The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Monday, September 02, 2013


A weekend in London.
I'd heard that General Tomlinson Smythe, an old war horse in his 90's, was dying and I wanted to see him.
A lot of these lads think they're dying until they get a visit from me and then they suddenly perk up.
Seriously though.
I arrived at Ponsonby Close and was shown into the living room where the General was reclining in an armchair with his feet on a little stool.
Various family members were britishly buzzing around tapping laptops, arranging furniture, or whatever, but they withdrew quietly and simultaneously when I sat down with their father.
The Brits really know how to withdraw.
If the Irish were trying to withdraw, they'd walk into doors, drop trays and trip over the dog.
But the Brits just quietly melt away.
They disperse.
Like some gas.
(Hey. - PG Wodehouse note)
(Homage. - Heelers note)
I'd often thought the General ran his family with military efficiency and this was a sure sign of it.
Classical music had been playing when I entered but as I sat down one of the departing daughters smoothly muted it.
The General greeted me and said at once: "I'm waiting for God to take me."
I said: "I'm a bit surprised you would say that. You look so vital."
The General said: "I just want to go. I'm asking God to take me now."
I said: "He might have more work for you to do."
"It's all done."
"Maybe he wants you to stay around for a while just to give your family a chance to love you a bit more. They're only getting their hand in. Up to now you've been minding them. They might need a little extra time with you."
He was silent.
I went on: "And he might want you to take this time to savour the harvest. After a lifetime in the service of the lord, he might just want you to stop and count the victories he has sent you for his glory. He might want you to be still for a moment and think about what you have done by his grace. He might want you to know before you leave, that he thinks you did a good job."
I got up, shook his hand and walked outside without a farewell to the family.
There wouldn't be a problem.
They were true Brits.
They knew the score.
In the street London engulfed me once more.

the earth is afire with mysteries
the truth i bring you friends
through the temples of our shabbiness
walk ghost men

I of course mean me.


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