While Woodrow Wilson Danced

By Pat Barone

Between the Kaiser and the English King,
Bluebell Ryan, my mother, was only four,
her nurse's uniform splattered with blood, 
When President Wilson (her brother Tommy)
tried to kill the Kaiser (brother Cuthbert) with 
a carving knife. Before Gram called the doctor,
she used the wool she'd rolled for 'Over There'
on Cussie's leg, which mended with a scar.

Meanwhile Edith Wilson sheared and gave
the Red Cross fleece from the flock of sheep
munching the White House lawn, thus sparing
her yard men for war behind the President, 
her Woody, a former pacifist who prosecuted
pacifists, so he'd be free to broker peace to make
the world a safe to lock democracy. 

Vice President Tom Riley Marshall's mam
wanted us to fight the bloody English, who
crushed the Easter rising in Dublin. 

With Wilson stricken by apoplexy,
the pusillanimous V.P., fearing his own power
as much as his mother's, didn't curb Edith,
who censored her husband's affairs of state,
refusing a British envoy, whose aide made 
light of her. Countries splintered; Congress 
defeated Woody's noble League of Nations.

Still, the gentle, dreaming souls who sailed 
for freedom, kept on coming, never mind
the Nativists ahead, the Black and Tans behind.

In the Kingdom of Sheep and Goats

By Pat Barone

The poor man's cow, the goat, thrived on the Burren, County Clare.
How? By climbing rocks-there were no trees- and making milk 
and cheese from the dwindling salt-sprayed grass. The herders never 
gave ear to the Christianized druids chanting to scare the devil-

A goat's horned skull that glowed in fire like a pentagram.
The chieftains raided their neighbors' bulls and cows, while back
on the hearth, women wove wool from the sheep and fashioned
coats from skins of ancient goats. Neither beast clean nor unclean.

After Duirmuid O'Rían denounced the tithe on poor folks' small 
potatoes, he spent a week in Clonmel Jail, long enough to write 
a song about a Peeler who was bested by the goat that he arrested.
Goats are good for laughs, and the world had chortled before.

At a safe distance. While the Irish lacked suffrage and suffered on,
perfecting their black humor. But they didn't rise until Cromwell's 
Round Head soldiers tried to catch a herd of goats: Through their hands, 
the animals ran, down mountain to warn Cill Orglan. Villagers escaped.

How? The only way they could, downhill, as if chased by their ancient foes, 
Formorian giants, goat-headed men who sported one eye. 
If from the town of Cill Orglan, a man was shot (never heard tell of it), 
he was laid outin a sheep skin. Sheep are good for death but goats for life and fight.



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