Pat's poems cover a very wide palette of genres. They rhyme, and they don't. They are sad, and humorous. Tragic, and absurd. They are witty and nonsensical, erotic, rude, realist, surrealist, irreverent, melancholic, moving, down to earth and whimsical but, above all, they are unaffected and profoundly human. They describe life - its absurdities, its madness and its tragedies, but also its beauty, its sadness, its fun and its wonders. Save one book which is a love story ('The Frenchwoman And The Sky') and another which are memories of his childhood in Malahide ('Once Upon A 'hide'), all of Pat's books are a well-thought mixture of genres - a reflection of the many facets that make up such a unique and imaginative mind, whose first inspirations were James Thurber, William Saroyan and Spike Milligan.
The poems below are taken from Pat's books or have been written since 2013. They can also be read on his facebook page:
Pat Ingoldsby, My Poems Come Out To Play
SHOCKED THE PAIR OF US
Me and she,
the both of us
the way they used
to shoot it through your brain
before the days
of health and safety.
Me and she
did not know about
one another's ESB
when we happily did the bold thing
and plugged ourselves together in.
Every light in Fingal
suddenly came blindingly ablaze,
toast all over Dublin burst into flames
and a DART parked in Fairview
inexplicably found itself in Howth.
They publicly issue warnings
like - "If you smell gas,
do not switch anything on or off."
What they should be saying is -
"If you have received electricity
do not plug yourself
into another two-legged source
unless you wish to
incinerate your underpants
and scorch yourself to death."
Pat, September 2020
If it was good enough
for Johnny Cash
it'll do me.
in "I Thought You Died Years Ago", 2009
ONCE I HAD A VIRGIN
I had got a statue of a virgin once.
It was not the sort of thing
I would have bought for myself.
in classic pose
with the ball at his feet.
That would have been
my idea of a statue worth having.
But when your grandmother
returns from a religious pilgrimage to Lourdes
with a statue of the Virgin Mary
there was only one thing you could do.
the Virgin came with all manner of unexpected extras.
She was luminous.
She was hollow.
She was filled with holy water.
And as if that wasn't enough,
her head screwed off.
Whenever her luminosity began to fade,
you simply stood her beside the bedside lamp
until she glowed eerily green again.
Quite out of the blue,
granny decided that certain luminous objects
and overnight my radiant orange socks
and the blessed Virgin disappeared
and we never set eyes on her again.
Pat, September 2020
MARVIN AND ME
Many a night
Marvin is asleep,
curled up in the dark
beside my pillow.
I am full of joy
that such a beautifully independent creature
is so happy to be.
At times, one of his paws
rests softly on my cheek.
Other times he seems to think of something in his sleep
and his bushy tail
suddenly swooshes around my neck.
When daylight comes,
outside is where he loves to be.
In the darkness, most times,
he spends the night with me.
PAT, September 2020
DUBLIN IS THE ONLY CITY I KNOW WHERE AN OLD MAN WILL QUITE NATURALLY INVOLVE HIMSELF IN A CONVERSATION BETWEEN YOU AND A TOURIST MAP
Nassau Street - 10th June 1997 - Lunchtime
I was having a good look at the Direction Finder map on the street
and wandering along Clontarf Road with my eyes
until I found the corner of Vernon Avenue and Seafield Road West
the corner where I live.
I was looking at it and thinking quite happily to myself
- "Willow and Hoot are sound asleep right there
...now... on my mattress."
I always find that a warming thought when I'm in town
and feeling a bit lonely.
The big green arrow on the map was getting on my nerves
the way it was pointing and proclaiming
- YOU ARE HERE -
So I said - "How the fuck do you know?"
An old Dublin man who was meandering past
looked at me and shook his head -
"Aw Pat - don't be givin' the poor map a hard time -
aren't ye always where ye are!"
in 'Half A Hug', 1998
BEAUTIFUL YOUNG MAN WITH NO WAY HOME
The sudden smiling sudden stopping man
he's only a boy
black manky hair
face freshly cut
like someone fucked him through a window.
He's showing me a poster. He thinks it's funny.
Now he doesn't. He laughs. He stops.
A picture of a big snuffly dog. A tiny mouse
is creeping up. The legend is piss off.
He laughs. He stops. I give him a chocolate.
One of the ones you get for free in O'Briens.
"I will keep this forever. I will not eat this.
I used to watch you. You are my hero."
My heart was breaking. "Stand there for a minute"
I said. "Don't move." I picked up one of my books
and gave it to him. "That's for you" I said.
"I can't" he said. "I'll give you money."
"It's out of my heart" I said. "Please take it."
He flung his arms around me. He was so young
that I did not expect the smell of so much alcohol.
He held out some coins.
"Jesus no! It's a gift!"
He dropped some money. He bent to pick it up.
Whiskey came cascading out from under his coat.
Whiskey was suddenly splashing the path.
He pulled out the bottle and looked at it.
He laughed. He stopped.
A big pool was spreading the path.
in "i'mouthere", 2005
GOD IF I COULD LOOK OUT NOW
My brother Michael said to me
"Do you remember
how we used to try and stay awake
to see the circus going in the morning?
When we woke up it was gone."
I shook my head.
I couldn't remember at all.
I can picture perfectly in my mind
how it must have been.
Two little boys
trying to keep their eyes open.
Eager to kneel on the morning-sill
and watch the horse-drawn wagons
creaking off the green.
I could draw you a picture
of how it must have been.
I'd love a second chance
in "Beautiful Cracked Eyes", 1999
HOW IT REALLY IS
I'm alive and I've got rights
I've got the right to live my life
the way that I want it to be.
I've got the freedom to say
"This is my dream and I've got
all the resources and all the strength
that I need to make it happen."
I don't have to settle for
anything or anybody that I don't want.
I don't have to stand helplessly by
and watch other people
making their dreams happen.
I am not trapped in anything I don't want.
If anybody says to me
"No - don't do that
you won't be able to do it."
I have the freedom and the right
to say "Fuck off and take your
negative shit with you!"
If anybody says to me
"No No - that mightn't work
don't try that."
I have the freedom and the right
to say "Blow it out your arse!"
If anybody's weight is too heavy for me
I have got the right to say
"Your weight is too heavy
get off my fucking back."
If my weight is too heavy for me
I have the rights to say to me
"Hey hey Pat - easy
take it easy
there are enough deadbeats out there
who will happily screw you up
without you doing a demolition job
If you declare war on yourself
you may as well quit before
you even start."
I have got the right
to give myself full permission
to make my life
easy and good for me
I have got total freedom to say
"This is how I want my life to be"
and I have got all the resources
that I need
to make it happen
I very nearly lost you.
in "Scandal Sisters", 1990
WILLOW - THE PUSSIES' DELIGHT
He turns up his collar
pulls down his brim
no other pussy cat
is as natty as him.
He brushes his jump suit
ginger and furry
his after-shave tingles
he's groovy and purry.
is going out tonight
all the lady pussies
are gonna feel alright.
He sits on the wall
and sniffs the night air
laid-back and lazy
Willow hasn't a care
all the lady pussies
are gonna stand in line
'cos no ones' like Willow
Willow does it just fine.
He never leaves his number
no forwarding address
he twitches his whiskers
and all the pussies answer yes.
Willow's got charisma
Willow's got the glow
the pistol-packin' tomcat
every pussy wants to know.
In and out of the shadows
flitting along the wall
from Siamese to alley cats
Willow's had them all.
Home in time for breakfast
a wash, a stretch, a yawn
curling up, closing eyes
going... going... gone. . .
in "Scandal Sisters", 1990
THE WAYWARD MICE
A teenage mouse called Mabel,
Placed her elbows on the table.
Granddad lamented about young mice,
Who had no manners around the hice.
Mabel wore a maxi-skirt down to her feet,
Which Grandma considered indiscreet,
Advising Mabel it's completely wrong,
To wear a garment two inches long.
"Just supposing a cat gives chase,
It's going to be a one-sided race."
Mabel laughed and powdered here nose,
"Old-fashioned grannies - sure anything goes."
A twenty mouse called Nigel Hoots
Pulled on his pair of leather boots,
Combed his sideburns, donned his jeans,
And borrowed his sister's scarf for teens.
He's brushed his moustache just like Clark Gable,
Only the best was good enough for Mabel.
"If you go out you blatant sinner,
Dressed up like a dog's dinner,
You know where you'll finish."
His mother cried.
And something tells me she meant:
A pussy's inside.
The lovers met in the dining-room,
Embracing in the gathering gloom.
So passionate were the kissing mice,
They completely forgot their elder's advice.
"I love you Mabel" said Nigel Hoots,
Admiring his reflection in his boots.
"I adore you, Nigel" said Mabel fair,
As they snuggled under a Queen Anne chair.
A hippy pussy called Ponsonby Odd,
Took one look and said "Mother O'God,
That LSD is mighty powerful stuff,
And me, I've taken more than enough,
I'm packing all this drug-taking in."
And those shameless young mice,
They're living in sin.
in "Welcome To My Head, Please Remove Your Boots", 1986
Empty air was waiting across the parish
while Bob Ryan, the church bell-ringer,
limped up Old Street
to pull the heavy rope
at 12 midday precisely
and send the Angelus
ringing across the fields
where grey men with wet upon their foreheads
would take off their caps
make the sign of the cross upon themselves,
and quietly pray The Angelus.
Bob Ryan was in a foul humour,
Angelus or no Angelus
because his bunions were killing him.
He was in no mood at all
to be ringing a church bell
but he knew there'd be blue murder
if the parish didn't get its summons
to prayer time-check.
"Well fuck me bunions!"
he swore vehemently
as he hauled on the rope
with such fury
that the first time he rang the bell,
one of Lord Talbot's prize Jersey cows
exploded in the Castle Field.
The second ring caused the tide
to turn and go out again
even though it hadn't fully come in yet.
The third ring caused the bell-ringers head
to come off completely
and bounce along the church aisle
chanting "Fuck me bunions"
and as an after-thought
because that was clearly the end of it.
Out in the fields
the men put their caps on again
saying "That was a short one."
And they went back to their work.
Pat, August 2020
How I loved the little girl on the DART,
head bent, hair spilling down,
concentrating deeply on the word that she was writing.
Her father peered over her shoulder.¨
"There's a 'T' on the end of that" he said.
"I don't WANT a 'T' on it!" she said.
in "Pawmarks On My Poems", 2013
BOOT-BOY BUDGIES RULE!
Basil the Boot-Boy Budgie,
Was browned off in his cage,
So he put on the denims,
Got his Budgie-Bovver-Boots,
And went out on the rampage.
He threatened middle-aged Mynah Birds,
And booted pensioner parrots,
Then off to the rabbits' All-Nite Caff,
To sniff some cocaine carrots.
Clutching his trusty aerosol tin,
He had this message to spray,
"Bleedin' canaries rule all wrong,
But budgies rule... O.K.!"
While wrecking the parrots' pool-hall,
He noticed Denim Dinah,
Some budgie bootgirls is bleedin' fine tings,
But she was bleedin' finer!
Basil began to bill and coo,
She said: "Watch who you're bleedin' cooin",
But Basil was a Bay-City Budgie,
He knew what he was doin'.
They settled down in a County Council Cage,
and abandoned their Boot-Budgie ways,
Every Sunday they're at first Mass,
And they've hung up their aerosol sprays.
Sometimes when the kids are asleep,
They kneel in silent prayer
"Bless our little Bay-City Budgies,
Don't let them go to the tear.
Keep them safe from bovver-boots,
And trousers at half mast,
We know we've been bad budgies,
But all that's in the past."
Then Basil sheds a gentle tear,
He doesn't know what to say,
When he sees what the kids
Have written on the wall,
"DADDY BLEEDIN' RULES... O.K.!!!"
in "Welcome To My Head", 1986, Anna Livia Press
I CAN FEEL THE PEACE OF IT
A little boy in a hollow at the edge of The Green.
The loudest thing would be a butterfly landing.
Maybe a horse and cart.
All the men have gone to work.
Over the roads.
Up the fields.
Sparrows fluff their feathers in the dust.
A man bends his head underneath the pump
and turns his face up, open, for a drink.
The tide is coming in
or going out.
You'd have to look.
Bunty McCann carries a big wicker basket
full of messages out of Bertie Boyle's shop
and eases it into the holder on the bike.
He pushes it away up New Street,
past the Middle Yard, past Dunnes,
past Howard's Shop
where Georgie Lynch
chop chop chops meat hard
against the wooden block.
Down The Green,
beside the little boy's house,
Old Mister Daniels comes out
and leans upon his gate.
It is enough.
in "Once Upon A Wicked Eye", 2008
OUT IN THE SCULLERY IN THE OLD HOUSE DOWN THE GREEN
I used to love it
when the pot-stand came crashing down.
Out in the scullery it stood.
Eiffle-towering the saucepans
making them smaller all the way to the top.
It would never let you cheat.
You could never sneak a saucepan up a step.
It would never let it fit.
And when it toppled over
when it tumbled down
how I loved the clatter and the rattle
and the pots and pans
ringing gypsy music off the floor.
Then you would stand it up
and size the pots again
nearly nearly biggest
all the way
to the littlest one
at the top
and you would walk away
and leave it.
Never knowing the day nor the hour
that they'd all come tumbling down.
in "Once upon a 'hide", 2004