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The Workman's Friend -- Flann O'Brien

Guest poem submitted by Jeff Berndt:
(Poem #1300) The Workman's Friend
 When things go wrong and will not come right,
 Though you do the best you can,
 When life looks black as the hour of night -
 A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

 When money's tight and hard to get
 And your horse has also ran,
 When all you have is a heap of debt -
 A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

 When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
 And your face is pale and wan,
 When doctors say you need a change,
 A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

 When food is scarce and your larder bare
 And no rashers grease your pan,
 When hunger grows as your meals are rare -
 A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

 In time of trouble and lousy strife,
 You have still got a darlint plan
 You still can turn to a brighter life -
 A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.
-- Flann O'Brien
written under the psudonym "Brian O'Nolan".

I heard this poem in Dublin some years back and it stuck with me in
spirit if not in letter.  Only recently have I come across a print copy
in its entirety, which isn't too surprising in that I was told it was
written by Brendan Behan, which it isn't. I thought you might enjoy it
and consider it for use as a guest poem sometime.

It's from a novel called "At Swim Two Birds". Here's another quote from
the novel: "There's one thing in that pome, permanence, if you know what
I mean. That pome, I mean to say, is a pome that'll be heard wherever
the Irish race is wont to gather, it'll live as long as there's a hard
root of an Irishman left by the Almighty on this planet, mark my words."

Other works by Flann O'Brien include:
        The Dalkey Archive
        The Hard Life: An Exegesis of Squalor
        The Third Policeman
        An Béal Bocht (The Poor Mouth)

(I haven't read them.)

More info about O'Brien and his works can be found at
        http://www.hellshaw.com/flann/index.html

All the best,
Jeff Berndt.

14 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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this poem didn't cause any sensation on my I feel it as insipid as a ball of wet paper.

Alex Remington said...

Brian O'Nolan's his real name. Flann O'Brien's the pseudonym. (He also wrote as Myles na Gopaleen.)

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