Help us! Ireland’s Eye is drowning!
Her trill echoed across all of Howth
The boy! The boy! Do something!
Sleeping dogs on a trawler stirred
People hurried to the harbour wall
Hands over mouths, eyes expanded
What was that? A boy’s in trouble?
One man already imagined a wake
But still no splashing could be seen
The waves rose in anger, thumping
No sirens yet in the town. The boy!
For the sake of heaven! Somebody!
The elderly woman fell to one knee
It’ll be too late! Just throw the boy!
A Dubliner pleaded. Where is he?
You need to show us exactly where!
Quiet attempts to console her failed
A young man came barging through
We’ll just have to try! I’m going in!
The crowd formed a line, searching
Ocean debris caused a girl to scream
Soggy chips discarded, plastic bags
The elderly woman grabbed at arms
I’m begging you! She is leaving us!
Martello Tower. Please rescue her!
Seabirds landed with petty squeals
Someone gently leaned into another
Her? I thought she said it was a boy
And throw the boy? Makes no sense
Heads came together, murmuring
A frail gentleman cleared his throat
Well, I heard something quite odd
She said the island was drowning
More sore eyes came in off the sea
Someone pointed to an orange ring
Life ring? Life buoy? Ah - the boy
A young woman in white appeared
What’s all this then? Another tale?
You’ll get all these folk in a panic
© Copyright, 2010. Seamus Kearney. Panic in Howth Harbour - a poem. Photograph of Howth Harbour by Seamus Kearney.