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Corner Boys
Pat Boran

The toughest man in town is now a granddad,
and every morning, his teenage daughter back
at secondary school, the local dogs
set free to chase each other through the park,

a vision in tattoos and knee-length shorts—
half pirate, half fairground muscleman—
he’s out to push a Dora the Explorer pram
the length of the terrace, stopping to complain

about his lot, the dogs, the litter everywhere,
to pick a broken bottle off the road
and chuck it in a bin, and, now and then,
to stand his ground and share a grim-faced joke

with another crew-cut granddad like himself,
thirty years ago his mortal foe,
the pair of them like boxers squaring up,
comparing snapshots on their mobile phones.
From The Next Life (Dedalus Press, 2012).
Used with the author’s permission.

Pat Boran is a poet, author of fiction and nonfiction, publisher, and radio broadcaster. Born in Portlaoise, Ireland in 1963, he currently lives in Dublin where he works as an editor and broadcaster. His most recent book is Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku. Learn more about him at



Post New Comment:
This one really got my attention. Love the many-layered wisdom that lurks in this poem. Sent me off to Pat's website where I found more such gems. Great start to the day!
Posted 06/14/2013 11:35 AM
Excellent. I sometimes wonder what my grandfather years will look like, what I will complain about, how "my times" were more innocent... I wonder who I'll share my pictures of my grandchildren with (aside from my then grandmother-wife).
Posted 06/14/2013 08:37 AM
Joe Sottile:
What tough man doesn't answer a toy phone when handed to him by his son or grandson? Bravo!
Posted 06/14/2013 07:53 AM
Larry Schug:
I like this poem a lot because it plants a picture in my mind and tells a great story in just a few words--what good poetry is supposed to do.
Posted 06/14/2013 07:44 AM
Wilda Morris:
Ah, yes. Nothing can impact a tough man like a grandchild, especially a granddaughter!
Posted 06/14/2013 07:44 AM

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