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Monday, 22 December 2014


I went to the optician,
For my eyes were all a-blur,
He tested me on the letters chart
And I failed with a sigh and a grrrr.

“How bad is it?” I asked.
“My sight was always clear.”
He looked at me and shook his head:
“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.”

“Sometimes getting older,
Eyeballs fade and lose their gleam,
And it’s glasses or contact lenses
Or that worrying laser beam.

“No choice if you want to read,
No choice if you want to write, 
No choice if you want to watch TV,
Or drive all through the night. 

“No choice if you want to avoid
Slips and trips and falls,
Bumping into furniture
Or bouncing off the walls.

“So, here’s my diagnosis,
For eyes once so amazing,
Your peepers need the strongest specs,
Complete with double-glazing.”

Saturday, 20 December 2014


Christmas on the telly
Chock full of festive stuff,
Eyeball indigestion,
Some sparkle and some duff. 

Special this and special that
Recorded last July,
Bits of plastic holly
And a snowy FX sky. 

Ancient classic movies
In flaky black and white,
Conveyor belts of showbiz dross
All through the day and night.  

Cartoons by the hundreds,
Game shows by the score,
Showbiz moves to overdrive
To see we don’t get bored. 

But alas when all the watching’s done
And we’re all drinking cocoas,
All eyeballs in the universe
Will be out of blinking focus.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Oh dear, what can the matter be,
Aunty Flossie got stuck up an apple tree,
How she got stuck is a bit of a mystery
But the fire brigade’s on it’s way.

The firemen arrived, stifling their giggles
At Auntie Flossie’s teetering wriggles,
Drawing a plan with notes and squiggles,
To get the poor lady down.

To cut the tale short, Auntie was able
To get down on a winch and a strong metal cable,
Shaken and stirred but otherwise stable,
Her tree-climbing days no more.

Fun With Words, Fun With Rhyme

I love poetry. Sometimes I don’t understand it but other times I get it, learn from it, am entertained by it and, occasionally and wonderfully, I laugh out loud at it. This book is called Fun With Words, Fun With Rhyme and, apart from sharing some new funny poems, I want it to be a book of encouragement to promote a lifelong love of books, bookshops and libraries. The poems can be read quietly or performed by and to enthusiastic, interactive audiences. There are those who, for whatever reason, have the ability but have not had the active encouragement to come back to the language and give it a great big hug. We can all do it. We can all write poems. We can be serious or funny, serious and funny, whatever we want to be. Our poems don’t have to be literary masterpieces, don’t have to be hifalutin, Nobel Prize nuggets of genius – although, if they are, good for us. The joy is in having a go, playing with words, playing with rhyme…..and having fun. Start with “the fat cat sat on the mat” or wherever you like. But, have a go. Like my old friend John, tear poems out of newspapers and magazines. Keep them in your pockets to read later or to give to others. Read poems out loud whenever you can to poetry groups, school classes, at parties – to yourself!
ISBN: 9781784079581
Total Pages: 101
Published: 12 August 2014
Price: £5.99

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Children. Easy targets for fuckwits with guns,
killing sisters, brothers, daughters, sons.
School. A refuge of understanding, a learning place,
moulding the young as part of the human race.
We're all in the squint of a sniper's eye,
who gives a shit about who, what or why?
They get up, get ready and go to class,
only concern is to fail or to pass.
They assume they'll be home when the bell rings,
safe in the comfort of domestic things.
Children, with all that tomorrow holds,
Scream and run as the terror unfolds.
We failed to protect you all from attack,
oh, children, we can never get you back.

Monday, 15 December 2014


Will it be flat cider or champagne fizz
when the presenter says: "The winner is...."?
Will it be tears of joy or tears of woe
on yet another hyped up TV show?
Will it be handshake, hug and kiss sincere,
brave face, stiff upper lip or inner sneer?
Will it be scandal or celebration,
choice of the phone-paying voting nation?
Will it be conspiracy theory stuff,
shenanigans and chicanery guff?

We held our breath until we all turned blue,
as fingers fumbled with the envelope glue.

Will it be flat cider or champagne fizz
when the presenter says: "The winner is...."?

The winners side cheered while the losers sobbed,
"Congratulations" versus "We wuz robbed".

Friday, 12 December 2014


One Christmas, Santa brought me a toy tipper truck filled with sweets.
I loved it and had great fun loading and unloading my new toy,
driving up and down the hall, in and out of the legs of my family,
sometimes accused of being a pest, other times ignored completely,
but content in my own imagination, a happy, lucky little boy.

But the fun turned to frustration and despair when the hijackers closed in.
My brothers and sisters ganged up to steal the sweets, mean with greed.
I shouted, cried and appealed to my mother as I tried in vain to guard
the most precious possession at that time in my life, under threat
from my own family, this band of robbers pursuing this evil deed.

What does that say about me as fifty years on I remember it?
My only pleasure is knowing that the hijackers think they got away with it.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


The Poems Of Hamish Sheaney : Remastered & Expanded

In 2012, I published a book called Hamish Sheaney: The Nearly-Man of Irish Literature. The book began with this disclaimer: Hamish Sheaney may not exist, so it might have been necessary to invent him. Hamish Sheaney might be Joe Cushnan or Joe Cushnan might be Hamish Sheaney. They are never seen in the same room together, but more often than not they are in the same room. Shirt collar, shoe size, dental records and preference for Mini-Cheddars are purely coincidental. The book is still available from and via Amazon Kindle. It contains a short biography of Hamish as well as lists of his failed screenplays, literary influences and proverbial wisdom (whizz dumb) quotations. This updated book is a remastered (regurgitated?) and expanded version that concentrates on the nearly-man’s specific biographical and observational poetry, and it leaves out the “and other funny stuff”. So as not to short-change anyone too much, other poems and witty gems have been discovered in a holdall in Hamish’s shed. They are printed here for the first time. Granny Sheaney also makes an appearance with her terse views on life and poetry. Unlike my other books of fun verse - Juggling Jelly, The Chuckle Files, Boxset (Without A Box), etc, this collection is a bit more adult in parts.
ISBN: 9781785100727
Total Pages: 99
Published: 17 September 2014
Buy paperback here:


Death Of A Naturist….13
Tithe Barn….15
The Painted Ceiling….17
Saint Caedmon….19
The Sighting….21
It’s All Greek To Me….25
Watching My Onomatopoeias….29
Morning Haze….31
Baking Cakes….33
Appreciating Turquoise….35
Door Into The Dusk….37
Be A Wolf….49
Misery Match….51 
Staying Out Of The Deep End….53
Silent Footstep….55
No Ordinary Poem….57
Breath Of A Naturalist….59
Meg Marigolds….61
The Hee-Haw Lantern….63
Winging It….65
The Tall Auld Man….67
Just The Job….69
Not (Words)worth It….71
Spirit Level….75
Stinky Stallion….77
Birds In Trees….81
Ten Fat Rats….87
Noticed Things….91
The Prattle Bag….97
And Finally….99

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


I am a window dresser
at the High Street Christmas shop,
I have to dress the Christmas tree
from bottom to the top.

But after several hours,
I can't take it any more,
I've had traubles with all the baubles
smashing on the floor.

From my book Only Yules & Verses (Funny poems & silly jokes about Christmas) - available here:

Sunday, 7 December 2014


Every year, when I was a kid, St Teresa's Church, Glen Road, Belfast assembled a Nativity scene, using some pretty basic stuff. As a youngster, it was pure joy and magic to use our imaginations. As an adult, our cynicism got in the way.......


It was the highlight of the year,
apart from toys on Christmas day,
to see the outdoor crib
where the baby Jesus lay.

Memory and maturity spoil
the wonder of it all
for the star was a bulb
and Jesus was a doll.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


From my book Only Yules & Verses (Funny poems & silly jokes about Christmas) - available here:

Dasher and
Dancer and
Prancer and
Vixen and
Comet and
Cupid and
Donner and
Blitzen and
Rudolph -

Dear, deer, deer,
Deer, deer, deer,
Deer, deer, deer,
Santa sighs,
For every November and no mistake,
He has to do a stocktake.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Christmas Tree Clip Art

Go on, rest ye merry gentlemen
after Christmas lunch,
remember to leave tummy room
for cakes and chocs and punch,
to save you from dyspepsia
have Rennies there to crunch,

Oh, noises of grunts and snorts and snores,
snorts and snores,
Oh, noises of grunts and snorts and snores.

Awaiting the Queen's speech you try
to slip in forty winks
but Junior's rat-a-tatting toy
forces a rethink,
you give that toy the evil eye
and curse it with a jinx,

Oh at Christmas we're crackers one and all,
one and all,
Oh at Christmas we're crackers one and all.

Merry Christmas to each and every one,
ho, ho, ho,
Merry Christmas to each and every one.