O’Casey’s Wake

by Thomas Vaughan Jones
(Liverpool UK)

The people started shouting,
from Mayo down to Cork.
The message passed from Flaherty,
to Reilly and O'Rourke.

'Have you heard about O'Casey?
Bejays, he’s passed away.
He went and kicked the bucket
drinking Guinness yesterday.

Now isn't that the way to go?
All full of ale and cheer,
he died amongst his loved ones,
drowned in a vat of beer '.

The crowd all came a'calling
to see O'Casey dead.
He lay there proud and regal
in his king sized feather bed.

Each caller brought a bottle,
and some brought bread or cake,
as they settled down to celebrate
the late O'Casey's wake.

The widow Prosser, first in line,
had come to wash him down.
Her usual fee was one and nine
but they slipped her half a crown.

The priest took out his rosary beads
and gave the final rite,
Then cheerfully drank the corpse's health
from a case of Black and White.

The women raised their aprons
and covered weeping eyes,
Their keening and their wailing
was rendered to the skies.

The stout and whiskey flowed quite free,
the noise grew wild and loud.
The whole town danced an Irish jig
before O'Casey's shroud.

The widow of O'Casey,
demurely dressed in black,
drank from a jug of neat poteen
and fell upon her back.

O'Casey lay there smiling,
his heart was full of joy.
He could hear O'Mara's tenor
singing darlin' 'Danny Boy'.

Then drunken Ritchie Flanagan,
in a spurt of sodden wit
raised O'Casey's head and shoulders
and gave the crowd a fit.

There were screams of fright and horror
as he tumbled from his bed.
'We should bury him tomorrow
but the poor sod isn't dead '

The widow jumped up screaming
'We can't waste such a wake! '
Then the corpse began a'moaning
so she hit it with a rake.

Then they brought him to his coffin,
and they screwed O'Casey down,
sure it was the finest funeral
they'd ever had in town.

The Moral of this story?
If you're going to have a wake,
Is first be sure the corpse is dead,
for everybody's sake.

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