John McKeown




Backbone of the Nation



Like some fat

little octopus

bleeding ink

the small businessman

squats at the bar

talking big.

But worse than him

is the small

willing audience


to his fat little tentacles,

in awe

of his pullulating sac

of noxious acumen.


I want to wade in,

stab and cut,

strike a blow

for everything formless,

undeliverable, equivocal;

but sit back, drink,

endure his trumpeting.

Not out of weakness, or strength,

but resignation;

the small businessman

is of another species.







John McKeown © 2009

Dodging the Virgin



When am I going to learn

Not to tell her anything?

The Queen of Heaven

Must be kept in the dark.


She’ll gather intelligence there

Like snowfall deepening in the night

And crush me with her purity

When she’s good and ready.


But why collaborate?  Keeping her informed

She reads as prayer

And freedom is a dirty

Lying business.




Keeping Up



‘During The Troubles

life for ordinary people went on’,

the pundit reminds us.  

Meaning: the eye of monotony

in the storm never closes.


The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

wont prevent Mrs Jones driving the kids to school.

Or Mr Jones putting the finishing touches


to his business-plan

for the New Heaven and the New Earth

to put before God Almighty in his Judgement Seat.




John McKeown © 2009