Michael Harding: ‘If Trump realises the moon is his real enemy he is liable to nuke the heavens’
Moonlight annoys the Trump because he associates it with Islam, hence his rants against Muslims, according to a wise Cavan man
Donald Trump’s flights of hyperbolic guff and fanciful bolloxology don’t disturb the Cavan mind.
I was asked to go on Shannonside Radio recently so I drove to Cavan very early in the morning where Shannonside were doing an outside broadcast. The radio van was parked outside the main door of the Kilmore Hotel. I waited in the foyer for my moment to arrive. Joe Finnegan, the legend of midlands radio, was in full flight on his morning programme, in a discussion about bin charges. In the distance on a hill I could see Killygarry church and the sloping graveyard where my parents are buried.
It always feels like coming home when I arrive in Cavan. In the hotel restaurant they were cooking breakfasts and I promised myself a full Irish when the interview was over.
A man as thin as a coathanger stood outside the hotel door, sucking a cigarette with an impish grin.
“I know who you are,” he declared, as I passed on my way to the radio van.
“You shouldn’t be smoking,” I joked.
“Sure you can do nothing nowadays, without annoying someone,” he said. “You can’t even send a Christmas card for fear that some collapsed Catholic will take offence.”
“That’s true,” I admitted.
I told him that I only send cards with images of angels.
“Why?” he wondered.
I explained that angels are at home in Islam, Christian and Jewish cosmologies. And their message was simple. Peace on earth. “That’s universal and I doubt if there’s any humanists who would object to it either.”
He was looking wistfully at the gradually rising daylight.
“Will you have anyone coming for Christmas?” I wondered.
“The daughter,” he replied. “She does be at college in Dublin through the winter but she’ll arrive Christmas morning on a surf board, sailing through the air, in the front door, fly through the dining room and out the back door. The lady wife might fling a leg of turkey at her which she’ll grab as she sails through the air, and then she’ll be out the back door again. Always on her way somewhere. She just flies through.”
That his daughter could ride a surf board through the air and navigate in one door and out the other did not surprise me. We are not slaves of literal truth in Cavan. We acknowledge the poetic nature of reality. Donald Trump’s flights of hyperbolic guff and fanciful bolloxology don’t disturb the Cavan mind. We understand the distorted rhetoric of a poet manquée when we hear one.
The old man whispered in my ear.
“I hear Trump is tormented by moonlight.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Keeps him awake at night,” he said. “Then he gets into bad tempers and starts twittering like a demented bat.”
“He certainly annoyed the Chinese,” I admitted.
“The Chinese will get over it,” the old man assured me. “They’re like Cavan people. Old dogs for the hard road. But it’s the moon I worry about.”
“Because Trump is liable to attack.”
“I’m not following you,” I admitted.
“Well it’s like this,” he continued. “The moonlight annoys the Trump. And he associates the moon with Islam. And that’s the only reason he rants against Muslims. It’s ’cos he can’t sleep. But if he ever realises that the moon is the real enemy, he’s liable to nuke the heavens.”
The sound engineer came out of the radio van and beckoned me to attend. Joe Finnegan was ready for the interview.
“Well Happy Christmas,” I said to the old man.
“Do you know what I’d call Trump?” he asked.
“What?” I wondered.
“A lunatic,” he said, grinning.
Joe Finnegan was chatting on air with the manager and manageress of the hotel about the new extension, the new bedrooms, and the wonderful three-room bridal suite. And I was thinking maybe we won’t need any more hotels or bridal suites if Trump nukes the moon, or drags the world down into the gutter of rage that he seems to be mired in every time he puts on his pyjamas and lies his head on a pillow.
Or on the other hand maybe we’ll all survive. And maybe in generations to come young lovers will tell funny stories about the wolf who bayed at the moon as they watch their children flying through the air on surfboards.
I did the interview and I had a full Irish in the restaurant afterwards and when I got to my car the old man was looking for a lift to Castlepollard. The sky was clear, and the moon was still hanging above Killygarry graveyard where my parents sleep, with the morning star at its elbow.
“Just look at that,” the old man said. “Isn’t that beautiful.”