Bill O’Donnell’s Hat
By J-Conn Roofing, Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day I thought I’d share another poem by a native of Ireland. This whimsical poem paints the wind to be playful goddess who kicks shingles from roofs while carrying away a man’s hat. I don’t know that many of us would think it too funny if the wind blew shingles off our roof!

Bill O’Donnell’s Hat by Michael McGovern

The goddess, Wind, her antics played

O’er streets and chimney tops

In spite of “law and order” and

The city’s force of “cops.”

She waltzed among the spires upon

Our churches as she went

And kicked the shingles from the roofs
As if on mischief bent.


Her whisking dress the sidewalks swept;

She stood aside for none;

She slapped the people on their cheeks

And made the signboards groan.


And while she whistled, pushed and smote

With rude, ungentle pat,

The flirting huzzy ran away

With Bill O’Donnell’s hat.


The barehead Bill made efforts to

Regain his flying tile,

With which she played a Rugby game

In good old-fashioned style.

Through leading streets and alley-ways

Of good and bad repute

She kicked the hat with nimble feet-

O’Donnell in pursuit.


Through narrow and suspicious lanes

He saw it bound and roll,

And then as if the goddess, Wind,

Would try to make a goal,

The hat would be effected by

Some unseen, sudden shock,

Which sent it soaring upward and

Across a street or block.


‘Twas Sunday, and the people thought-

(As people often think)

The barehead man were prowling ‘round

To get a private drink,

While Bill, with eyes upturned to

His hat that cleaved the air

Rushed on and muttered adjectives

The opposite of prayer.


The headdress went rebounding close

To churches and saloons,

Where Bill had often worshipped and

Imbibed on afternoons.

And running by the church ‘twas said,

“He’s come to make amends’

He’s on a barehead pilgrimage

To expiate his sins.

Bill’s threadbare nob, exposed unto

The racking zero breeze

Looked like a snowball peeping ‘bove

A fringe of forest trees

As up and down some hundred streets

He scampered, swearing that

Old Nick was playing football with

His brand new derby hat.


Some hundred boys and dogs rushed forth

And followed in the chase;

The “cops” went running after, too,

But found they had “no chase.”

And everyone who saw the hunt

To laughter was inclined,

Because the hat’s surprising jumps

Left Bill a mile behind.


Across the raging river went

The headgear at a bound,

And then was hurled back again

Across some mile of ground,

While hundreds stood and wondered at

The Wind-god’s giant play,

For furnace stacks and standpipes were

As molehills in its way.


The hat at length in battered shape,

As if exhausted, fell

The wind being weary of the fun,

So I’ve no more to tell.

And if my story is too long,

The reason why is that

The Wind had played such lengthy game

With Bill O’Donnell’s hat.