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by Greg Delanty

I promised to show you the bowlers
     out the Blarney Road after Sunday mass,
you were so taken with that painting
     of the snazzy, top-hatted peasant class
            all agog at the bowler in full swing,
            down to his open shirt, in trousers
as indecently tight as a baseballer's.

You would relish each fling's span
     along blackberry boreens and delight
in a dinger of a curve throw
     as the bowl hurls out of sight,
            not to mention the earthy lingo
            & antics of gambling fans,
giving players thumbs-up or down the banks.

It's not just to witness such shenanigans
     for themselves, but to be relieved
from whatever lurks in our day's background,
     just as the picture's crowd is freed
            of famine & exile darkening the land,
            waiting to see where the bowl spins
off, a planet out of orbit, and who wins.

Greg Delanty teaches English literature at St. Michael's College, in Vermont.

Copyright © 1995 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; February 1995; After Viewing The Bowling Match at Castlemary, Cloyne (1847); Volume 275, No. 2; page 73.

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