The Celtic Tiger


Ireland’s boom is in full swing.

Rows of numbers, set in a cloudless blue

computer background, prove the point.


Executives lop miles off journeys

since the ring-roads opened, one hand

free to dial a client on the mobile.


Outside new antique pubs, young consultants

— well-toned women, gel-slick men —

drain long-necked bottles of imported beer.


Lip-glossed cigarettes are poised

at coy angles, a black bra strap

slides strategically from a Rocha top.


Talk of tax-exempted town-house lettings

is muffled by rap music blasted

from a passing four-wheel drive.


The old live on, wait out their stay

of execution in small granny flats,

thrifty thin-lipped men, grim pious wives . . .


Sudden as an impulse holiday, the wind

has changed direction, strewing a whiff

of barbecue fuel across summer lawns.


Tonight, the babe on short-term

contract from the German parent

will partner you at the sponsors’ concert.


Time now, however, for the lunch-break

orders to be texted. Make yours hummus

on black olive bread. An Evian.


[Dennis O'Driscoll]


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