Willie Dore

by Gabriel Fitzmaurice

Willie Dore was simple,
He smelled. The village fool,
He lived alone among the rats
In a shack below the school.

Two rats’ eyes in his leather face
Stabbed out beneath the layer
Of dirt that blackened him like soot.
He wasn’t born quare,

But some disease the doctor
Couldn’t cure (or name)
Trapped him in his childhood
Hobbling his brain.

Willie Dore was a happy man
Though peevish as a huff –
He fed, he drank, he slept, he rose,
He dreamed – that was enough …

Each sausage scrounged from a travelling van
Was a vital victory;
Each penny coaxed from a passing priest
Was a cunning comedy.

Willie never knew his age –
No matter how you’d pry,
“The one age to Mary Mack”
Was all he could reply.

He lived as he imagined,
Saw manna in the street,
Eighty years of scavenging,
Admitting no defeat.