CROSSING IRELAND: "INIS MÓR TOUR" by ANGELA ALAIMO O'DONNELL

 The eighth poem in Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s series. Click “Crossing Ireland” for the opening essay.  More about Angela Alaimo O’Donnell.

INIS MÓR TOUR

 

Tomás, the crazy man of Árann

waved his worn map at me,

his red minibus idling patiently.

 

I’ll take ye on tour in yer very own van,

the 80-Euro fee, he promised, a steal.

We were charmed, fooled, dumbed into the deal.

 

Great stout fellows! he bellowed at the seals

who wallowed on the island’s western shore

as if they’d heard and answered him before.

 

He told the same 3 jokes: seven t’ousand stone

walls on the island, though I don’t know

who counted ‘em! he’d intone,

 

then laugh the mirthless laugh of the mad

while we all stared straight ahead

hoping he’d keep the van on the road

 

wracked with glee at the touring Yanks who

came so far to see mere rocks

and paid 80 Euro to do so

 

(that being the 4th joke—the one he would think

and not tell, savor it in his thoughts

as he’d wave to his neighbors with a sly wink).

 

We made his day.  And he made ours, if truth

be told about an islandful of lies.

There’s no romance in being marooned,

 

no great honor or special dignity

living life at the mercy of the merciless sea.

The truth not on his tongue was in his eyes—

the profit in what fools prize.

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3 thoughts on “CROSSING IRELAND: "INIS MÓR TOUR" by ANGELA ALAIMO O'DONNELL

  1. Lovely — fun and profound at the same time. That’s a hard combo to put together in any genre and with so few words. Brava!

  2. Mille Grazie, Shirley.
    Your words, “fun and profound,” aptly capture the oddness of our visit, as well as the oddness of our guide, Tomas, who was alternately hilarious and terrifying. We couldn’t decide whether we ought to be afraid of him (he was clearly mad) or just enjoy his singular presence. I’m very glad to know this ambivalence comes across in the poem.
    Cheers,
    Angela

  3. Thank you so much for these poems, They are such gifts!

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