Your Festival For Friends

[specially for members of Toastmasters International in Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales & beyond]

adventure into the unknown,
Elf on your shelf,
advent friends.

A time for rejoicing:
let us hold hands in harmony,
let’s stand side-by-side in solidarity,
let’s speak of Ralph C Smedley’s chesnut stuffing,
his legacy
for everyday connectivity.

There is a season …
Turn, turn, turn
and a time to every purpose in Toastmasters
a time to try,
a time to try,
a time to triumph,
a timer by your side.

let there be Grammar,
guttural, graceful grammar,
linguistic tightrope walking
past lazy language,
unkempt utterances
savage sentences.
Let your inner Grammarian prod you
from slovenly, sleepy mouthfuls.
This is the season for rejoicing, rhyme and rhetoric.

Each to your way:

Make meaningful the content of your desire.
You are a meaning-making-master
a lowercase distinguished Toastmaster,
You deserve this advent,
this good story,
this Promise of
Integrity for Inspiration,
Respect for Resilience,
Service for Solace,
Excellence for Eccentricity.

May Ralph be Santa to your sleigh,
crammed full of presents,
and presence on your stage,
your landscape,
your speachathon,
the speachathon of your mind.

May the love of leaders that lead with love
fill up your heart this year to come.

Call out this Festival from COVID,
unmask the pain within,
ring out the joy we comrades sing,
make merry when you can
and serve humanity lashings of trifle.

Ring in this season of reindeers,
ridiculous renditions of poetry and song,

With love to you all


The Cauldron

Let’s not go back through the whole story
– who was right and who was wrong
– who was trite and who was strong.
Let’s not chew the cud nor blaspheme
into the eyes of the other side.

All us elephants belong together,
no matter the weather,
even if we carry opposing memories
in trunks weighed down
with the affluence of a river stream,
weighed down under the influence
of our tribe of scribes.

Don’t you remember … ?
Haven’t you forgotten … ?
Surely it was a dream
conjured up in daylight
suffered by night
under O’Ryan’s belt
or Murphy’s plough
– the one she gave away
to her infant star?

Let’s not dwell
on the hell
of the big bang
our sides faced
in silence,
the vacuum of peace
and war of the worlds
we each imagine
the other inhabits.

We elephantine serpentines,
we cling to the underside
of the all-knowing
Red Admiral.
We think we know better than to rage
against the fading meteorite.

In the puddle of blood we dribbled
from wounds our flashpoint celebrated
there isn’t an ounce of virtue
There is time in space
all about a place
as warm as a teddybear’s tummy,
as soft as powder down
on a heron’s breast.

We are witness.

Let’s move on to the pale moon light,
and wake the characters within
a freshly scrubbed cauldron.





From the depths of Hell in summertime

Dante heard his name called

wished he’d misheard.


he always knew it wasn’t enough

to write a description of Hell

to ward off the experience of hell on earth.

I am Dante

I’ve tried to write my way

out of misery

– wished many times

I could have woken up dead –

longer than that Italian moaned his lost love.



(1) This poem was written during a livestream Periscope on 8 June 2016 – in 10 minutes.

(2) The first line was suggested by @shaggydog69 “From the depths of Hell” & @brendyrussell11 “in summertime”.

(3) The scope was both nerve-wracking & fun.

Strangle Bukowski – poem by Paul O’Mahony

Will someone please strangle Bukowski

A disgraceful man

not worthy of the name Charles

He farts his syllables

belches his words

vomits his phrases

– his sentences smell

like festering fish

As for his verse

it’s worse.

When did Mewkowski last rhyme?

When did he not spew  out his truth

as if it was personal?

If caustic Charlie didn’t drink sour milk

sucked from his Mother Nature

the inhuman race

would have no warlike bastards

inciting us all to spill blood

from eructive orifices.


the barely sane Bukowski

keeps my bad breath moving mindfully

in and out

in and out

through gaps between teeth

filled originally by a dumb dentist

married to his drill

addicted to screwing

holes he amalgamed.

Father, father

who will rid me of this

treacherous gurgitator

sent from that inner being

Steve Jobs

tried to connect with

on his ashram

in smelly feet.


pastiche is the sincerest form of flattery

Will someone please strangle Bukowski?