says:
‘Because it’s fun.’
Illustration for The Silly Sea
Frightened of Mary
Spiders were frightened of Mary
Her legs were incredibly hairy
She had twenty six, like twiggety sticks
That under a dress looked scary.
She had a despicable laugh
that made spiders leap out of the bath
when she hung from the ceiling it sent them all squealing
for help down the garden path.
For lunch she ate spidery pies
and crunched all the spidery eyes
with horseradish sauce, made from horses of course
and applauded by thousands of flies
“When I’m older I think shall wed
that spiderman guy” Mary said
We won’t have to make a three-tiered cake
Cos I’ll probably eat him instead.”
Tarantulas would shout at her shoooo!
Black widows would hide in the loo
but it wasn’t just spiders that couldn’t abide her
Humans were scared of her too!
One night up in Blarney,
The stone jumped off the castle,
Hopping mad, that humans had,
Been giving it such hassle.
In horrid grating grumblings,
It said: I’m going to clobber,
The next big twit, to coat my grit,
With all their slimy slobber.
The stone rolled through the parkland,
And kissed a little toad,
“Tell me muddy little buddy
Where’s the Dublin Road?”
Next it kissed a motor bike,
“Gerroff yer soppy brick!”
“I want a ride,” the stone replied,
“To Dublin, make it quick.”
Weird reports that evening,
Hit Gardai in a spate:
“Bits of rubble causing trouble,
The Gardai laughed but drivers,
Were forced into a field,
By a boulder at their shoulder,
Ordering them to yield.
The stone that Dublin morning,
Went kissing here and there,
Lampposts, grids and dustbin lids,
“I want the Street Kildare,”
The Minister of Tourism,
That afternoon at four,
Screamed with shock, as a great big rock,
Came crashing through his door.
It broke his desk and grabbed him,
By the collar and said: “Oy!
Here have this, a great big kiss!
That’s what it feels like boy!”
The Minister’s nose got very squashed,
His spectacles all broken,
And since that day, I’m sad to say -
Not one word he’s spoken
Please be very careful
Whenever you say HELLO.
It’s rude in language of the Twits
I’m fluent in Twit so I know.
If twits were in this room right now,
You could say to them HI or LOW,
You can call them a stupid fungus-face
But just don’t say HELLO.
They’ll chase you round the table
In a horribly angry mood,
Throwing custard and hitting you
with a haddock for being rude.
I know it sounds ridiculous,
But to say HELLO is to curse,
However, in Twit language
There are several words much worse.
Is a foul four letter word,
YOU is even nastier
And if you’re overheard
Muttering TO or SEE the Twits
Will stand in a sink and scream
And try to pull their ears off
Which are pouring jets of steam.
However, one word’s worst of all
Worse than any disease,
Say this to a Twit and they’ll
attack you with Swiss Cheese.
Its ITS. It’s fatal to utter Its
to Twits. It’s incredibly rude.
Even just to think of ITS
Is ruder than being nude.
(In fact most Twits are embarrassed
or go right up the wall
if they think you’ve seen them wearing a suit
Instead of nothing at all).
But if you like being covered in custard
And hit by a Haddock or cheese
If you want to see someone stand in a sink
And scream until they wheeze
visit some Twits in a suit and Tie
shout loud as your voice will go
these words as you shake their hand (or foot)
IT’S NICE TO SEE YOU, HELLO!
Illustration for I'm Deaf in Both Nostrils