(1 January 1954 - / Thurles, County Tipperary)

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.

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