The Bard of D'Olier Street strikes back


The Bowl of Bertymandias, or a Vision in a Dream by Bertie Shelley-Coleridge (with apologies to Tom Humphries)

Note: In the summer of 1999, gentle reader, the Author ill-advisedly inhaled the heady fumes of boom-induced euphoria, laced with a tincture of arrogance and spiced with a sprinkling of idiocy, from the effects of which he fell asleep in his chair while watching Sky Sports.

The Author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which he had the most vivid confidence that his reverie was palpable and actual.

On awakening, he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved.

At this moment he was unfortunately called out by a person from Porlock, who detained him above an hour with useless mumblings about mundane Events, to wit the banal affairs of the Infirm, the Illiterate and the Pauper.

On his return to his room, the Author found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, with the exception of some 10 or 20 scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away, like the images on the surface of stream into which a stone has been cast.

In Abbotstown did Bertie Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree

Where the M50 motorway ran

With commuters numberless to man

Stuck at Liffey Valley.

Five hundred acres of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girded round,

And where once stood the State


Now gleamed a shining velodrome.

And to serve the budding golfer as a

Home from home: a golden Golf Academy!

And in these groves with ceaseless turmoil seething

Sprang up, at the command of Paddy Teahon,

A sacred Pool so divinely blessed

It was built by a company that did

Not exist.

Lo! Mid this tumult Bertie heard from afar

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

For he would build a stadium

Where, to trumpet blasts and the beat of drums,

He himself, after a Bass in Fagan's pub,

Would lead to glory the almighty Dubs.

Though Kerry push it to the wire,

It's Bertie who raises the Sam Maguire.

A week later, in the European Cup,

Who but Bertie should pop up

In the dying moments to nod through

The goal that wins it for Man U?

Keano, Giggsy, Ruud and Becks,

Raise on their shoulders Bertie Rex.

And all who saw should rise and cheer.

And Bertie's pinko foes cry "Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!"

Ye women! Lie down and adore

His torso tanned at the Blue Door.

Wrap the flag around him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the keg of sacred Bass.

After the importunate interruption, the Author, gentle reader, inhaled again of the euphoric drug, in desperate hopes that the vision might return.

Alas, no dream but a nightmare most horrible haunted his uneasy reverie.

He can but set down this apparition in verse, hoping by this means to expunge it from memory.

I met a traveller from far away

Who said: A vast abandoned field stands

In west Dublin, beyond the concrete grey.

The ruins of an ancient lab yield to

Empty meadows where tall grasses sway.

Here in this place that time forgot,

Developers planning a shopping mall

Cleared a patch for a parking lot,

And found the remnants of a wall

On whose pedestal these words appear:

My name is Bertymandias, lord of Fianna

Fáil. Look on my works, ye suckers, and despair!

Nothing beside remains.

Round the decay of that colossal farce,

boundless and bare,

The wild and tangled weeds stretch far