The Azores High By Paul Durcan

The women who present the weather forecast on Irish TV-
Jean Byrne, Evelyn Cusack, Siobhan Ryan, Nuala Carey-
Are the modern-day successors
To the music-hall cabaret singers of the late nineteenth century,
Whom we see in the paintings of Manet, Sickert, Degas:
The top echelon in Paris and London.
The doyenne of them all is without question Jean Byrne,
Although Siobhan Ryan in short-sleeve scarlet frock
Gives Jean Byrne a close run for starry mystique-
Her deep-sea, coming-up-for-air disclosures-
Her swivelling-in-profile-to-camera closing-shot technique-
Her pigtail drooling down one bare left shoulder.
Men as well as women race home from work to catch
Jean Byrne’s weather forecast at the end of the Six One News.
What a luxury it is to lie back on your own sofa
After a long, mindless day’s work as Secretary General
Of the Department of Going Forward or Acting Head of Going
Kick off your slip-on, official black shoes
And watch Jean Byrne perform her latest forecast-
Revealing to you – and you alone – the state of the cosmos,
Its innermost secrets, its most intimate details:
‘There’s a cold front approaching from the east
Yet at the same time approaching from the west
There is an associated suggestion of an Azores High
North-west of Madeira and Porto Santo
Over Newfoundland and Labrador
That might -just might – be coming our way
Reading 10 to 15 hectopascals…
But – let’s look now at our rainfall predictive sequence…
A pretty even distribution of showers for this evening…
Last night in her body-hugging, all-black, belted silk dress
Slit with a sash of lavender-pink,
Her chunky silver necklace and bracelets,
Her block-glass earrings,
She turned her back on you to scan her chart.
Noel, one of our security men – a roly-poly little man
Staring out the porter’s office window – sighs:
‘They say she’s got a huge male following.’

This evening you gaze up at her on the thirty-two-inch plasma
Over the fireplace-
Black, sleeveless, zipper-pocketed, denim shirt-
Studded with pearl-white buttons-
Over bottle-green, skin-tight denim jeans-
A Waterford glass bracelet on her left wrist-
As, caressing her zapper – her remote-
She turns around or half-around,
Keeping one eye on her audience – you
And one eye on her weather chart behind her.
She turns around or half-around,
Keeping one eye on her audience – you-
And one eye on her weather chart behind her.
When she hits a high note with ‘cold front’
In her school-girl contralto
It’s like a pillow for your mind!
She bats her eyelashes and she splashes you
With mascara and eyeliner
And her scarlet lipstick smearing your white shirt collar,
Like your late mother’s homemade raspberry jam,
Until at the climax of her meteorological chanson
She looks you straight in the eye, daggers,
Four-square, and, pausing her pause, she whispers:
‘Tonight will be another damp and humid night
Tomorrow another hot day, but a little hazier in the north-west
With somewhat even hotter conditions during the weekend:
I’ll leave you with your summary chart, goodnight, take care.’




About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

Irish Writer Website: Twitter: @adunlea Facebook:
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