Cathleen of The Peat Bog

Cathleen of the Peat Bog gets up,

Heaving herself out of the muck and onto the shoulder of the highway.

300 years she has lain there--

300 years she has slept, not wanting to deal.

Now she's on the move.

Now she faces the SUVs and hybrids and sticks out her thumb,

Praying that it doesn't fall off.

A woman hitching a ride will always get one,

From some married guy named Rick,

Still listening to Boston

And knowing all the words.

Oh well,

It's all new to Cathleen of the Peat Bog.

She asks to be dropped at a chain pharmacy.

The woman at cosmetics recommends Aveeno,



And Colgate whitening.

Cathleen of the Peat Bog leaves with her purchases,

And goes down by the creek behind the strip mall

To clean herself up.

She feels better,

Then realizes she has been wearing the same dress for 300 years,

Not to mention the same panties and bra.


She pitches them into the chain pharmacy's dipsy dumpster

And crosses the highway boldly naked.

Into Lane Bryant she goes,

Pale skin glistening,

Red hair

Trailing lustrous down her back and shining unabashedly elsewhere,

Stunning the outclassed saleswomen into worshipful silence.

"I want this," says Cathleen of the Peat Bog,

Holding up a green dress with lace all along its plunging neckline.

"Take it," say the saleswomen,

As if speaking to the Queen of Killarney.

Down the street she goes,

Around a bend

And up some steps to a door.

She rings the bell.

She looks so good, so lushly curved and dangerously wise,

That doves land on her shoulders as she waits;


And a falcon on each arm.

A man answers the door and she fixes him with her fabulous green eyes.

He is the son of the son of the son of the--

Well, he is a direct descendant of the son of a gun who broke her heart and left her in the peat bog,

300 long years ago.

His name is Pat.

(isn't it always?)

He is married.

He still listens to Foghat,

And knows all the words to "Slow Ride."

She slaps him a good smart smack,

Though whether for his musical taste

Or for his lineage, is not clear.

Cathleen of the Peat Bog is not finished.

She goes past him,

Birds fluttering as she strides inside;

Half an hour later,

She has stolen his wife.

"May the wind forever be at your back," she says to him on the way out,

Then mutters something else,

And both women laugh.

This has been the story of the cruel and beautiful Cathleen of the Peat Bog,


300 years ago,

Told a man, "It's all right, honey. I understand",

And he believed her.


Caty said…
that makes for a wicked smile and a little hope...300 years that's no so long to wait for revenge, but then again I'm trying not to be bitter. lol :)
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Another fantabulous chronicle from Shay. How do you DO it? (I am so glad you do, I just dont know HOW!!!!!) I loved every word, loved the doves and falcons, the smart smack, the stealing the wife, the married guy named Rick, the gals cackling as they leave. Sigh. What a great story!
mac said…
I guess if one was to lose one's wife, Cathleen of the peat bog would be as good as any to do it ;-)
TALON said…
"Now she faces the SUVs and hybrids and sticks out her thumb,
Praying that it doesn't fall off." - you gotta warn a tea-drinking woman before writing lines like that!

And now I have Boston's "More Than A Feeling" playing on the soundtrack that is my mind. :)

What can I say? I loved it...
Shadow said…
damn you're good. love how you tie the honey with the vinegar together so beautifully.
hedgewitch said…
Why are they always named Pat? I tell ya...what a resurrection story--(maybe best not publish it around Easter though...)And I worry for Cathleen, running off with a woman who married a man who listens to Slowride in 2010...not even Johnny Winter or David Allen Coe or something for just plain redneckin; it's bound to end in more peat.
Sara said…

I loved this story and your ability to create great characters. While they aren't always nice-nice, they are ones I would definitely want to meet:~)

I liked Talon's comment about drinking tea. That was funny:~)

Now, I will have to look and listen all the musical references in this post. I don't remember Boston or Foghat.
Daryl said…
Sorry I got stuck at Lane Bryant ...
Jannie Funster said…
Shay, I love you! Oh, you made me laugh with this. Of course, I still love you when your poems are not so funny. But they're all magical.

Bubba said…
Quite a rousing tale, Shay... you certainly have a way with colorful female characters.

But I must express my dismay at the main character's apparent intolerance for classic rock and men (like me) who sing along with it.
Ileana said…
Oh, the foolish men who cross her path, Chica. They fall for it every time, don't they?

My favorite line, of course: "She slaps him a good smart smack, though whether for his musical taste or for his lineage, is not clear." (Foghat...ha!)
Kay said…
only you can tell a tale to hold my short attention span :)

absolutely LOVE the ending! haha...

men! :)
ellen abbott said…
Oh Shay, you make me want to be a lesbian.

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