The Web Poetry Corner - James Bredin - Captain Mack's Orchard
Captain Mack's Orchard
Captain Mack’s house was just outside the town of Ennis,
With a high-walled orchard and even a place to play tennis,
The captain was old and like the house, from another era,
Even long before the Taoiseach Mister Eamon De Valera.
The walls of the orchard were high for thieves to prevent,
With barred wire and broken bottles embedded in cement.
A thief would have to think twice about scaling those walls.
He could get cut by the wire or the glass or killed in the falls.
Gerry Turpin lived in the Turnpike with his old widowed mother,
Church mice were well fed compared with Gerry or his brother,
He always collected kindling wood from underneath the trees,
In the grounds of the college near the orchard if you please.
Gerry told me about his discovery one day after school,
Stories about the orchard, tales to make a schoolboy drool,
Gerry had climbed a certain tree when kindling wood was scant,
‘cause when you’re hungry and cold there’s no such thing as can’t.
We climbed that same tree where the branches crossed the wall,
Some high branches bend down and we were careful not to fall,
And then we could stand on the wall and hold the barbed wire,
And step lightly ‘round the sharp glass or stitches we’d require.
We still couldn’t see much because of the canopy of the tree,
Gerry showed me the secret footholds as he moved ahead of me,
And slowly we descended down inside the orchard,
If we got caught now we could go to jail or get tortured.
But everything was quiet except the buzzing of the bees,
Another world of apple and pear and even cherry trees,
"This way," Gerry said as he walked along the path,
If Captain Mack saw us now we sure would have his wrath.
He showed me the greenhouse, a place all made of glass,
Even the handle on the door made from highly polished brass,
Hanging from a ceiling vine was scene I had never seen,
Grapes in big bundles so nice and clean and green.
But then the question in my mind, as I tasted our haul,
How many can I carry up the wall if we can escape at’ all.
We climbed out quite quickly but could carry no grapes,
Not when climbing with two hands like Tarzan of the apes.
The house and the orchard have all disappeared,
To believe that it was there now seems kind of weird,
But the memory still haunts me to this very day,
Are the guards still looking or is everything okay?