Neil Flynn is an award-winning writer for radio, stage and screen who lives between Ireland and London. He was recently under commission to RTE radio drama and is developing original work for television and film. He began his writing life writing poetry and is in the midst of completing his first collection of poems. He is represented by the Knight Hall Agency London.
A hurl was never put in his hand or landed at his feet
Like a lungfish leapt through time and out of the sea.
He remembers the first time he gripped one in that kidney-
Shaped patch of green in the hightide of a yielding Spring
In the full-blood, high-low of a boy unstrung.
‘Here, gowan. Left below right. Aim and swing.’
The wrist-deadening weight, his wren-soft, pleading grip.
Rising for his first puck-out, the chastening sting of ash
Across the knuckles that folded his stomach, dropped him
To his knees. Not wanting to rise again despite yon buck
Rapping sans malice: ‘Use the bás to cover your hand.
Be grand, lad’. Clasping a hurl the odd-time since,
The iron-toughness striking as a sin too grave to speak
He globes his shoulders, pucks invincibility to smithereens
My skull shows signs of trepanation:
put it down to an inspired stab in the dark –
the best efforts of the proto Good Samaritan
to mend my depressed fracture with a Neolithic
brain-scooper and something wrought to replace
the loss of a bone-shaped 50p –
after a fall from a wall keeping eye on my lord’s
enemy, one day in the summer of something BCE.
If my arms and legs are missing
take it up with the peat machine operator.
If he’s a little distressed or, God knows, in shock,
tell him, I was not the vainest fellow,
though I wore my hair in a bob, treated with
Spanish pine resin imported from the land of Zog.
Carved on my breast (torso intact) you’ll find
my thoughts on anthropology, epistemology, divination –
Narcissus before he was born.
I was Rodin’s Thinker before sculpture was an
Please, until the experts arrive keep me in my bog-
heaven, that I might look my best when beheld by you,
the world: halogen-lit, miraculously-unshrivelled
in the hallowed bowels of the National Museum.
Alongside Clonycavan, Old Croghan, those black-stewed,
limb-stripped Bog Men I wish I’d known.
For the record: I was struck down in my prime,
my skull trepanned a second time!
Lifted one Iron-age night in a game of thrones,
for the crime of loyally serving my Lord.
I was cast in a cell where I artfully froze:
I drank my piss, I chewed my tongue.
I had to toilet in a bucket. Such inhumanity
I cannot imagine you know.
Bog Man (c. 5000 BCE)