‘On the Table’ by Randall Stephen Hall

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On the Table.

By Randall Stephen Hall. draft 5.4.11. Typed 21.7.11

Written just up above Breeze Mount/ Mallusk. Co.Antrim.

Standing by a gate.


Link for audio file from the “Hugh Midden Speaks” collection.



Some people miss out.

Miss out the starters

The main course

The meat and potatoes.

Turn up their nose

At the salad, the fibre

The greens, the carrots

The peas and all that gravey


. . . And go straight

For all the cake

And the traybakes.

All the sweet stuff.


Now, that’s easy to digest.

Focused on only one part of the table.


Now if you are able

And not too short sighted.

Reach for a different pair of glasses

Like a Greek god

Fresh down from Mount Parnasus.



Take a brief kernaptious fit

Like any auld git should.

Then seek out the wood

From all them trees.

You should, you really should.


It’s a modern disease

To be a cultural lazy bones

Or couch potato.

with only half baked ideas.


Go on, I dare you.


Free yerself

To reach out past all that Delft (that China)

For some of the good stuff.


Aye, and there’s beer too.

Tucked in behind the menu.


Seek out a bit of rough.

It’s not enough

To just take a wee sniff.

Or a nibble, (like some political hamster).

Sit yerself down and settle.

At yer very own table. To be yer own master.


Now, ye see thon cake?

And all that sugary stuff (that you love)?

That’s you. The Planter.

The climax, the crescendo, the recent past.

Almost the last part of the meal.


But The Main Course.

That’s them, over there. The Irish.

(And possibly some of you too.

The ones who “took the soup”)


But that’s another story . . .


Now, that main course.

That’s usually the biggest part of the meal.

The bit that fills you up.

Fit to burstin’.


And, wait a minute.

Look there, yes . . .

Turn the page, flick backwards.

Through the menu

To the starters, for that’s most of us.

All us Islanders.

All scooped out of the same bowl.

Berries of the one colour.


Now, see them buddies?

Them’s the cheese and biscuits.

The Hugenots, the Jewish, the Chinese

The Polish, the African

And all them other folk.


Exotic to the tongue

And spicey to the eye and ear.

Ain’t it a quere gag.

That we all rage and rag

About what everyone else

Is gettin’ off the table

When it’s just all there

To reach out and taste?


That seems such a waste to me, boy.


So if you have

Only one good eye.

Blinkin’ see

What’s in front of you.


For there’s joy to be had

From seeing all the menu.

Rather than fillin’ yerself with just the sweet stuff.

Do you catch my drift, hey?



For more music and poems, just go to . . .








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