(15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' O...Nara! (For Onelia)

“A I U E O! ”

All night long
the voles would learn

their vowels
out loud

“For Christ’s sake
in... Japanese! ”

I told the voles
they would: “ Sorry...
...have to go! ”

“A I U E O! ”
they chanted defiantly
as they marched out

slamming the
garden gate.

I had to

their Japanese
had come on a bit.

Then the moles
moved in

and they promised me
no vowels…Japanese or otherwise.

“We’re moles
not voles! ”

they said indignantly
as if I had insulted
their very mole-ness.

Later that night
when it was nearly morning

I awoke to:
“Not more chanting! ”

“Ka, ki, ku, ke, ko
sa, shi, su, se, so! ”

“What de...! ”

“Ta, chi, tsu, te, to
na, ni, nu, ne, no! ”

The moles were learning
the alphabet in...

“ Ah Jaysus…Japanese! ”

“Ha, hi, fu, he, ho
ma, mi, mu, me, mo! ”

I couldn’t believe it.

“Ra, ri, ru, re, ro
ya, i, yu, e, yo! ”

Almost beside myself
I found myself

Chanting along
with them.

“Wa, i, wo
...n! ”

The sound
petered out

like a bucket
with a hole in it.

“Enough...no more!
I swore.

“Can’t a body
find no rest! ”

I screamed with
almost pained regret.

The moles looked at me
like miniature ninja

And left without
inscrutably saying a word.

Now, at last
I sleep in peace

as the grave

listening only to
the stars

the stars
as they chatter



Nara is a town in Japan but by adding an O to it...one creates a bit of a stink. Japanese schoolboy joke turns the town into a fart.

Just for the sheer fun of sound I find these a delight to chant and so built a poem about voles learning vowels and moles their alphabet in Japanese simply to get a chance to say them if I were to read the poem. What fun! I have been suffering a dreadful cold and ear infection and this is how I make myself happy when my body is taken over by a bug...I attack with Japanese sound.

There’s no ABC in Japanese because there is no alphabet. There are vowels like:

あ   い   う   え   お (a, i, u, e, o)

In Japanese characters the consonants are never written alone... except for 'n'!

All the others are this way 'ko ji ha..'

Here's the list of words in hiragana/katakana

a, i, u, e, o
ka, ki, ku, ke, ko
sa, shi, su, se, so
ta, chi, tsu, te, to
na, ni, nu, ne, no
ha, hi, fu, he, ho
ma, mi, mu, me, mo
ra, ri, ru, re, ro
ya, i, yu, e, yo
wa, i, wo

second syllabus

ga, gi, gu, ge, go
za, ji, zu, ze, zo
da, di, du, de, do
ba, bi, bu, be, bo
pa, pi, pu, pe, po

third syllabus

jya, jyi, jyo
kya, kyi, kyo
pya, pyi, pyo

User Rating: 2,7 / 5 ( 47 votes ) 2

Comments (2)

Hey, I hardly follow the labyrinths of your creativity and erudition :)
Ahh so honourable poet...I bow to this poem and your knowledge, my master....heheh Great poem Donall....very entertaining and inuitive...such fun. Ruthie