Tom Mathews was born in Dublin in 1952. After working in advertising he studied Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. He has been a freelance cartoonist, writer and critic since 1975. His work appears regularly in The Irish Times and Sunday Independent newspapers. He has had thirty one-man shows and his paintings have been exhibited in Living Art, the National Portrait Show and at the RHA. He has illustrated a dozen books, written a novel and published three volumes of cartoons. His last prose book, The New Adventures of Keats and Chapman, was published in 2008 while his debut collection of poems, The Owl and the Pussycast and Other Poems, was published by Dedalus in 2009. The poet's hobbies, he says, are "drinking stout and talking too much about James Joyce and Groucho Marx".
One Night IOne night I ended up in a flat in Rathmines
With a girl who told me she used to go out
With Paul Hewson. I sat on the bed and read
Her Beckett’s verse:
It’s rather fun, though not such fun as sex,
Reciting Echo’s Bones to Bono’s ex.
News from the Old Country
When every line was a crossed line
Every piece was a show piece
Every cross was a Shawcross
And every McNiece was an Apple McNiece
Every edition was a first edition
Every age was a coming of age
Every act was an act of contrition
Every cage was a gilded cage.
Every cage was a gilded cage
Every Shaw was a kickshaw
Everyman was a Zimmerman
every Ricks his rickshaw
Every bear was a Pooh Bear
Every bah was a big poobah
Every frock was a Prufrock
And every pére was Ubu Pére.
When every pére was Ubu Pére
Lou and Andy sang Andalucia
Every Dylan was a Thomas Mann
And every Fonze a fons bandusiae
When every whore was a write hoor
Every Lane was a Dialstone
Every heure was a Flann heure
And every Myles was a milestone.
When every Myles was a milestone
Every hack drove the barman barmy
Every soldier was a dead soldier
Every army was a standing army.
Every cough was a coffin nail
Every drink was a deoch an doras
Every feed was a feed of ale
Every chorus was a croaking chorus.
Every chorus was a croaking chorus
Every bede had his bidet
Every see was a Sargasso Sea
And every deed had its D-day.
Every D-day was an LSD day
Every sou was an aperçu
Every dime was a paradigm
And every quid a ‘Quid Rides?’
When every quid is a ‘Quid Rides?
Every line is a line in the sand
Every but is a buttress
And every and is an ampersand.
Every rhyme is a half rhyme
Every verse is too clever by half
When fool’s gold maketh the golden calf
Every line is a crossed line.