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This is where it all began. I became aware of 'The Bard of Armagh', a competition involving humorous verse. I wrote'The Drap-in Surgery' as my entry, and got to the final in Armagh City, where I had to perform my poem on stage in front of 1,000 people.

OK, I didn't win, but I enjoyed the experience, and the pleasure of writing the verse, so I have kept on doing it, despite many 'friends' coming up with variations of the 'Don't give up the day job' line. This does not discourage me in the slightest, principally because I don't have a day job to give up.

The Drap-in Surgery

An everyday story of Northern Ireland country folk

Ah called intil the Doctors fur Ah wuzn't feelin' great.
Ah'd sharp pains aroun' me stummick; mibbe sumthin' that Ah ate.
Ah went up til Reception fur that's what ye hafta do.
She lukked me up an' down, an' said, "What can I do for you?"

Ah sez te hur, "Ah've awful pains. Ah need te see the Doc."
Sez she te me, "Next Wednesday, just after four o'clock."
"Now houl' on, Miss," Ah says te hur, "Ah need te see him now."
"Now listen you to me," sez she, "you needn't start a row.

If you want to see your Doctor, you need to fix a date.
It's all appointments now, you know, so no-one has to wait."
"That's no good te me," sez I, "Ah'm in shockin' pain right now."
"That's too bad," sez she te me, the unsympathetic cow.

"Is there nobody else cud see me?," Ah ast hur, all polite.
"Because if not, what with these pains, Ah mightn't last the night."
"If you wait you might be seen, but there again you mightn't."
Ah said Ah'd wait, fur truth te tell, Ah wuz a wee bit frightened.

Ah sat there all ascundered, bum stuck til a plastic chair,
an' listened til oul' Nellie, blether on about hur hair.
It's powerful what ye hear, when folk gossip while they're waitin'.
Why's it so bloody warm in here; Ah'm sittin' here just sweatin'

Ah overheard two oul' dolls, discussin' all their worries.
An' what wuz done te poor oul' Pat, who ate too many curries.
Ah heard the peelers lifted Jim, sure the poor lad wuz a junkie.
Mary Bell, boy, she cud talk, the hind leg aff a dunkey.

She red her fella up an' down, an' criticised hur neighbours.
If Ah wuz livin' next te thon, Ah think Ah'd flit, bejabers.
She's got the constipation, an' trouble wi' hur bladder.
The brother got concussion, when he fell aff a ladder.

But all this talk a bladders, an' the other gossip too
made me think, 'It's bin a while', Ah will hafta find a loo.
Back up te face yer wumman, an' Ah lukked hur in the eye.
"Is there a bog aroun' here; if Ah don't git soon Ah'll die."

"The toilet's down the hall," sez she, "make sure that you wash well."
Ah wish't Ah'd had the courage te tell hur te go te hell.
Down the hall intil the loo, the notion gettin' stronger
Ah threw me coat down on the flure, fur Ah cud wait no longer.

Ah fumbled wi' me underwear, fur Ah had te go real quick.
Got past about three layers, when Ah felt an awful prick.
The safety pin that fastened me long johns til me simmit
had stretched an' broke, it had bin used way beyond its limit.

That wuz where the pains come from!, sure Ah wuzn't sick a'tall!
Ah done up all me clothin', an' Ah marched back up the hall.
Back in te face yer wumman. Ah toul' hur Ah wudn't sit.
"Stuff yer bloody appointments, fur Ah'll live a wee while yit."

David Myles September 2007

Finalist. The Bard of Armagh 2007

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