I wrote a few poems as part of my M. Phil portfolio when I finally graduated from a college in 2009, at age 50.  I continued to  attempt poetry for a short while, before returning, renewed, to writing for theatre in 2012.   


This is the text of a “Spoken Word” performance poem in response to an invitation from the Flat Lake Festival 2011, they year in which the final typewriter in the world  was produced in India, to write on the theme: ‘The typewriter is dead – long live the typewriter!’

Cronin and his Cronies: Tony and friends celebrate the first Bloomsday formally to be marked, having travelled from The Palace Bar  to Sandymount by typewriter.,

* The title is taken from Anthony Cronin’s memoir in which he recalls his early days associating with the writers named in this poem.  The book includes a memory of being broke on Christmas day and dining on an egg boiled in Patrick Kavanagh’s teapot. Two lines here are lifted directly from Kavanagh’s poem ‘Shancoduff’.

–       –       –      





The typewriter’s dead

And gone with it

Flann O’Brien

Brendan Behan,

And Paddy Kavanagh from Iniskeen

The glass of whiskey

Waft of Woodbine

Wads of foolscap

Crumpled, torn,

Strewn across the garret floor.

The unwashed laundry

An egg in the teapot

Fitting Christmas dinner that

For non-conforming

Self-destroying, hard-drinking,

Heartsore, lonely old bohemians…

The nod and the wink

In the Pearl or the Palace

The promised slot from Louis Marcus,

Smyllie, The Irish Times, The Bell,

The Irish Press – that’s gone as well.

The early deaths from emphysema,

Liver failure, gout, oedema

The infamy, the penury,

The respect accorded posthumously.

Iconic books like Tarry Flynn,

The Green Fool

The Borstal Boy


And epic pomes: “Who owns

Them hungry hills

That the water hen and snipe

Must have forsaken?

A poet, then by Heavens

He – must – be – poor!”

Now we have Unesco Cities,

Writing degrees and bursaries,

Longlists, shortlists, residencies,

Listowel, Cuirt, The Galway Arts,

Electric Picnic, Poems on the Dart,

Blogs and online magazines

Published on your own PC.

The typewriter is dead.

You can view it in the Writer’s Museum

Admission Free.

Oh, long live the clickety-clack,

The key of C and D and E,

The roll, the scroll, the dramatic

Whack as the bar goes back

To start another line, another poem,

Another book.

But as for me?

When I was twenty-two,

I wanted to be like you,

Patrick Kavanagh. I lived

On Lower Baggott Street,

I smoked and drank and drank

Some more, stumbled in my bedsit door

To sit beside an empty typewriter.

I couldn’t write a single word

For all my heavy drinking.

It took me years and years to find MY way,

Through drama groups, cabaret,

Community arts, a writers course

At TCD. And here I’m standing

Now, today

Without the smokes.

My tipple’s wine, I took my time

Settled down, had kids,

I walk a dog!

I couldn’t do bohemian, but learned instead

To simply love the words,

Love the lines, love the sights,

Love the sounds of modern Ireland,

And write them down.

And live in thrall of no dead writer,

But love them all.

The typewriter’s dead

And good luck to it.

Lay a wreath upon its tomb

Go into a room, open Windows

On your screen, select text,

Cut and paste, backspace,

Spell check, find and replace,

Source your classic quotes online.

Google, Youtube, Wikipedia

Alta vista, indy-media

Change the font, do whatever you want

In the age of the paperless writer.

That’s the way it is in modern times.

The feather quill, the ink pen,

The typewriter

Dead as doornails.

The typewriter’s dead?

Long live the poet.

–       –       –

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