And then there's carrot-headed Luke.
Who's never seen without a book!
Smollet. Joyce or Dostoevsky.
Luke takes as smoothly as malt whiskey.
And every word that Tolstoy wrote.
Our Luke can quote, and quote, and quote!
At singing he's beyond compare.
No skylark warbles quite so rare'
With banjo gripped in both his hands.
Legs wide apart, he takes his stand.
His beard, his cheeks, his eyes, his head
- A burning mass of fiery red -
What will he sing ?- Our Luke's no prude -
Barney McKenna's the banjo King.
He loves it more than anything.
And when at night he rests his head.
He takes his banjo into bed!
One night McKenna had a dream
When from his wife there came a scream!
This lovely girl, (her name is Joka).
Thought our Barney tried to choke her!
He held her throat and twisted her ear.
"I'm only tuning me banjo, dear!"
Then Joka roared. "It's it or me!
This bed was never built for three!"
So now the banjo goes to bed
Rasputin looks like Peek-a-Boo
When he's compared to Ronnie Drew;
As o'er a glass he stares at you
With those big eyes, red, white and blue!
His voice, like thunder in a glen.
Would put the fear of death in men:
Dressed in 50 guinea suits
And hand-stitched, Spanish leather boots.
He could be almost Royal-reared
Except for the porter in his beard!
I hear he's given up the drink
Before his soul to Hell doth sink.
And now he swallows, nice and slow
Big cups of coffee, (Gaelic, though!)
Ciaran Bourke's a monstrous man
With voice as soft as marzipan.
And after 15 creme de menthe
He'll read you poems in Ireland's tongue;
And in the wee hours of the morn.
You'll wake up hearing Ciaran's horn.
Tin-whistle, pipes or big guitar.
Playing. "Open up the bar!"
And to begin the breakfast hours,
A triple vodka, a glass of Powers',
A double brandy (with a dash of port)
To wash away the midnight hurt;
Some pints to settle hand and brain
Then Ciaran's fit to drink again!
Beneath John Sheahan's bushy chin
He hides a flute and mandolin!
But when our John is asked to play
His fiddle's never far away
And play! The man will play you any
From Zozzimus to Paganini.
No gargle ever wets his lips
(Except unalcoholic sips).
Though up and down OUR elbows go.
When John's goes up. the tunes will flow!
With solemn face and twinkling eyes.
His long bow-sweeps draw praising cries.
A touch of tear-jerking vibrato
And a final, cheeky, "pizzicato"!
Jim McLean, 1968