A Ditty to Desmond

Below is a ditty for Desmond after driving into a river of water on a back Cavan road yesterday and being rescued by the Galligan boys.



Road flooded

My heart thudded

I drive real slow

Deeper and deeper

Into depths of darkness

I can’t return now

My lights go

The windows fog

In the black river of the road

My engine stops

There is silence

Except for wind and rain

A rippling of earth

Moving gently, water

Seeping, floating

Rising, trickling in the door

I raise my feet off the floor

Knees bent against the steering wheel

Search my pocket for my mobile

The backlight glows in the dark

Contacts, twitter, face book

I hit the green receiver

Tap frantically

Search for Peter Galligan

It rings. I wait. It rings

Please answer, I think

Water rises to my shins

A guttural hello in a Cavan accent

‘Peter, its Kate, I’m stuck in a river’

‘Good for you. I’m shopping with Tina.’

‘I’m serious, I think I might drown, the water’s rising’

I laugh

A note of fear in my voice

Desperation. He says

‘But I’m shopping in Cavan Town’

So, life is normal elsewhere

‘Peter, please help me

I don’t know what to do’

‘I’ll send my son, Killian.

Where are you?’


I’ve lived in the

Back arse of nowhere for fifteen years

I know all of its landmarks

None of which I am near

We go through Lossetts, the Bridge

Pump Gem, the new houses

The cross, the old bog

The slight rise in the hill

The old shop, McKiernans

The old post office too

‘Ah, the old turn off

Now I have you,’ he said

‘I know where that road floods’

‘Oh, Peter, thank you’

I gush with the rain

With relief

‘Hurry because water is rising’

I could drift away, I think

But I don’t say that

It sounds too stupid

‘He’ll be there’

And sure enough

Fifteen minutes later

Head lights appear at the edge of  the water

And don’t drive away

I stick my head out the  window

It is wet, dark, spooky,  mysterious

I give a feeble wave

Feeling useless

Two lads stand there

My knights so brave

Assessing the water

They reverse the jeep

With the trailer

But there’s still a distance of 30 metres

They stride out

Up to their thighs in water

Push the car with only a  finger

I sail

I steer

The car full of water

Along the Ballinagh  road

They are so gracious, kind  hearted

Literally, lights in my darkness

‘I’m so sorry’, I say

‘Don’t worry, its okay,

The car’s probably fucked

But we’ll take it back on the truck’


And now my heart floods too

Because it was dark and I was alone

On an isolated stretch of road

In a car full of water

In the middle of a flood


And I often feel like that

But not before

Have I ever been towed out!







One thought on “A Ditty to Desmond

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