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, April 22, 2019

poem and parody

Pangur Ban is a translation from old Irish by the scholar Robin Flower. The original writer seems to have been a monk. The monk versifies about his cat and himself, the cat a pursuer of mice, the monk a pursuer of knowledge. The title is the cat's name. Pangur to me sounds like a worthy name for a tiger but I'm told it's Irish for bleach. Ban is the Irish word for white and is pronounced Bawn. So the cat's name is something like Whitey White. I once knew an Italian girl by that name. (Ah, Bianca Bianco where are you now.) We can imagine a dramatically furry cat. Or we can imagine him like any cat we know. Robin Flower's version below is followed by my parody.

(from the old Irish as translated by Robin Flower)

I and Pangur Ban my cat
Tis a like task we are at
Hunting mice is his delight
Hunting words I sit all night

Better far than praise of men
Tis to sit with book and pen
Pangur bears me no ill will
He too plies his simple skill

Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net

Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly
Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try

When a mouse darts from its den
O how glad is Pangur then
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love

So in peace our tasks we ply
Pangur Ban my cat and I
In our arts we find our bliss
I have mine and he has his

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light


Pancho Bawn
by James Healy

i and Pancho Bawn my Jack Russell
are likewise engaged in a spiritual tussle

hunting biscuits is his delight
trying to land an analytical blow on Independent Newspapers for their casual slanderous trahesions of the ancient beautiful and true catholic church i sit all night

when he finds a forgotten stash of mcvitie's digestives behind a cushion
oh how Pancho exalts in his escutcheon

when i lop a couple of hundred notional grand off independent newspapers albeit gerrymandered sales and circulation figures
i too occasionally allow myself some self applauditory sniggers

so in peace our tasks we ply
Pancho Ban my biscuit snarfling Jack Russell and i

in the munching of Digestives he finds bliss
whilst i am most content when indicating to the irish people that the commentary insight financial underpinnings moral probity and reportage of independent newspapers comports all the quality and merit of distillated cat's piss