The Top of My Game

I thought I was on the top of my game
a political argument? I knew who to blame
the competing parties looked all the same
the candidates all grasping at fame
and the media was best at being “lame.”
But I  was at the top of my game.

I was at the top of my game
drawing a picture well enough to frame
I’d write a clever poem when the ideas came
and slap on the copyright as my intellectual claim
and hide behind a phony name
Ah, I was at the top of my game

I thought I was at the top of my game
but life’s misfortunes have hindered my aim
as snarling worldly tigers I struggled to tame
left me weary, my courage they maim
But she comforts me, my wife, my dame
when I fall short of the top of my game
and loves me all the same…

©2011 James Montgomery

The Bard of Killarney – an Irish tune of much silliness

There once was a man
and he sang by the tree
on the road that led
down to Killarney.

And he looked to the sky
and what did he see?
He called down the birds
and they sang to me.

With a Hey! Hi!
and a merry Hi Ho!
And a ding-dee-diddle
and away we go!

“When you take to the wing
and you fly through the air,
you got no worries
and you just don’t care.

“‘Cause the sun is risin’
at the break of day,
so we’ll tweet-twee-twiddle
and we’ll fly away!”

So I looked at the man
so strange to see
and he piped on his flute
a sweet melody.

And out from the forest,
a fox did flee.
He stopped on the road
and he sang to me.

With a Hey! Hi!
and a merry Hi Ho!
And a ding-dee-diddle
and away we go!

“When they ride their horses,
take aim with their guns,
and call their doggies
so you just gotta run.

“‘Cause the hounds are tracking’
all through the day,
so I’ll zig-zag-ziggle
and I’ll run away!”

I laughed at the man
as he played by the tree,
and up on the road
a pink pig I see.

Smelling all the flowers
eating two or three,
He waddled up the road
and he sang to me.

With a Hey! Hi!
and a merry Hi Ho!
And a ding-dee-diddle
and away we go!

“When the sun is high
and you look for the shade,
and the mud lies thick
like marmalade.

“And you eat all the feed
that you get for the day,
so I’ll pig-pog-piggle
and I’ll run away!”

So I turned to the man,
who played with glee
a merry little tune
underneath the tree.

And over the meadow
a cat I see
and she crouched at my feet
and she sang to me.

With a Hey! Hi!
and a merry Hi Ho!
And a ding-dee-diddle
and away we go!

“If you brush my coat
and you comb my tail,
i’ll catch all the mice
and I will not fail.

“‘Cause a cat is silent
as she stalks her prey,
so I’ll tip-toe-tipple
and I’ll sneak away.”

So he tapped my shoulder
The man did he,
and he pointed down the road
to Killarney.

And up strolled a lass,
a sight to see,
and she held out a muffin
and she sang to me.

With a Hey! Hi!
and a merry Hi Ho!
And a ding-dee-diddle
and away we go!

“When the sun is setting
and the moon is high,
and a lady’s smiling
with a look in her eye.

“And she takes you home
at the end of the day,
so we’ll fee-fi-fiddle
and you’ll have your way.”

With a Hey! Hi!
and a merry Hi Ho!
And a ding-dee-diddle
and away we go!

©2011 James Montgomery

A Lament for Ciarán Caomhánach

I said goodbye to my true love,
As he marched off to fight the war.
I knew what he was made of,
And what he was fighting for.

They put him on a tall ship,
And he sailed across the sea.
With pistol and sword on his hip,
And his memory of me.

Ciarán Caomhánach was a strong man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was a brave man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was my man.
And I loved him so.

His hair was full, the color of red,
His eyes shone the ocean’s blue.
His family name was held in good stead,
All called him friend that he knew.

I met him back in the days of my youth,
I never saw a finer man.
His heart was filled with love and truth,
When he asked me for my hand.

Ciarán Caomhánach was a tall man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was a pure man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was my man.
And I loved him so.

He would not fight without reason,
But reasons are easy to find.
A foolish man’s for teasin’,
A man who will treat him unkind.

He had a terrible temper,
An anger that got in his head.
Many’s a man who would whimper,
And many’s a man who lies dead.

Ciarán Caomhánach was a young man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was a fierce man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was a my man.
And I loved him so.

They say he killed a dishonest man,
And he raged as he watched him die.
None who were there dared to lift a hand
And they killed him too, says I.

I said goodbye to my true love,
As he marched off to pay for his crime.
He knew what he was guilty of,
And I’ve lost the one who was mine.

Ciarán Caomhánach was a good man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was a doomed man.
Ciarán Caomhánach was a hanged man.
And I miss him so.

©2011 James Montgomery

Fireflies

   The heavy perfume of the honeysuckle smelled even sweeter in the warm lushness of the late summer evening. The fireflies flickered in and out of the bushes and the grass. Someone would have a Mason jar and catch some lightnin’ bugs, but usually we were content just to capture the one and let it crawl on our hands and fingers and we’d examine it closely with one observant eye. How did his belly light up so?

   As much as I love Winter and the freshness of Spring, I think this was my favorite time of year: the late Summer evenings that turned into Autumn. School had just started and the newness of the school year still held anticipation for us and made the Friday nights and the weekends that much more precious. Soon the leaves would change from their green to bright yellows and oranges and the maples would turn the most luscious shade of red until they all fell brown to the earth. They would hiss and whisper as they whisked along the streets and sidewalks, free of their branches,  traveling to unknown places, never to be seen again.

   Soon, it would be time for the pumpkins and the candy and the late-night frolic of Halloween which meant that the holidays would soon be upon us and the sharp bite of Winter. Would there be snow this year? I always hoped so.

But this evening it was warm and fragrant and the fireflies slowly flickered in the dark.