Poetry | Issue 16
The Last Song of Jimmy Strong | By Dan Luoni
Sliding into the dark room
From the last bite of night air
Jimmy Strong stared through the gloom
And took account of all that was queer.
Taking a seat and accepting a drink
He asked permission, “Allowed to think?”
“Who among you, he asked his congregation,
Can claim to know the soul of this nation
As I who have tasted her beauties
Beside bubbling brooks under the
Meek smile of the crescent moon.
As I who have taken tea with tumours
In her parched innards, and found
In the flood common ground.
As I who have vanquished
On slow stretches of cataract mornings.
I who have run through the tangles
Of her hair,
Both celebrated and unseen.
I who have endured her tempers
With the resigned love
Of a grandsire.
I who have beheld her in humour
And revelled the private joke
Of her protruding tongue.
Who have negotiated her compacts
And seen them kept under
Both want and wantonness.
Have stood in the pre-dawn mourning
Of her proudly borne illness,
And honoured the strength of ignorance.
Claim to know what no
man before me could say;
My country cries today..”
And as Jimmy Strong nodded
Over the dregs of his song,
The congregation turned
And the barman crossed the border.
“Off to bed now Jimmy.
You’ve been too long
on the milk and honey.
And if you want to talk about sorrow,
We’ll have a chat about your tab tomorrow.”