' ' ' ' But When The Moonlight Flits! Poem by Dónall Dempsey

' ' ' ' But When The Moonlight Flits!

Rating: 2.5

Bored we play
with the password.

“Halt! ”

“Who goes there! ”

“Rag..! ”
I challenge.

“...order! ”
comes the counter challenge.

So many stars
it looks like night

could shatter
& fall back into day

with the littlest
of tinkles.

I, on sentry duty
this bitterest of nights

no different

from sentries
over the centuries

from Thermopile to the Battle of the Somme.

“Piss on yer hands! ”
The old one’s laugh

“it will keep ‘em warm
...for as long
as you piss! ”

“Drink lots & lots of tea
before going on sentry! ”

The stars twinkle
innocent as nursery rhymes.

But shhhhh...listen!
Something wicked this way comes!

Ah, these footsteps
are my friend’s.

I know him by
the creak in his left boot

(always the drag on that
left foot)

his breathing a little

“Halt! ”
I shout over the top
because I know it’s him.

“Who goes there? ”
I threaten almost
frightening myself.

Then I declaim
our concocted password.

“I love you in your dress! ”
“I love you in your nightie! ”

“But when...”

I wait for him to sing
the comeback line.

“But when...
the moonlight flits across your tits
...by Christ all fucking mighty! ”

Out of the silence
comes my friend’s bashful grin

And the duty officer’s
startled voice:

“My God man...are you alright! ”


These were some of the other passwords!

Here’s to the gentle breezes
That blow around the treeses
& blows girl’s skirtses above their kneezes
& reveal the places all men pleases.

Be Jeezus! Be Jeezus!

But tho’ the Devil sends his wind to make girl’s skirts rise
God is just & sends the dust to blow in the bad boyses eyeses.

Always tidy always neat
She made things stand that never had feet!

Dónall Dempsey

Dónall Dempsey

Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.
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