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The Giant of Lisbellaw

Stood I there, that last day,
On an iron bridge...
An aqueduct by design,
Where, looking dreamily out over
The Ernes Lower Lough,
My compressed shadow 
Momentarily paused -
To contently recline:
Amidst coy Junes radiant beams 
of sweet benign!
All was stilled, all was hushed,
Save vast reed beds sided by the
Shallow hills of Lisbellaw;
And I am lost to enchantment
Of such beguiling thoughts -
Then noon stumped up...
Squatting idly down on 
The far eastern shore.

Stirred bloods mixed and
Risen inside the linings 
Of warmed and prominent veins, 
Starkly contrasting against a 
Bleached and weathered rail of
Coarse and twisted grains; 
Whereon, my hands staid by 
I dissected my solitary years
Of three singular and two score 
When, suddenly, down the narrow
The loudening sounds of 
Motoring -
Progressing steadily along 
Emanating from a diesels engines 
High-torque drawl.

From this carriage alighted an
Elderly man -
But what a giant of a man who
Now stood before!
With shoulders like a Donegal 
Bull -
He must have still stood well 
Over Six foot- four.
And with a courteous nod of the
To an impassioned peroxide 
Whos ample Bosom could bring 
To any mans bed -
Would such that desire should 
Stepping assuredly away,
Gently closed the big cars door.

Here was a gentleman schooled 
In concision;
He a masterly exponent in the art 
Of communication
Made more effective by
Elimination of redundancy;
Economy of language, economy of
Deliberate, terse, and very much
In this, his brevity of 
Installed incumbency.

The thin lines of orange and 
Tracing like fizzing peat turf 
That squared within his pale 
Blue shirt,
Criss-crossing at right angles 
His torsos colossal frame;
Where one could plainly see, 
With merely just a single glance,
Demonstration of a mighty fulcrum
Centred by the heavy silvered
Buckle -
Whose leather belt drew in at the 
Neatly pressed pleats
Of the softly blackened corduroy 

Compromised somewhat,
And anticipating a reaction
That might be considered rather 
awkward and a little adverse...
Suggested by the immense manner 
Of ambling approach,
I stumbled over meaningless 
As I struggled for something,
However nonsensical, 
To almost apologetically broach:-
"There is rather few Bream",
Said I -
"But the river is brimming over
With plentiful good sized Roach"! 

A quizzical look flickered and then
Mapped itself 
Over that impassive face,
A look that younger or more 
Foolish folks 
Might have mistakenly 
Misinterpreted as an arrogant
Stared he down into the glare
Of the rippled depths...
As if examining the thinness of
My mortal soul;
Stared he distractedly across 
The bays great expanse
As if imploring unto mysterious 
Swimming with beguiling Nivian
In swirling dalliance,
That may offer up, like Excalibur -
Some fantastic vision to behold!
Intently pondering;
Perhaps, I reasoned, In search of
His forefathers soothing muses of 
Drawn from legend of folklore:
Doubtless could fortify depleted wit...
And thereby his heart console;
Wherefore, in slow response...
The worthiness of this bridge he
Didst prepare, 
Therefore - to so virtuously extol!

A dialect, commanded by 
Measured brogue,
That over me enveloped
Like fog upon Cuilcaghs mystical
Hills of continually eroding
Developed through ancestral 
Indelibly immersed in Fermanaghs 
Guttural and broad undertones;
Enriched by successive generations 
Rejoicing in their Heavenly bower:
Now just buried bones
Rehearsed and blessed in public 
Delivered under Alberts great 
Tower -
Upon whose mouldering caskets 
The bells striking chimes 
So forcefully atones;
And a voice brought hence to this 
A voice born to converse in 
Singularly articulated lines...
Fortified by propriety of grace...

Whence he spoke:-


Without more ado, and uncaring of
An answer,
He turned and strode away;
Leaving me feeling,
During that brief intrusion of
Heavenly interplay,
As if this had been one of Gods 
Emissaries descended,
During zenith of Prime Meridian,
Upon this devoid and hushed
Quickly re-ensconced,
As if demanded by higher 
To react swiftly through 
Necessity of immediate response,
Bridling horsepower once again 
Mighty pistons, growling to life,
Contained -
Within the exploding bore and all 
Its fiery strife!
Wherein the cast block:
Pivotal rods pushing down hard upon 
A ground cranks bolted constrains -
When powering my receding vision 
Away into the diminishing dusts of 
Hosannas racing refraines.

Left alone,
With head bowed in silent 
For the ruminations of an older
And wiser mans preference,
I knew that I would forever 
This revered and most hallowed
For now committed to mind -
Be that Bridges steadfast and 
Enduring designs...

And those eternal words...



Copyright © | Year Posted 2016

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Date: 9/14/2017 10:28:00 PM
John, I happened to be listening to Tchaikovsky while I read this and it worked in such a way as if I were watching a play unfold. I was engrossed. I've never had that experience before and it was magic. Thank you x
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john fleming
Date: 9/16/2017 2:50:00 PM
Wow, Thvia -- what a lovely idea! I never really thought of coupling poetry to music before; seems, somewhat, rather a contradiction in terms! I think you might have stumbled onto something here. Thanks for making the comment -- it is very much appreciated! All my very best, Thvia...and my warmest regards! :) john
Date: 12/29/2016 8:57:00 PM
I could picture Malvolio in Shakesphere, reciting. Imagine seein his hands gesturing as the words of this poem floats from off of his tongue. I capture a beautiful drama log. Best wishes as always, Raimbow.8BM
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john fleming
Date: 12/30/2016 9:53:00 AM
Thanks, Rainbow. Your comment certainly does gives pause for thought...Shakespeare reciting the " Giant of Lisbellaw" - Wow! Many thanks, and - All the very best! :) john
Date: 7/31/2016 12:59:00 AM
With head bowed in silent, I struggled to come up with a word to describe this story, but here we go.... amazing
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Pashang Salehi
Date: 8/1/2016 2:09:00 AM
You're very talented....
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john fleming
Date: 7/31/2016 2:11:00 PM
Thank you, Pashang! May I be permitted to say that it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance! Thank you so very much for the kind and gracious comments, Pashang. My best regards! :) john P.s I will pay you a return visit in the very near future.
Date: 6/13/2016 3:54:00 AM
An epic tale you've penned here... you're pretty amazing, John. Keep the ink flowing!
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john fleming
Date: 6/16/2016 1:55:00 AM
Hi, Becca. Firstly allow me to apologize for being rather slow in responding to your lovely comments...I have been rather preoccupied of late; Secondly...Thank you! Your kind words are, as ever, trully appreciated. I will be busy all this week but intend to pay you a return visit very soon. My very best in every way, Becca..And my warmest wishes as always. :) john
Date: 6/3/2016 3:05:00 PM
"Good work - done by good men - from olden times"... I think this line also applies to you and your poetry, John. You seem to be what they call an "old soul". I feel like I am one of those, too... A wonderful story you've penned here. I enjoyed it very much, my friend!
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john fleming
Date: 6/3/2016 5:24:00 PM
Hi, Kelly...Just wonderful to see you paying me a visit once again - You will always be most welcome here at anytime! I think you are right in saying I might well be an "old soul" ....The term is most suitable regarding my general outlook on life - Past or present. I also agree in your own assessment of your good self: I would say we broadly share the same philosophy concerning life and poetry...Which is rather nice :) Many thanks for the very kind remarks, Kelly! My very best regards...And warmest wishes. :) john
Date: 6/1/2016 7:13:00 AM
With your permission I would like to read this at the next Clark County poetry reading hosted by C.C. Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson. Also, If I had your email I could send you a poem that is not postable due to its usual shape.
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john fleming
Date: 6/1/2016 5:08:00 PM
Don, I would be proud and honoured if you was to give this poem of mine, or any of my other poems for that matter, a reading at this illustrious poetry gathering you mention. I have in fact googled the gentleman you mentioned, and in the very near future will acquaint myself with his work. My very best regards, Don...And my warmest wishes. :) john
Date: 6/1/2016 6:21:00 AM
This work reminds me of Tolkien with a half cup of Shakespeare added for sweetness.
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john fleming
Date: 6/1/2016 4:53:00 PM
I will accept your kind comments as generous praise indeed, Don. Many thanks!
Date: 5/8/2016 11:20:00 PM
Great compelling write... As a tale from the past... And to write it thus... Me think you must... Great piece of work.. TQ for sharing ..!
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john fleming
Date: 5/9/2016 4:37:00 AM
Thank you, most worthy friend! You do me much honour - Many thanks! My very best regards, Keng. :) john
Date: 3/29/2016 2:05:00 AM
Excellent story telling, John. Compelling. T.J
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john fleming
Date: 3/29/2016 11:04:00 AM
Hello, Teppo - So very nice to see you dropping in again! I hope your Easter was an enjoyable one and that I find you in extremely good health. Many thanks for the kind comments - Always appreciated! I will make sure I pay you a return visit very soon. My very best regards...And best wishes! :) john
Date: 3/27/2016 1:04:00 PM
My aunt and I got lost in that area and up above us on a hill stood a massive bull. He would have charged us except for the fence that stood between us and terror. I dearly loved this wonderful encounter that enchanted my senses. Have a beautiful Easter my friend. Blessings, Connie I must fave this gem! #7. ; )
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john fleming
Date: 3/27/2016 1:32:00 PM
Fermanagh truly is "Gods country" is it not, Connie. Still one of Europes most beautiful and unspoiled areas of rural beauty. Not quite as remote as it used to be with all the road and house building over the last twenty years...But still very verdant and lovely in every way; and such charming and hospitable people. All the very best, Connie...And enjoy your Easter. Your friend always! :) john P.s I am thankful that the bull was impeded in his intention by that goodly fence: GOOD WORK - DONE BY GOOD MEN - FROM OLDEN TIMES! Aloha!
Date: 3/27/2016 1:03:00 PM
Dear John, the detail you recall is astounding. I so enjoyed this little glimpse into your life. I smiled when reading your description of him with shoulders like a Donegal bull, because they are so impressive that once you have come into close proximity with one it is unforgettable. Contd.
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john fleming
Date: 3/27/2016 1:14:00 PM
Apologies for the mix-up below, Connie - Damn machine! I am pleased you enjoyed the poem, Connie...It has been a long time in the making. I tried many times to put the experience down on paper...but just could not find the start; sometimes certain things are just a long time in the making I guess...Lol!
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john fleming
Date: 3/27/2016 1:04:00 PM
Thank you, Richard...Your kind comment is valued - and very much appreciated! All the very best! :) john
Date: 3/27/2016 11:30:00 AM
Impressive story telling!!
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john fleming
Date: 3/27/2016 1:36:00 PM
Thanks for visiting, Richard. And thanks for the kind comment...Always much appreciated! Enjoy your Easter...And all the very best! :) john
Date: 3/26/2016 9:11:00 PM
You sure can tell a story , my friend. You should be writing an autobiography. I think you have had a most interesting life!
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john fleming
Date: 3/27/2016 3:17:00 AM
Thank you my honest and forthright friend. In truth I have led a wasted and self-centred life - Albeit a Spartan and frugal one! Wifeless and childless...But I have no regrets - it is just the way it is! Perhaps because of this I see things a little differently than most: I live under a different code, and march to the sounds of my own lonely drummer! All my most sincere respects and very best regards, Andrea Dietrich. :-) john
Date: 3/26/2016 5:58:00 PM
Yet sometime other times do dare to interface, with the svelte touch of angels,from another swarthy race:}
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john fleming
Date: 3/27/2016 3:23:00 AM
Indeed, Don. It is true to say that I have lived a "Fishermans" life...In every way. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my work - It is always so very much appreciated! My very best regards to you, Don...As always. :-) john
Date: 3/25/2016 6:16:00 PM
Ah, angling upon The Ernes Lower Lough, 'tis no better place to be! A splendid write indeed. J.
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john fleming
Date: 3/26/2016 8:53:00 AM
Thank you, J. Tudor. I can tell straight away by your comment that you are well acquainted with the incredible waterways of the River Erne system - Gods country indeed! I am in total concord with the sentiment displayed in your remarks..."Tis no better place to be"! Ahhh...Happy days! My best regards. :) john