A Keane Eye

The pub was closed

His wife had gone to bed

He pulled a pint

And sat beside his fire

A play was in his head

He got hold of a copybook

Pencil in his hand

And through the night he sat and wrote

A play for Ireland


He’d heard a story of a man

A local man and old

Who got himself a girleen

Matchmaker had it sold

The poor girl lost her sanity

In hospital was found

John B shook his head in shame

Is this our holy ground!


And so he sat beside his fire

Through the quiet hours of night

And made his marks upon the page

To Ireland’s delight

They saw their cruel ways writ large

His play stirred up the fuss

John B became the common man

And represented us


Brian Fahy

11 February 2022


+ I am reading We Don’t Know Ourselves by Fintan O’Toole. He tells the story of John B Keane, the Listowel, County Kerry playwright, and of how he came to write his play, Sive.

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